In early April 2020, images of the United Kingdom’s flag projected onto the Matterhorn began circulating — striking photographs that appeared to perhaps be of questionable veracity:
Thank you Switzerland! 🏔🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/agIwTk1DfI
— Jacob Young MP #StayHomeSaveLives (@JacobYoungMP) April 11, 2020
In the town of Zermatt Switzerland they have been displaying national flags on the Matterhorn to show support during these trying times. Today they did one for the United Kingdom from nextfuckinglevel
In the town of Zermatt Switzerland they have been displaying national flags on the Matterhorn to show support during these trying times. Today they did one for the United Kingdom from Damnthatsinteresting
Most variations of the claim consisted solely of an image, not a news article or other information indicating whether the image was anything more than inspired digital editing. Even blog posts and articles gave the same image (none from different angles) along with the same basic description, location (Zermatt, Switzerland), and a date range:
Zermatt projected an enormous Union Jack flag onto the Matterhorn [on April 10 2020] as a sign of solidarity towards their “friends from the UK”.
The story was picked up by BBC:
At an incredible 4,478 metres high, the Matterhorn is one of the tallest mountains in the Alps. It towers over the town of Zermatt, Switzerland. For the last few weeks, a powerful projector aimed at the face of the mountain, has been displaying the flags of the nations affected by the coronavirus. This was the amazing sight of the Union Jack — the flag of the United Kingdom, lighting up the mountain.
Another news article — translated here from Greek — included an entire series of images. That April 12 2020 article reported that the projections were in honor of countries hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic:
The Matterhorn Mountains in the Alps are illuminated by the landmarks of Europe, which have been hit hardest by the spread of the virus. It is a symbolic move that aims to show that everyone’s thoughts are never far from those who are struggling to get out of this ordeal.
That article also included images of the Union Jack on the Matterhorn taken from different angles. On Zermatt.ch, the Zermatt region’s official tourism site, a page explained when the illuminations occurred, and invited people to watch — from home, of course:
Light is hope! In this sense, the Matterhorn is illuminated daily during the Coronavirus pandemic. The projections take place [daily] from 21:30 to 23:00 hrs.
With this light projection, Zermatt wants to give people a sign of hope and solidarity in these difficult times. The village shows solidarity with all the people who are currently suffering and is grateful to all those who are helping to overcome the crisis.
Stay at home — you can follow the spectacle live via webcams.
As indicated above, the British flag was projected onto the Matterhorn on April 10 2020 — followed by a graphic marking Easter (April 12 2020) the following day, and a candle on Easter itself. The stunning image is real, and a gallery of additional efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on Zermatt.ch.