Swiss Made? Foreigners Built World’s Longest Rail Tunnel: Chart

Gotthard Tunnel Feature

The northern entrance to the Gotthard railway tunnel is seen in Erstfeld, Switzerland

Adrian Moser/Bloomberg

Switzerland’s new 57-km (35.4-mile) tunnel through the Gotthard massif is a source of national pride, embodying national characteristics such as precision and technical innovation. Yet the majority of those who labored on the project -- 17 years in the making, with work conducted around the clock in three shifts -- were foreigners. The tunnel’s unveiling at a ceremony on Wednesday featuring dignitaries including German Chancellor Angela Merkel comes just as Switzerland aims to clamp down on immigration from the neighboring European Union.

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