The Swiss in Wales

a bit of history

There are between 850- 950 Swiss in Wales, maybe more. The majority of them live in South Wales, mainly in South & West Glamorgan. Many Swiss have also settled in Monmouthshire, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. Quite a number are in North Wales and along the Welsh border.

A few Swiss in Wales first started to meet informally in Swansea in 1997. As a result, the first Swiss Club in Wales, the Swansea Swiss Club was founded. The Swansea group applied for a Millennium grant which provided some funds to get the Club off the ground. It was then possible to hold an annual Santa Claus & Raclette/Fondue events at Ty Tawe, Welsh Centre in Swansea. Ten years later, in 2007, some Swiss people started to met in Cardiff, and in Pembrokeshire and in 2008 also in Caernarfon, North Wales. The South Wales Swiss Society and the North Wales Swiss Club was created. A Facebook group ‘Swiss in Wales’ , as well as a website helped to connect with each other and to advertise their events.

Further developments

In 2006, the Swiss government decided to create an Honorary Consulate in Cardiff in recognition of Wales’ devolved government and due to the growing number of Swiss in Wales. Ruth Thomas-Lehmann, a founder member of the Swansea Swiss Club, became the first Honorary Consul of Switzerland for Wales, tasked with promoting Switzerland in Wales, assisting the Swiss Embassy in London in building bilateral relations, assisting Swiss citiziens and catering to the Swiss community. Regular Swiss events by the Embassy of Switzerland in London, and the Honorary Consul, were now taking place in Cardiff and provided good opportunities for the Swiss in Cardiff to get to know each other and meet up. After the creation of the Consulate of Switzerland in Cardiff, the Swiss community in South Wales began to connect and meet occasionally across the whole of South Wales, as well as in North Wales.

The North Wales Swiss

In 2008, a Swiss in North Wales came across the newly created ‘Swiss in Wales’ website. She contacted the Swiss in South Wales. and soon after the Swiss in North Wales formed a group. The North Wales Swiss now holds regular annual Swiss events in North Wales.