By Beyza Binnur Donmez
ISTANBUL (AA) - Christmas will not be as glittering as before in Switzerland under the shadow of compulsory energy-saving policies that could dim the holiday spirit.
Like all European countries, Switzerland is tightening its belt to deal with a Russia-induced energy crunch during the winter, which includes a series of measures that would affect Christmas decorations, lighting, and stores and holiday markets.
In most cities, measures such as energy-saving LED lights, candles, using biogas for heat, and restricting lighting hours are being used to conserve energy while still encouraging a festive atmosphere.
Electric heaters are not allowed at the English Garden in the harbor, which this time of year is transformed into a Christmas Garden. The garden is covered with biogas-heated chalets.
Illumination at the Christmas markets will be provided with LEDs, while illuminated signs will be turned off at night.
The iconic water fountain in the French-speaking city will also be adjusted for energy savings. Normally, the tourist attraction constantly sprays water to a 140-meter (459-foot) height, but now the city is set to scale it back.
Operating times for Christmas lights have been shortened. The Lucy Christmas Lights on Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse, which herald the Advent season, will run three-and-a-half fewer hours a day.
Christmas lighting in the city center and Christmas markets will operate only in the afternoon hours. Markets are being asked to not use additional equipment.
Foregoing its usual Christmas lights, the city will try to create holiday magic with 500 candle lanterns. It will also light up Christmas tree using muscle energy, where people can generate the needed energy for lighting by pedaling.
- St. Gallen
Refusing to let go of the Christmas spirit, St. Gallen will hang up its well-known All Stars, 700 star-shaped lights. The city council is urging private households to not put up holiday lighting, while shop lighting will be turned off at night.
Though the city center's lights are shining as usual, the rest of the city will celebrate without additional lighting. This is reportedly set to cut energy consumption in half.
The organizers of Bo Noel, Christmas markets that welcome visitors from Nov. 18 to Dec. 31, are working to reduce energy consumption by 20%. They are turning off the lighting between 11.30 p.m. and 11.30 a.m. Beverage fridges are also turned off at night.
The Lausanne Lumieres Festival also changed its format to curb energy consumption by 60% by installing four projections instead of eight. The show is also scheduled to run three weeks instead of four.
In the old town of Winterthur, the operating time of the festive lighting has been cut in half.
Uster, one of the largest cities in the Zurich canton, this year decided to do without Christmas lights.
Christmas lights are planned to serve as a substitute for public lighting, while shops and residents are being asked to not use electrical Christmas decorations.
Baden is one of the cities that will try to catch the usual Christmas spirit by hanging up over 10,000 LED lights across streets and alleys.
Christmas lights will only be switched on for a couple of hours in the evening, while some communities and event organizers are cutting back on lighting. The municipality will switch off the lighting at 10 p.m.
The ice skating rink in the Bundesplatz will also be replaced by suitable hard plastic.
The government council has recommended that cities and municipalities only switch on Christmas lights between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. for minimum energy consumption.
Although the amount of lighting will be reduced, people will still be able to walk under festive lights at the lakeside.
The capital of the Valais canton has scaled back the lighting in the city center. The lights will be turned off an hour earlier than last year, at 9 p.m. The lighting period will also run a week less than usual, from Dec. 8 to Jan. 3.