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  #21  
Old 21.07.2012, 22:58
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

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Biel-Bienne is greater and nicer than its reputation, the Seeland region is beautiful and it's the place with the best money/flat ratio in the country. Just don't underestimate the fog. Winter is foggy big time. I also see the bilingualism as a huge advantage for education. On job market though, it's still very German dominated.
Biel has and had a clear German majority. But only could play its role as regional marketplace by playing the bilingual card
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Old 21.07.2012, 23:22
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

Oh ja, but I heard more French than I expected in Biel-Bienne. The city is also doing great efforts to strengthen its bilingual identity. The French speaking Gymnasium Bienne is excellent.
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Old 22.07.2012, 10:58
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

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Oh ja, but I heard more French than I expected in Biel-Bienne. The city is also doing great efforts to strengthen its bilingual identity. The French speaking Gymnasium Bienne is excellent.
I was there with French speaking people from Geneva, they were happy that it was more French / English speaking then German speaking.
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Old 22.07.2012, 16:39
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

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Oh ja, but I heard more French than I expected in Biel-Bienne. The city is also doing great efforts to strengthen its bilingual identity. The French speaking Gymnasium Bienne is excellent.
-
I don't know what you expected. Fact is that while it on the roads in the 1970ies was about 60:40 it gradually became 70:30

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I was there with French speaking people from Geneva, they were happy that it was more French / English speaking then German speaking.
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You and they simply did not realize that the German speakers in Biel when hearing somebody speaking French or English automatically continue in French or English.
.
The French speakers in Switzerland profited from the times of the Third German Empire and WWII well into the 70ies, when the "war generation" was willing to switch into French always. The change came when the Post-War generation in German speaking Switzerland was no longer willing to accept the domineering attitude of a national minority
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Old 22.07.2012, 16:59
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

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no longer willing to accept the domineering attitude of a national minority
Perception, just perception. Being a minority means that you have to fight for keeping what you have. The majority has no idea, they don't have to do anything to keep and even expend. Ask Québecois for successful survival, ask Romansh for surrendering and dying out.
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Old 22.07.2012, 22:32
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

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Perception, just perception. Being a minority means that you have to fight for keeping what you have. The majority has no idea, they don't have to do anything to keep and even expend. Ask Québecois for successful survival, ask Romansh for surrendering and dying out.
In the 50ies, young people in CH were taught to, when being abroad, always make it clear NOT to be Germans. To be able to speak French in the times of the Third German Empire in Switzerland was a basic demand. This is why the French minority in the 1940ies and 50ies enjoyed the status of a 50% part of the country. People of the postwar generation however grew up with the Federal Republic of Germany under Konrad Adenauer as the northern neighbour, and Konrad Adenauer was far more democratic than the French counterpart, General Charles de Gaulle and the postwar generation, while being ready to speak French when being West of the Röschtigraben, demanded of the Frenchspeakers to speak German when being east of the line.

Yes, I know the Romansh minority. My skiing teachers in the Flims of the 1960ies were Romansh speakers, but Romansh now, as far as I heard from Bündner-colleagues is extinct in that region. When I was in military service several times in the Engiadina valley and in Davos, I in Schlarigna/Celerina each morning had to get some stuff at the rail-station, and the way back lead me through the Romansh quarter of the village, and via a heavily "secessionist" cafe/Restaurant. I when entering the first time felt the thing by stomach and instinct, and addressed them in Italian and the replied in Romansh. We continued this for almost 3 weeks . Much later, again in military service, in Bière, I preferred a strictly French speaking small bistro accross the rail-station. The local gastronome there, regarding me as a Ticinese, remarked "we Romanish- folks have to ally and keep together !"
YES, Romansh except in the Val Müstaïr, will be extinct within a decade or two from now. A pity, but alas, what can we do
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  #27  
Old 22.07.2012, 22:36
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

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You and they simply did not realize that the German speakers in Biel when hearing somebody speaking French or English automatically continue in French or English.
Not correct, the barman did not even speak German, same as a waitress in a resturant.
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  #28  
Old 02.08.2012, 16:46
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

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Biel-Bienne is greater and nicer than its reputation, the Seeland region is beautiful and it's the place with the best money/flat ratio in the country. Just don't underestimate the fog. Winter is foggy big time. I also see the bilingualism as a huge advantage for education. On job market though, it's still very German dominated.
The surroundings of Biel are very nice. There are some very pretty and authentic villages along the lakes (with some fine eating opportunities) and of course the Berner Seeland is extremely understimated in terms of good hiking opportunities and days out.

But the city of Biel itself seems very much an acquired taste to me. I'm willing to change my mind though if anybody can point out the finer aspects. The only good thing that this thread came up with so far was a Sushi restaurant. Am I the only one to see the irony of that?
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  #29  
Old 02.08.2012, 16:55
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

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Perception, just perception. Being a minority means that you have to fight for keeping what you have. The majority has no idea, they don't have to do anything to keep and even expend. Ask Québecois for successful survival, ask Romansh for surrendering and dying out.
Well, I guess Switzerland as a whole is very much a country of minorities, with even the four language regions being further sub-divided into dialects or along religious/historical lines. Virtually everybody is part of a minority (or feels that way), and that defensiveness translates into a distrust of other minorities. A lot of the seemingly strange things you see in Switzerland become much more logical when you bear this in mind.

