On June 1, 2016, the longest railway tunnel in the world will be officially opened – 17 years after blasting was started for the main tunnel. Switzerland has a very good reason to celebrate and is inviting Swiss and foreign guests of honor to a grand opening event, and the entire Swiss population to an unforgettable public celebration.
The official opening ceremony for invited guests will be held on June 1, 2016, with a state occasion that is worthy of this construction project of the century and which will convey Swiss values such as innovation, precision and reliability to the rest of the world. The Swiss population will be thanked with a grand public celebration during the weekend of June 4 and 5, 2016. The 50,000 to 100,000 visitors expected will be offered a unique program of events on the festival grounds set up at both ends of the 35-mile-long tunnel. The varied show and musical performances will also create a festive mood. The main attractions of this public celebration being held at the two tunnel portals in the cantons of Uri and Ticino include the opportunity to ride through the Gotthard Base Tunnel, cultural performances, exhibits, sales booths and a rolling stock exhibition.
The Head of the Department of Economic Affairs, Urban Camenzind, described the key elements of the Uri celebration, which will be held on the Urner fairgrounds as part of the public celebration. A replica of the Teufelsstein (Devil’s Stone) will be on display in an igloo-shaped dome tent. Highlights from the canton of Uri will be projected on it using cutting-edge multimedia technology. Uri Tourism will also be given the chance to introduce itself to a broad national and international audience. A row of market-style booths will offer products from the canton of Uri, with a focus on food and handicrafts. Various creative artists will present a captivating program on the outdoor stage at the Rynächt festival grounds and at the second event location in Erstfeld’s village center.
The Head of the Department of Education and Culture, Beat Jörg, declared that 2016 would also be a “NEAT year” in the cultural sector with many attractive events being held in central Switzerland. Erstfeld’s mayor provided more information about the activities planned by the municipality of Erstfeld on June 4 and 5, 2016. In addition to a village festival with many attractions, the municipality of Erstfeld will be presenting fascinating aspects of the village’s history and its inhabitants at a public event.
The first 1000 people to travel through the tunnel will be chosen at random in a contest to represent the Swiss population at home and abroad. An impressive amount of over 140,000 entries has been received. More information about the festivities and the entire NEAT project can be found at: www.gottardo2016.ch
About the author
Anita Canonica is the key contact partner for companies interested in setting up business in the Canton of Uri. She makes every effort to help companies and their staff feel at home in Uri in the shortest possible time. She facilitates introductions to important contact persons in both the private and public sectors, and cultivates close ties with the local economy of Uri. Anita Canonica holds a Master of Science in Corporate Communications from Lugano University. Before being active for Uri’s Economic Promotion office, she worked in management positions in national and international companies and markets for over 30 years. First hand experience as an entrepreneur for many years in the international electrotechnical wholesale business enables her to provide advice in business development, key account management and project management in various industries.