Nash Montana takes a break from translating German to describe the transformation of her Alpine home into Modern Multicultural Winterthur.
The Long Winter Comes to Winterthur
by Nash Montana
I grew up a mere twenty minutes’ driving distance from Winterthur. On the “other side” of the hill, so to speak. The Kyburg, one of the most beautifully preserved castles of Switzerland, lies halfway in between.
As teenagers we’d get on our two stroke motorcycles — top speed 40kmh — and ride to Winterthur. It was closer and not as big and scary as Zurich. Winterthur in the ’80s was one of THE in cities: it had everything we needed. It had a growing theater and concert culture and brought in many big names like Springsteen, Cash, Led Zeppelin, etc.
But then something changed. I have no clue if it was due to a change in the city council, the proverbial old guard giving the scepter to the new guard. I don’t know, but something happened. Suddenly the city became overrun with people from Kosovo, Albania, Pakistan and Turkey.
The city lies naturally in a geographical area that doesn’t get much sun. The suicide rate just southeast of Winterthur is the highest in all of Switzerland. It’s called the suicide corridor, highway 15 from Bauma all the way to Winterthur. The corridor along highway 15 has incredible beauty that is hard to describe, from mystical forests and hills to the only Buddhist temple in Europe that was visited regularly by the Dalai Lama, to the already-mentioned Kyburg and other medieval structures and castles and houses, to extremely traditional Swiss manufacturing companies such as “Kuhn-Rikon” for anything kitchen-related, Maggi products, textiles and weaving, and 35 different kinds of incredible-tasting cheeses.
I assume that the main reason so many “refugees” and asylum seekers and migrants settled in the area around highway 15 and Winterthur is that Swiss people were simply seeking to get into areas that were sunnier and less gloomy and depressing. The entire highway is mostly overshadowed by hills and small mountains on both sides. Most towns get no sun or barely any sun during the day. Hence the high suicide rate, I believe.
So, along the way, Winterthur turned into the asylum seekers’ s***hole we see today. No one wants to go there anymore except for liberal do-gooders. The problem is, when you live in the area I’m from, you HAVE to go to Winterthur for any official government purpose. All major administrative bureaus are there for the Zurich Upper-land area. From the DMV to passport issues to any kinds of permits etc., and Winterthur has the largest police station in the Canton of Zurich besides the city of Zurich.
Thanks to all the cultural enrichment, for the past 20-25 years women and children can’t ride trains and buses alone anymore, kids can’t walk to school unaccompanied anymore, and asylum seekers take dumps in alleys and ruin every single festival, concert, and shopping experience in Winterthur.