Bill Longhurst, British Embassy

Like a true Bern local, the Deputy Head of Mission and Consul-General rides his bike to work – despite the hilly streets. His work has its ups and downs as well, which is why he is especially looking forward to the UK-Swiss climate summit in September.

Article published in the info letter July 2021

Bill Longhurst

Bill Longhurst...

... originally comes from the UK, more specifically from Chelmsford in Essex, SE England.

... is the Deputy Head of Mission and HM Consul-General to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

... has been living in Switzerland since July 2019. Before coming to Switzerland, he hold the position of Ambassador in Cambodia.

... is passionate about playing tennis (level – moderate) and golf (level - primitive), as well as travelling.

10 Questions to Bill Longhurst

What does a normal working day look like?

There is no such thing as a regular day. Most are chaotic. My job is a combination of political work, networking, corporate issues in the Embassy and public diplomacy. I also lead on our climate activity in the run-up to COP26 in Glasgow in November this year.

Which projects are you most excited about right now?

We are planning a major UK-Swiss climate summit for 1 September called “Decarbonising Cities” at the Stade de Suisse in conjunction with Swisspower. Covid-permitting we will have a range of VIP speakers and British companies attending.

When you arrived in Bern, what were you most surprised by?

Prices are eye-watering. But more positively, I love the huge range of bike trails which go everywhere – through and between the towns and around the countryside.

What do you appreciate about Bern?

Compactness. Everywhere else I have lived in my career has been a huge metropolis: London, Seoul, Tokyo, New York, Belgrade and Phnom Penh. Bern is large enough to have plenty going on but small enough to be out in the mountains in no time at all.

Is there anything you would change about Bern?

Maybe to dig up the roads slightly less frequently? But nothing major needs to change – just preserve it the way it is!

Tell us about your favourite place in Bern.

There are plenty of candidates for this – probably the neighbourhood down by the Altes Kraftwerk Matte, right on the river.

What do you already know you will miss when you leave Bern?

Everything I have mentioned above! Plus skiing (which I do at a basic level but still enjoy).

What is on your “to-do list” before you move on?

More camping in the Berner Oberland.

Do you know words in Swiss German and if yes, which is your favourite one?

My favourite (courtesy of my colleague covering agriculture) is “Guschti” – a two year old cow (or “Rind” in Hochdeutsch). I can’t claim to use it very often though.

Who would you like to hear from next?

Philippe Cerf from the Embassy of France (interview to be published in September 2021).