The Swiss village that’s home to an imaginary state

It has its own currency, its citizenship, a palatial headquarters and rejects the democratic state of Switzerland: an imaginary republic in Müllheim, canton Thurgau, run by local entrepreneur Daniel Model.   It might be a cathedral. Or a temple. The big grey stone building is a massive presence in Müllheim, a rural village in northeastern Switzerland.  The Model House, as the rectangular building with the golden figure over the entrance is called, happens not to be a church, though people of the same faith, or rather the same convictions, gather here. It is the embodiment of “Avalon”, an imaginary state with its own coinage and its own citizenship (for which a secret test has to be passed). It has an unambiguous attitude to the democratic political culture of surrounding Switzerland: rejection.  Avalon was founded in 2006 not by some eccentric loner, but by Daniel Model, a successful businessman who is one of the major employers in the region. He owns the packaging company ...

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