Life in Switzerland is just fine(s)


Switzerland has a reputation for orderliness, for cleanliness, for punctuality and for its picturesque scenes—but it seems to also deserve a reputation as the capital of fines, considering a rash of recent stories reported in

In Geneva, a policeman chasing an escaping ATM thief was fined for exceeding the speed limit in a high-speed chase. A judge ruled that 30 km/h over the 50 km/h was reasonable, but since there was no showing that the thief would harm someone else, 42 km/h over the limit deserved punishment

Also in Geneva, police have been ticketing drivers who fail to start when the light turns green. In one recent case, a French citizen was fined 250 Swiss francs for starting too slowly on his way home from an event at the French Consulate.

Drivers who don't clear the snow off their cars before driving—called 'igloo drivers—are drawing fines in Zug, where police say they have found drivers who have cleared no more than a peephole in the front window. Not only are fines for this steep, they can lead to loss of license.

And...the envelope, please...the crown for Queen of Fines goes to Zurich, which has built its budget for the coming year on the expectation of collecting about 152 Swiss francs per year per resident, about €135. The national average is about 45 francs (€40).

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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