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LocationCheckList for Interlaken


[edit] Local team

See Switzerland bid page

  • Some members of local team have expressed a preference for Vaumarcus.

[edit] Choice of city / town / whatever

  • Are you suggesting a city, a town, a village, a spa in the middle of nowhere?
Interlaken, a small but vibrant tourist town with a strong conference/seminar industry in the middle of the Swiss alps 
  • How many people live there?
Interlaken has 5,468 inhabitants as of 2010-10.  There is enough
hostel and hotel accommodation to allow double this population in summer, as it is a popular destination for both
tourists and conferences.
  • How easy/convenient is the proposed place to get all strange and regular kinds of hardware?
Only consumer grade hardware available.  Many unusual items of hardware can't even be found in Swiss cities: 
the suppliers keep their stock in Germany and bring it to Switzerland when they have an actual order,
creating a 2-3 delay for any delivery.
  • Electronic/electricity shops / Computer stores (A "media market" like end user oriented store doesn't count)
See previous answer.
  • Supermarkets, etc.
Coop and Migros supermarkets in the town
  • How easy is to handicapped people move there?
The Swiss transport network is already equipped for handicapped people (although in-advance warning of
the transporters is needed), so there should be no problem to reach the venue. 
Switzerland has a special transportation service for disabled people ( which could
be an option for local transport where there is no public transport.
This question needs to be investigated thoroughly with each proposed venue.
  • Which is the nearest airport?
Genève (GVA) 
  ~200 km far by car
  2h30 by public transportation (train), every 30 minutes;

Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (EAP)
  ~160 km far by car
  2h by public transportation (airport bus + train), every 30 minutes.

Zürich (ZRH)
  ~200 km far by car
  2h15 by public transportation (train), every 30 minutes.
Milan Malpensa is accessible by bus/train.  Paris Charles de Gaulle is accessible by TGV from Dec 2012.
  • Are there any cheap airlines flying near the chosen city?
Most of the European ones, including EasyJet in GVA and EAP.
  • How long does the trip from the airport to the venue take?
GVA and ZRH airports are directly connected to the intercity train network: no super expensive airport trains
with changeovers in another station required. Though trains aren't cheap either...

Landing in EAP implies ~20 minutes in airport-station bus, then on train network.

It takes ~2.5 hours from GVA, ~2 hours from either ZRH or EAP (Basel), respectively, most of them by train
  • How friendly is your country towards foreigners?
(Note: I think this is a loaded question, or too generic)
Foreigners are not required to give their fingerprints or a mug shot when they arrive
in Switzerland.
1 in 5 residents is foreign.
In economic terms, it can be unfriendly to a foreigner who is not expecting high prices for everything.
Xenophobia and racism are not significantly more noticeable to a tourist than in any other
European country.  
  • Visas: Which/how many countries' citizens require getting a visa? How hard (bureaucratic, probable) is it to get it?
Schengen and EU countries do not require any visa if someone is already in a Schengen country, if they have a visa
from another  Schengen country or if they have a right to enter the EU (for example, if they are married to an EU citizen).
Basically the same rules apply as in any other Schengen country. A Schengen
visa is valid for Switzerland. 

Visa handling is expected to be quite non bureaucratic (fair and fast processing of the applications) but rules might be quite
strict. Not much difference to any other european country expected.

Further information:
* General Entry and visa regulations (governement  website)
* Visa requirements per country, Nov. 2011, PDF

