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  • Notes from the Federal Palace

The official Federal Council photo symbolises unity

04.02.2022 – MARC LETTAU

No year in Switzerland is officially over until the unveiling of the annual Federal Council photo – a cultural curiosity commissioned by every new president of the Swiss Confederation. Hence this time it was Ignazio Cassis who asked Ticinese photographer Stefano Spinelli to produce the snap. Essentially, the president-elect wanted this year’s picture to include a map of the country’s rail network – to symbolise Swiss unity. If there was ever a more important time to show what unites the nation as opposed to what divides it, it is now during the pandemic, said Cassis. The more attentive among you will have noticed that the time on the railway station clock is 18:48 – a subtle nod to 1848, the year in which the modern Swiss federal state was born. And intentional or not: the territories of the surrounding EU have been coloured in calming pink.

The latest Federal Council photo has again been produced in a sizable print run of 50,000. This peculiarly Swiss tradition owes its repeated success not least to the lively and amusing satirical reaction that greets every new rendering. The official 2022 portrait has already spawned a slew of humorous parodies on the internet.

The 2022 Federal Council photo making-of video

Some of the parodies (in German)