There is a famous sketch with Lappli where he passes through customs. He of course speaks only German and the customs officials speak mainly French and some bad German. In any other language/country that wouldn't work. You would expect a French-speaker to be shouted at by inflexible uniformed bullies in German, not vice-versa. It just wouldn't be right. But being Swiss, this is one of the aspects that makes that sketch extra funny.
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  #30  
Old 12.12.2012, 17:39
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

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Hey man biel is cool, my wife and i just moved to ligerz and its beautiful two mins from my house is the lake and on a clear day a great view of the mountains, i can't speak a word of swiss german but i'm trying and the people in this little town are cool, they try to help me and some speak english. I had the best steak the other night in the hotel restaurant at Hotel kreuz and the staff are really helpful, i rode into biel which took 35 mins or drive there in 10, i like the city seems pretty cool so far, nice food nice people lots of cinemas everything you should want really and the lake and views are amazing from the town! you should vist Biel i don't think your be disappointed, also apparently the winter is good hear the slopes open till 10 at night with the flood lights on!
Funny. I also live in the little village of Ligerz. What a small world. Maybe we can hook up.

We lived for 5 years near the city of Zug. Zug is a nice city on a lake, but I much prefer walking and shopping in either Biel or Neuchatel. Both cities have a 'real people live here' feeling to them. I find the people friendly too.
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Old 12.12.2012, 17:53
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

There is also fantastic local brewery (next to the lake) with unique arts of beer: http://www.lagolodge.ch/seiten/einstieg.e.html

And of course, very important this time of the year, ski slope which is just 15 minutes away: http://www.presdorvin-ski.ch/webcam.php
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  #32  
Old 12.12.2012, 17:58
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

I travel to Biel a few times each year and have friends there. I find the city to be rather dismal and lacking any charm or activity, despite it's superb location on the lake. The Jura forest area towards Magglingen is better, but nothing that Solothurn doesn't have either.

If you still have a choice, avoid. There are better towns in the area.
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Old 12.12.2012, 20:45
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

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Perception, just perception. Being a minority means that you have to fight for keeping what you have. The majority has no idea, they don't have to do anything to keep and even expend. Ask Québecois for successful survival, ask Romansh for surrendering and dying out.
majority<>minority ? French is THE sole language in the Cantons of Geneva, Vaud, Neuchâtel and Jura, and is MAJORITY-language in Fribourg/Freiburg and Valais/Wallis, and only minority-language in Bern/Berne. They do not have to fight for survival, but as a consequence of Nazi-rule in Germany for a while even were dominant union-wide in many ways. A very special case is the Canton of Graubünden where the official languages are German, Italian (Poschiavo, Mesolcina, Bregaglia) and Romansh. Italian in that Canton is NOT under threat, while Romansh indeed is.
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Old 12.12.2012, 20:59
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

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Not correct, the barman did not even speak German, same as a waitress in a resturant.

This is not new. "Immigrants" from French speaking areas often do not speak German, while most "immigrants" from German speaking areas DO speak at least somewhat French. My personal experience in Biel always was that German speakers (heard them a moment before) addressed me usually in French ..... and only switched back when I told them "mä chönd au uf tüütsch rede"
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Old 12.12.2012, 21:14
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

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I travel to Biel a few times each year and have friends there. I find the city to be rather dismal and lacking any charm or activity, despite it's superb location on the lake. The Jura forest area towards Magglingen is better, but nothing that Solothurn doesn't have either.

If you still have a choice, avoid. There are better towns in the area.
Solothurn is very beautiful, charming and romantic, but a bit sleepy. Olten is äääähm ... Olten No, the nearest city/place around that area which is more or less convincing is Bern, our superb "Federal Village" (Bundes-Dorf) and almost as beautiful as Solothurn is Fribourg/Freiburg-im-Uechtland.

And as you say, its position on the lake and the vinery-villages around that lake are positive factor.

Neuchâtel/Neuenburg still is fairly nice, but, while still being acceptably lively (even if already on the decline) in the 1960ies/70ies, has become more and more sleepy.

Estavayer-le-Lac is very beautiful but a bit of a living museum, while Yverdon is nice but not overwhelmingly beautiful.

Well, Biel is a bit of "Olten-au-Lac" or "Marina di Olten"
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Old 15.12.2012, 13:34
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

I think it's a good location, because it's not too far from most of the main cities (Basel, Zurich, Bern... even Geneva isn't too far).

Like people already mentioned, it's just next to Neuchatel which is a great city so you can always go out there if you don't like Bienne much.

I guess you can also pretty much pick your language in terms of French or German.
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Old 15.12.2012, 15:43
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

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Solothurn is very beautiful, charming and romantic, but a bit sleepy. Olten is äääähm ... Olten
I don't hear much about Kt. Solothurn on this forum, what kind of reputation does it have ? Is it a bit folksy?
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Old 16.12.2012, 01:28
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

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I don't hear much about Kt. Solothurn on this forum, what kind of reputation does it have ? Is it a bit folksy?
Solothurn-Canton is "Catholic Bern" . Solothurn City is a jewel, and most beautiful, but not dynamic.

You are looking for a German speaking city with the old fortifications still intact ? Go to Solothurn

You are looking for a city with lots of Baroque structures ? Go to Solothurn



BUT how can a Canton of such a size develop a reputation ??
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Old 16.12.2012, 01:35
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

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BUT how can a Canton of such a size develop a reputation ??
Ya, it's an oddly-shapped Canton, isn't it ?
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Old 16.12.2012, 02:38
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Re: How is Biel/Bienne?

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Ya, it's an oddly-shapped Canton, isn't it ?
If the Ober-Aargau and the Bielersee-Region would merge into Solothurn, it would be a difference ! the other way round, Canton Solothurn could merge into the post Jura-II-aera Canton Bern. By "post Jura-II" I do not mean "Jurassic Park" but the procedure by which the protestant non-Bielersee part of the Bernese Jura will join the Canton of Jura.
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