  • Are there any import regulations, which might affect DebConf? (e.g. a limit to number of notebooks / DVDs / other media you can bring in; hard regulations for money transfers; etc.)
Yes: Switzerland is NOT part of the EU and imposes strict customs controls.  Although you can cross the border as many times
as you like without showing your passport, you are only permitted about 300 CHF worth of goods per day, and there are strict
limits on commercial goods, meat products, alcohol, etc.  Swiss customs officers make random searches at airports and on trains.
Official information on customs allowances
It must be remembered that customs (VAT and duties) procedures also apply to people returning to an EU country after leaving
Switzerland.  French customs regularly patrol the TGV and inspect luggage coming from Switzerland, for example.
Therefore, in a worst case scenario, someone could be taxed for taking a server into Switzerland, and taxed again taking
it back out of Switzerland to their home in Germany or Italy or France.
  • Language: Do most people talk English? How hard is it for a foreigner to find their way around?
Most Swiss citizens speak a basic level of english. Bus drivers and train conductors are used to English speaking 
foreigners. Interlaken is in the German speaking part.  But everyone in the french speaking part has 
learned some german in school and vice versa.  There is also an Italian speaking area called Ticino in the south
of Switzerland.
  • Smoking: What are the local regulations about smoking?
Smoking is not allowed "inside" public places (like bars restaurants), but it is still allowed outside. Smoking will be
prohibited inside the venue.  Rules vary by canton in Switzerland.

[edit] Conference Facilities

  • How much does it cost to rent these facilities?
Separate prices for accommodation and meeting venue.  See quotes in SVN.
  • How far away are the locations from each other? (auditoriums, hacklabs, restaurant, sleeping quarters, info desk)
Walking 10-15 min maximum for the average person.
  • What kind of places are available suitable for hacklabs, workshops, BoFs and talks? How many people fit in each of them?
See the brochure here for floorplans.
The venue also has public exhibits and catering areas which could be used informally.
  • How flexible can that be handled?
They typically don't allow more than one event at a time, so rooms we are not using are closed off, but they
can be opened if necessary due to a surge in demand.
  • Can smaller auditoriums be merged into a bigger one?
Two large auditoriums can be joined by a corridor.
  • Are tables/chairs fixed, or can we arrange them to fit more people/give more room to the people that we need?
They are for us to arrange as required.
  • Is the venue ready for handicapped people? Note: Keep in mind that it's not only motion-handicapped - Is the area safe for people with any kind of handicap? (There are sight and hearing-impaired people, too.) Bonus: What people is it not good for?
Requires further evaluation (site visit 26 October).
  • Access to all areas with ramps and/or elevators? (Note: carrying somebody over some steps is not usually an acceptable option.)
Requires further evaluation (site visit 26 October).
  • Are there people with experience handling handicapped people, who checked that?
Requires further evaluation (site visit 26 October).
  • Are blueprints with exact distances available to us (to be kept confidential on request)?
See the brochure here for floorplans.
  • What kind of audio equipment is already present at the auditoriums?
Requires further evaluation (site visit 26 October).
  • Wireless or stationary mics?
Requires further evaluation (site visit 26 October).
  • clip-on kind of mics or cary in your hand mics?
Requires further evaluation (site visit 26 October).
  • How many of them?
Requires further evaluation (site visit 26 October).
  • Will the hacklabs be allowed to stay open 24x7? What time schedule do they offer?
Yes, but for an extra fee per hour (security goes home when we do, so we only pay for hours used).
An informal hacklab can also be set up at the hostel for 24x7 use.
  • What kind of security will be there?
Requires further evaluation (site visit 26 October).
  • Are there any limitations regarding the consumptions of food / alcohol? Where do what limitations apply?
None mentioned in quote.
  • How far is it to the nearest convenience stores / all-night restaurants?
Between 5 and 15 minutes walking.  Free bus from venue to station area.
  • Please provide pictures of the venue/accommodation.
More pictures and videos are available on Interlaken overview page

[edit] Food

  • How much are the meals per person per day?
Breakfast included at hostel.  Lunch/dinner not included.  Guessing 10 CHF/meal/person/day.
  • Is the eating place near the talks place / the hacklabs?
Various places may have to be used, within 5 to 15 minute walk, or free bus.
  • What kind of food would be served?
Probably any.
  • In what fashion? (service to the table, limited buffet, open buffet, etc.)
Various levels of service are available for different prices.  10 CHF buys a kebab, hamburger or sausage in Switzerland.
  • Would food for vegetarian / vegan / lactose-intolerant / gluten-sensitive / religious (of any denomination) people be available?
  • How much meals do we need to order to get those kind of "special" meals?
No effort has been made to negotiate catering for Interlaken yet.
  • Will it cost extra to get those special meals?
No effort has been made to negotiate catering for Interlaken yet.
  • In a two week period, how many more or less equal meals can we expect?
No effort has been made to negotiate catering for Interlaken yet.

