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Bettina Häfliger, Spiegel & Christian Grossenbacher, Seedorf

Hornussen

Hornussen is one of the most typically Swiss of all sports, and yet many Swiss citizens know very little about it. What is the name of the peculiar “puck”? And what do you call the wooden paddles used to catch it in the air?

The puck is called the “Nouss” or “Hornuss”, and everything in this sport revolves around this flying object. It is hit from the “tee” with a “bat” and sent as far as possible into the playing field, known as the “Ries”, at an initial speed of up to 300 kilometres an hour. Here the opposing team – made up of between 16 and 19 players depending on the league – attempts to intercept the puck’s flight as soon as possible and knock it down with wooden paddles (known as “Schindeln”) weighing 4 kilograms. This is what decides the match – the more pucks that are stopped, the better. Conversely, the batting team scores points if the puck travels a long way. These are the rules in a nutshell. The term “Hornussen” comes from the verb “hornen” or “hurnen” and refers to the sound the puck makes when it flies around the field. The first known Hornuss match was held in Trub in 1655. Following on from Swiss wrestling (see Focus on stamps 2/2016), Swiss Post is dedicating a special stamp to another national sport.

Jürg Freudiger