20 per cent. That was the target of our initiative «Schluss mit uferlosem Bau von Zweitwohnungen» (‘Stop the Boundless Construction of Second Homes’). A municipality should not have more than 20 per cent in second homes. The rampant construction of second homes was continuing to eat into the landscape, particularly in the mountain areas.
«Enough is enough.» The Swiss people had enough of new buildings standing empty, entire ghost villages, cold beds and closed-down shops. In municipalities with a proportion of second homes exceeding 20 per cent, such buildings were to be banned.
The construction of second homes is a blight on the landscape; it wastes resources and destroys habitats. And all of this was happening in a densely populated country, where one square metre of land is built per second.
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On 11 March 2012, the Swiss people voted in favour of the Second Home Initiative with 50.6 per cent of the vote and in 12½ cantons. Article 75a was subsequently incorporated into the Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation (see aims).
By voting ‘Yes’ to the initiative, the people of Switzerland sent a clear signal: “Enough is enough! Stop concreting all over our small, beautiful country with unnecessary buildings.” Thanks to the far-sighted verdict of the federal court and ongoing negotiations, Fondation Franz Weber was able to guard the Second Home Initiative against political watering down.
On 1 January 2016, the law on Second Homes entered into force. The apocalyptic scenarios presented by the construction lobby during the campaign against the initiative organised by Fondation Franz Weber and its subsidiary Helvetia Nostra have failed to materialise. However, the issue has lost none of its importance.