Why some countries call themselves “small”?

I have recently realized that Swiss people say “we are a very small country”. Which is obviously very funny to hear, when you come from Luxembourg.

The only other nation that I remember casually and convincingly using this expression is Israel. In case of Israel, I attributed these statements to not-so-friendly-all-against-common-enemy geo-location. But why on earth, Switzerland (of all countries) would ever feel overwhelmed or out-sized by anyone? If anyone knows the answer, please, do tell!!!!

To me, this is just the land of plenty. I thought it was impossible to be more international than Luxembourg, but Switzerland trumps it. A list of yesterday’s single day activities announced by the Zurich Food Festival was so impressive, we had a hard time to narrow it down to 4 (!!!) locations to visit. All of them offered food and drinks from all over the world, all people around spoke perfect English and (most importantly) it did not feel either crowded or squeezed, there was a perfect place for everyone and everything. When special events are happening in Luxembourg, it means the whole country is going at the same time and happily playing sardines in a can.

Being used to going abroad for everything (concerts, opera, seeing friends, doctor’s appointments, shopping, wine tasting…), I am still not sure how to embrace so many things happening right under my nose in the next weeks (especially given the fact that I will be travelling for work all the time): David Guetta, Katie Melua, Anna Karenina and Petrushka at Zurich Opera House, Zurich Film Festival (I already know, Die Schweizermacher  is the must) and Zurich Art Fair, original Chicago Musical, Glenn Miller Orchestra…

If you are  an aspiring foodie around Zurich  (meaning you need a place where you can go with kids of all ages and upbringings, it shouldn’t feel  as pathetic/ trivial/mediocre/safe choice as Pizza Hut, you can try something new from the latest  and hottest trend in town aka fish-from-the-local-lake/only-goat-milk-allowed/soya-is-the-new-enemy) …  you just want to feel a bit special, here are the things you can do these days (nothing wrong with Pizza Hut, by the way) :

Street food festival – plenty of stands from all over the world, our favorite  was from Yemen with their stuffed pancakes!

Markhalle im Viaduk – sophisticated place with stylish  outlets offering wine, cheese, pastries, fresh juices and more

Pumkin Exhibition at Jucker Farm – amazing farm  and spectacular views. They organize various events and exhibitions, nice place for family  lunch or dinner.

Wine Tasting at Zweifel Vinarium –  huge selection (well, not as huge as in Luxembourg, but still impressive), excellent explanations, you can try almost everything and they offer great discounts (when we visited, everything was 25% off).

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4 Responses to Why some countries call themselves “small”?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I lived in Israel over 10 years and I’d say that surrounding “geo politics” contributes only 20% to a notion of “we are a small country”. Small does not mean lack of activities and things to do. And it can be easy to hop on a train / bus / plane to go anywhere nearby. Yet – you feel it. It is something about the unity of the national character that has only that size sample of its species. I definitety feel the difference as I live now in exact opposite – the-country-that-is-too-big.

    • Yana says:

      So, it’s like when things around are too similar and opinions / reactions resemble each other, this effect of social cohesion creates this feeling of a small country?

  2. Anonymous says:

    ps this is girit from lj, for some reason the blog just does not log me in.

  3. Anonymous says:

    People say “we are a small country” when they perceive the whole contry as a kind of their personal community and/or have a strong identification with their country.

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