How it All Began
At the 1st August celebration at the Mercure Hotel in 2011, Eveline and Heinz Willi realized that a significant number of Swiss people are settled in northern Thailand. The idea of founding a Swiss club was born. With Veronica and Andy Mannhart, the idea was further developed and the vision took shape: a club by and for Swiss people, a chance for comfortable meetings in a beautiful setting and experiencing the adopted country together.
Other Swiss were invited to a preliminary meeting to plan the founding meeting on February 4th, 2012. Volunteers made themselves available for the board and details such as bylaws, membership application and membership fees, annual program etc. were prepared.
The Swiss Embassy sent the invitation to all Swiss registered in Thailand. Our wildest dreams were exceeded. Of the 125 participants, 91 became founding members. The atmosphere was great and the newly elected board, headed by President Andy Mannhart, immediately got to work.
The SLS is Developing
In the beginning, monthly meetings mainly consisted of a lecture and a shared meal. Of course, special occasions such as national day celebrations, Christmas parties and New Year’s brunches played a big part, too.
Our vision became reality: Swiss people meet, friendships are formed and we are experiencing Chiang Mai together.
It was important from the start to get the members involved. With special events such as golf, mini-golf, followed by ladies’ outings, chess, Mahjong, etc., we soon succeeded. These activities are organized and carried out by members.
The club grew as steadily as the interests and demands of the members. From the second year onwards, the meetings increasingly became events with very different themes such as the raffle, western brunch, visits to museums, excursions and even traveling.
Activities led by members were very well attended, so we created a special group for them, the KiK – Klub im Klub (club within the club). These KiKs manage their individual mailing list and organize their events largely independently. We soon counted 12 different KiKs.
Experience Chiang Mai together, it works and we are happy!
The Main Events
At the General Assembly, the members take the opportunity to actively participate, which is very valuable for the board. In this way, the club can develop according to the wishes of its members.
The meetings are usually rounded off by a shared dinner with lively discussions.
1 AUGUST CELEBRATION
The national day celebration is the biggest occasion. Here we invite on a large scale, with a great response. Decorations and music are very Swiss and the food is always delicious. However, the most important thing for everyone is to meet old friends and share a nice evening with good conversations.
The fondue/raclette dinner in November has become institutionalized. Here you can enjoy lovely food and chat in a comfortable setting.
Being together is also the focus at the Christmas party, sharing a Christmas event during the festive season with old and new friends.
NEW YEAR’S BRUNCH
The New Year’s brunch has quickly become an institution, too. We toast to the new year together while enjoying wonderful food, what more could you ask for!
It soon turned out that our members would like to explore near and far.
So we have organized various trips to Chiang Rai, Sukhothai, Nan and Kanchanaburi etc. These trips are so popular that members have even postponed their holidays to take part.
10 YEARS OF SLS
On February 12, 2022, the Swiss Lanna Society celebrated its 10th anniversary. All members were invited to the Meridien Hotel in Chiang Mai for an extraordinary and eventful evening. The wonderful food carving by our member Jeed and his friends, clowns making balloons accompanied by Roberto on the accordion started the entertainment program for the aperitif on the terrace. We were invited to feast on the rich buffet with international specialties. The founding members were recognized and the Consul General Pierre Chabloz gave an interesting speech. The evening program was rounded off by a lively flash mob, graceful hilltribe dances and the opera singer Helene McClellan. The Jubi Quiz offered the winners attractive prizes from our sponsors. An unforgettable evening in the history of the club.
We collect money for charitable projects on various occasions. Usually this is a raffle and the prizes are provided by our many sponsors.
For example, we were able to provide a drinking water filter system for Child’s Dream, a hot water system for Baan Doi, hippo therapy for Skill Center, the construction of a school in Laos with Child’s Dream, support of needy students in Northern Thailand for FERC, swimming lessons for Thai primary school students, support of displaced people in the conflict in Myanmar with Karen Switzerland Help IDP Refugees etc.
Some of the projects even gave our members the opportunity to lend a hand or at least be present at the opening and see for themselves how the money is used.
The SLS now has more than 50 sponsors ranging from 5 star hotels and resorts to restaurants, service providers, lawyers and relocation agencies etc. The members benefit from special offers and our events and KiKs take place in the most beautiful places in the city with members enjoying good deals.
The expectations of the four founders were more than fulfilled and the vision of ‘experiencing Chiang Mai together’ is actively pursued.
At the center of the club are the members, who enthusiastically help, participate and constantly improve the club with new ideas.
The club has developed into an important network for its members. The exchange of information, the mutual support and the newly formed friendships bear witness to this.
We are also pleased about the good cooperation with the embassy and the other Swiss Societies in Thailand. The mutual exchange of information helps everyone.
At the beginning of 2023, the SLS had more than 200 members.
|PRESIDENT OF THE SWISS LANNA SOCIETY
|HONORARY MEMBERS OF THE SWISS LANNA SOCIETY