When You Turn 100 In Switzerland, You Get 100 Bottles Of Wine

It's hard to compete with that sort of birthday gift.

We all need an occasion to celebrate ourselves, and birthdays are a perfectly good reason to be showered in love and food, right? Well, for the arguably biggest milestone in anyone's life (provided you live that long), centenarians in Fribourg, Switzerland, are offered 100 bottles of wine straight from the government, Bloomberg explains.

On November 5, a Fribourg resident named Marie-Antoinette will be turning 100. A government representative will come by to see her with a bouquet of flowers along with the 100 bottles—that is, if she chooses to accept them.

Of course, not everybody drinks wine. I imagine if I turned 100, merely looking at a bottle of wine would make me tipsy. So, for those who want something more practical, they can ask the government to instead give a donation of 1,500 Swiss francs ($1,646) to a charity. Alternatively, that same money can be converted into a voucher and given to a local craftsman or merchant for goods and services instead.

If you're wondering, most people do opt for the wine. Good choice. In 2020, Fribourg had 27 (whoa) residents turning 100, and only five people opted for the donation, while two went for the service voucher. I'm guessing the rest threw one hell of a party, doling out booze like it was their 21st birthday. (Or maybe 16th birthday, given the legal drinking age in Switzerland?)

This gift-giving practice started in 2000, but initially wine wasn't involved—it was an offer for a free armchair. Fribourg stopped offering the chair in 2015 since pretty much nobody wanted one. By that age I'm assuming you already have a pretty comfy armchair anyway and aren't interested in breaking in a new one. Why not celebrate by reveling in wine, like a champion?

Over in Geneva, about 100 miles from Fribourg, centenarians receive some party favors, but nothing nearly as dramatic as 100 bottles of wine. Residents can get a bouquet of flowers or three bottles of wine—still great! In the Swiss canton of Vaud, you'd be offered 12 bottles of wine, a special gift worth 500 Swiss francs, and flowers, if you're lucky. In Neuchatel, you'd get flowers and a letter. If I ever hit my mid-90s, maybe I should consider a move to Switzerland. Fribourg sounds nice. Let's party.

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