The name’s Bond, James Bond.

Even though it may seem a contradiction in terms, the most famous secret service agent in the world is 007, the quintessential English gentleman spy.

Or is he?

James Bond is actually half Swiss, his mother Monique Delacroix being from Canton Vaud. Presumably this is why he speaks fluent French. This is also probably why Switzerland crops up so frequently in the books and films. Ian Fleming certainly knew Switzerland well enough to be quite detailed in his written descriptions. When the books made it to the big screen many of the famous movie sequences are Swiss ones, So Switzerland felt more and more like home for the most British spy.

My favourite Swiss moments for Mr Bond:

Goldfinger (1964)

Arguably one of Ian Fleming’s greatest novels from the James Bond series, the story follows Bond on the tail of Auric Goldfinger, a gold-smuggling villain. This classic takes Bond to the streets of Geneva, Switzerland, as he investigates Goldfinger and features one of his most notorious adversaries: the hat-wielding Oddjob. This film is used as the template for all future films. The tick list is as follows. Sleek Sports Car, Gadgets galore, Fantastic fashion, Unforgettable characters and dialogue to die for, and literally in this case:

«Do you expect me to talk?»
James Bond

«No, Mr Bond. I expect you to die.»

However it can be argued that like the rule for property the location is the key to the success of the film.

Switzerland appears rather a lot in Goldfinger Auric Enterprises is actually an aircraft factory outside Lucerne, Bond stays at the Hotel des Bergues in Geneva, and then there’s the memorable car chase over the Furka pass when James meets Tilly Masterson.

The Furka pass

So Bond in an Aston Martin speeding over Alpine roads – What a perfect 007 moment, action-packed as our favourite British spy chases Goldfinger’s Rolls Royce through the Swiss Alps near Andermatt. Ever since, Hotel Belvédère on the Furka pass over has been a popular hotspot for Bond fans from all over the world!

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

Piz Gloria, Schilthorn (2970 m)

Perhaps the most well-known is seen in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Is when James (disguised as Sir Hilary Bray) is taken up to Piz Gloria, Blofeld’s mountain-top hideout, Posing as Bray, Bond goes to meet Blofeld, who has established a clinical allergy-research institute atop Piz Gloria which is theoretically near St Moritz (hence the prefix Piz, which is used in Graubünden to mean peak). Bond eventually makes his escape by skiing down the slope while Blofeld and his men give chase. The action-packed ski scenes still stand up by today’s standards! In fact, this ski chase scene is often cited as one of the best Bond chases of all time!

Piz Gloria is actually a revolving restaurant on top of Schilthorn a 2,970 metre high summit in the Bernese Oberland (and was being built when the movie was filmed. After the film’s release in 1969, the name stuck and is a thriving resort and one of Switzerland most popular destinations. Later in the film to further the Swiss connection Bond breaks into a Bern lawyer’s office, located just next to the Hotel Schweizerhof. Switzerland

GoldenEye (1995)

In the opening sequence of GoldenEye, James Bond plummets from a «Russian» dam with the concrete wall appearing just feet away from his body. A swan dive, a bungee rope, and a grappling-hook gun with laser cutter attachment got our agent inside.

Actually, the Verzasca dam used in the movie is located in the southern part of Switzerland…

As opening sequences go, abseiling off the Verzasca dam in GoldenEye (1995) is hard to beat – it was once voted one of the best movie stunts of all time. Officially called the Contra Dam, its 220 metres high and built in 1961-5. It might look impressive in the film, but this dam in Ticino is only the fourth highest in Switzerland. Since that stunt it has become a popular place for bungee jumping. Rather them than me.

The Contra-Dam in the Verzasca Valley

Ian Fleming attended university of Genève

Outside of the films Ian Fleming attended university of Genève, Not forgetting that one of the most recent Bond film, Quantum of Solace, was directed by Marc Forster who is himself half-Swiss and lives in Davos. And that was the first Bond film to feature a line of Swiss German dialogue, thanks to Zurich-born actor Anatole Taubman. One James Bond a lived in Switzerland (Sir Roger Moore had a chalet in Crans-Montana);

The most famous Swiss scene

Lastly, the most famous Swiss scene in James Bond history wasn’t filmed anywhere in Switzerland. But that bikini on that beach featured the original Bond girl played by Ursula Andress, or Ursula Undress as she was often called in Britain. The Swiss actress comes from Ostermundigen near Bern, and her role as Honey Ryder in Dr No (1962) set the mark for all the Bond girls that followed. Ursula’s scene-stealing exit from the water was as iconic as James Bond moments get, so much so that it was copied by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale.

A Swiss James Bond?

Now all we have to wait for is a truly Swiss James Bond. How about Roger Federer? He could fight Raffa to the death with tennis racquets in a cable car. There is a precedent as Vijay Amritraj  a former tennis player most notable appearance is probably as the MI6 intelligence operative Vijay in the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy. Let us hope Roger does not meet the same fate should he get to utter the immortal line the names Bond James Bond.

For those with a little time on their hands, that would be most of you. Please could you send suggestions of Swiss locations that could be used for Mr Bond in any future films? Also if anyone who have a creative bone or two please send potential plot suggestions. It could be a chase, a romantic tête-à-tête or how about the odd explosion.

Thanks in advance.