Samichlaus Schwimmen

Ah, those crazy Swiss. Usually not so crazy in everyday life, Sunday gave the inner daredevils a chance to expose themselves for who they really are.

Knowing that some people were going to swim (swim!) in the Limmat River, we headed down in the 36 F weather in the slight drizzle to see who might be up for the challenge. We saw a line of people we thought were waiting to get a prime viewing spot and queued up.


After noticing some athletic bags and backpacks, I wondered if these people might be the swimmers. The river bank was crowded, so we looked across the way and saw more open viewing spots there, so we headed across the bridge.

First we saw boats trolling around and scuba divers get into the water. Safety first. Well, maybe craziness first, safety second. The water temperature was about 48 F.


Knorr sponsored the event (I suppose) and the mascot, the Knorrli did his best waving to the crowds from his boat.


Soon we saw a group of people, in their swimsuits, some in Samichlaus hats, walk to the end of the pier. Some took buckets of water from the river and doused themselves first. At the appointed sound, they jumped, slid, or dove into the water.


Two-three minutes later, the swimmers reached the other side.


“That was fun, and crazy,” I thought. Then the next group of people walked to the end of the pier. “Oh, more people,” I realized. Pretty soon it became clear that the long line of people that we did not join were ALL going to jump into the drink. We started looking at all the ways that this event was going so smoothly.

Each swimmer would give a bag of their clothes to the people in the boat who would quickly race across the lake before the swimmers started so that their dry things would be ready for them immediately upon exiting the river. There is Swiss efficiency for you.

After watching three-four groups, we left for a little while, and upon returning, to the starting side of the river, I was able to get a few closer shots.

IMG_6741 IMG_6742

There are much better pictures at this page. There is a Facebook page for this event (in German). This page (also in German) gives a little more information about the event, including the fact that the swimmers’ registration fee goes to support a charity – a club for Stutterers and their Families. Make of that what you will…


2 thoughts on “Samichlaus Schwimmen

  1. So jealous! Maybe if we are close by on our next sabbatical I’ll make the trip to Zurich for the event!

  2. Pingback: Limmat Swim | Glamping in Switzerland

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