[edit] Network connectivity

  • Is the area already wired with regular network infrastructure? (much preferrably: 100Mbps or 1Gbps switched)
Venue has fibre, but it is not continuously active.  Only available on demand. 
  • How much does it cost and how difficult is it to get a big internet connection? (10/20 Mbits at least)
Waiting for details.
  • How much work does it imply to cover the area with wireless links?
See floorplan - all spaces are on a single level in the venue.
  • If we use someone else's infrastructure, how easy / flexible can that be handled, regarding routing / firewall / ip-range /
 public access / other stuff?
As we'll mostly use our own infrastructure this shouldn't be a problem.
  • Do we have restrictions on allowed ports?
  • Are we traffic-shaped? Or can we set a traffic shaper if we need so?
  • Would it be possible to set up the network before Debcamp? (a day or two, earlier would be nicer, in order to handle problems gracefully. Additional weeks for wireless.)
It is possible to check connectivity beforehand.  For full room setup, we have to pay the room rental fees.

[edit] Special rooms

Both for server and video rooms:

  • General conditions for the rooms / Size / Have they/do they need air conditioning? / What electrical load can they handle?
Commercial grade building for large events.  Electrical load shouldn't be aproblem just
a few servers. Normals cicuits in Switzerland can handle ~2kW. If this is not enough we could use another room which is 
separately fused. Another option would be to have some equipment in the datacenter of the upstream provider if we get a 
fiber link.

[edit] Accomodation

  • How much does it cost per person per night?
Average 25 CHF/person/night including breakfast in hostel or motel camps.  All are dorm rooms, 6-8 beds per room.
  • Is the place where people are going to sleep near the conference facilities?
Yes, 10-15 minute walk.
  • Is it able to handle a varying number from 200 to 500 people?
The main hostel has 320 beds (220 on-site + 100 in permanent motel tents).  Interlaken has 1,000 low-cost beds
and 3,000 other hotel beds of varying standards up to 5 star.
  • Is it able to handle non-native speaking people? (i.e. do the people at the sleeping facilities speak English?)
Yes - international youth hostel and tourist hotels.
  • Will there be a need of a "Debconf" info-desk, or would the local (hotel or such) people be able to handle that themselves? (See InfoDesk for details on duties)
We should have a desk, the hostel has a check-in and activity desk.
  • Will it be possible for couples to stay in their own rooms?
Yes, there are rooms for couples for a higher price.
  • How many room keys would be available?
Electronic door cards on demand.
  • Are there other hotels around?
Yes. Interlaken has 1,000 low-cost beds
and 3,000 other hotel beds of varying standards up to 5 star.
All in walking distance.
  • Are there rooms ready for handicapped people? How many?
Requires further investigation (site visit 26 October)

[edit] Fun and Free time

  • What activities can be done during the free time?
DebConf13/Interlaken#Other_notable_items on the info page lists many activities, all-year round skiing,
indoor ski, hiking, mountain railways, water sports on the lakes, cheese eating, buying Swiss army knives, etc.
  • What would be a possible Day Trip?
See above.  Hiking is probably the cheapest.  A group booking on one of the mountain railways may be possible, but will cost money.
  • Is the proposed location ready to receive people with disabilities?
Yes, people with disabilities can access things like mountain railways, but may struggle with alpine hiking.
A choice of activities will be offered so nobody misses out.
  • How expensive would that be?
Don't know yet, depends on what we'll do. But just organising some hiking won't be expensive.

[edit] Local Sponsors

  • Do you have a list of prospective sponsors that might be interested in the conference? Money, hardware, connectivity, etc.
See DebConf13/Switzerland/Bid#Sponsors

[edit] Timing

  • When (and why) would be the best time to host DebConf at your location?
See DebConf13/Switzerland/Bid#Date - Debian turns 20 on 16 August 2013
  • What is your backup plan if your preferred venue isn't available at that time?
See DebConf13/Switzerland/Bid##Backup_Venue_plans and various venues listed on the Interlaken info page
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