American Cities named after big German, Austrian or Swiss Cities

Recently the Swiss ambassador in the United States posted an interesting tweet. It showed a map of places in the US which might have Swiss roots. A little later I found the same map on Reddit too. Reading the discussion and after checking some things myself, I noticed that there were mistakes or the cities weren’t existing anymore. Unfortunately, the ambassador didn’t share any source.

The map made me curious and I thought to check myself. I downloaded a list of places in the United States and Canada from I imported it into R and filtered it just for the cities and town.

I then created three lists with search-term for Germany, Switzerland and Austria. For Switzerland I used the names of the Kantons, for Germany the names of the 30 biggest cities and for Austria I took the 10 biggest cities and the name of some of the regions. I also translated some names of more famous places to English. I had to do some filtering because a name like “Uri” just gives a ton of wrong results. I then used the search-terms to look through the cities in the US and Canada.

The first result was, that a big part of cities were dead an had a population of zero. I think it was more than half. I had no clue, that there were so many empty towns in the US. I decided to filter those out, because it cluttered everything. Then I had to filter some more for names like “BERNard” and in the end, I went manually trough the list to remove false positives.

After that I just had to visualize it. I used the packages ggplot, ggrepel and ggmap to create the map. I finished it in Gimp. If anyone is interested in the code let me know.

Women’s suffrage in Switzerland at the cantonal level

There are several reasons women in Switzerland gained the right to vote only in 1971. The main reason is the direct democracy. There had to be a referendum to give women the right to vote. It’s quite likely that many countries would have introduced the women suffrage later.

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How many pigs live in Switzerland, Austria and Germany?

31’642’218 pigs lived in Austria, Switzerland and Germany combined, if we trust the numbers of the statistical ministries. I recently saw that governments release the numbers of farm-animals in a country.

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The Trams of Zurich animated

After I saw a great post on /r/dataisbeautiful where someone mapped a place with the help of location-data of rented bicycles, I searched if there is some similar data available where I live.

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The relation of the Swiss immigration-referendum and the share of foreigners


In 2014 Switzerland had a referendum about the initiative “against mass immigration”. I passed with 50.33 percent to the surprise of most people. The result caused a turmoil in Swiss politics. The goal of the initiative was to introduce upper limits for immigration. This seemed to contradict the Schengen-agreement with the European Union. Implementing it would probably mean the end of free movement and risk the Bilateral treaties with the EU, which are an important pillar of the economic success of Switzerland. Continue reading “The relation of the Swiss immigration-referendum and the share of foreigners”