The Swiss are with us.
Light artist Gerry Hoffstetter on Thursday projected the American flag onto the 14,692-foot peak of the famous Matterhorn mountain in the Alps in a show of solidarity with the U.S. during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Our thoughts are with all American people at this unprecedented time. We look forward to meeting again at the foot of the Matterhorn, we are all in this together,” the tourism organization Zermatt Matterhorn wrote on its Facebook page. “May our message convey solidarity and give you hope and strength. We look forward to meeting again at the foot of the Matterhorn, we are all in this together.”
Why the Matterhorn, you ask? “The Matterhorn has always been a symbol of Switzerland and a place of strength and stability. Zermatt is convinced: as strong as the Matterhorn, so strong must the society stand together, be anchored and let the storm pass,” Zermatt wrote online.
Jacque Pitteloud, the Swiss ambassador to the U.S., posted a picture of the projection on Twitter and wrote: “Magnificent! Last night, #Switzerland sent a message of #hope and solidarity to the US by projecting the American flag onto the peak of the iconic #Swiss mountain, the Matterhorn.”
Magnificent! Last night, #Switzerland sent a message of #hope and solidarity to the US by projecting the American flag onto the peak of the iconic #Swiss mountain, the Matterhorn. @zermatt_tourism 🇨🇭🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/YntCsEJG1A
— Jacques Pitteloud (@SwissAmbUSA) April 16, 2020
The U.S. has the highest number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus at 706,830, according to Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering. Switzerland is 15th on the list, with 27,404 cases.
Hofstetter, known for transforming buildings and landscapes all over the world into temporary art projects, was enlisted to illuminate the mountain daily starting March 24, according to Zermatt Matterhorn.
The projections have included the flags of Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, France and Italy, as well as messages like “#StayAtHome” and “#AllOfUs” and “#Hope.” Other slogans projected on the mountain include the phrase “Dream now – travel later” because, as the website says, while travel is banned, “dreaming is not prohibited.”
“With this light projection, Zermatt wants to give people a sign of hope and solidarity in these difficult times. The village shows solidarity with all the people who are currently suffering and is grateful to all those who are helping to overcome the crisis,” Zermatt said.
When he projected the flag of Japan on the mountain peak, Zermatt wrote: Switzerland and Japan have maintained a close exchange for many decades. With Myoko and Fujikawaguchiko, Zermatt has two sister cities in the land of the rising sun. We greet our Japanese friends, partners and guests and send them a sign of hope and strength to overcome this unusual and difficult time.”
And when the German flag was projected, Zermatt wrote: “Like many European countries, our neighbouring country Germany is suffering greatly from the Corona crisis. Many German citizens have a close relationship with Switzerland and Zermatt. With the German flag on the Matterhorn, the Swiss symbolic mountain, we send a sign of solidarity across the currently closed borders and look forward to the time when mutual visits are once again possible.”
You can watch the projections live here.