Switzerland is in western-central Europe. It is land locked. Italy sits to its south, France to the west, Germany is in the north whilst Austria and Liechtenstein are to the east. The capital city (or federal centre) is Bern but the most powerful economic centres are Geneva and Zurich. Both of the latter cities have helped put Switzerland in the top ten of Mercer Quality of Living Survey 2016.
Switzerland is an expensive country to live in but also one of the most developed in the world with the highest nominal wealth per adult.
So what else can you expect from a life in Switzerland? Read our guide below to find out.
Language: Switzerland has four official languages. German (spoken by 63.3% of the population in 2014); French (22.7%) in the west; Italian (8.1%) in the south and Romansh (0.5%).
Currency: The Swiss Franc is the currency of Switzerland.
Accommodation: It is incredibly common for people to rent properties in Switzerland. This makes it difficult for locals, and expats alike, to find somewhere to live. As in all competitive markets, being organised and ready to move is key, especially in the large cities of Geneva and Zurich. You may be asked for a great deal of information in order register with a landlord or leasing agency, so be prepared and plan in advance. You’re most likely to rent an apartment for a period of 12 months. You may need to give three months notice before leaving.
Healthcare: Unsurprisingly health care provision in Switzerland is outstanding. Individuals pay through health insurances schemes, which in law they are required to have. This can be an expensive business but it is essential for citizens and expats alike. There are varying rates for adults, children and babies but you will receive a high level of care for everything from GP appointments to major operations. You will need to take your insurance card with you every time you visit a medical institution.
Employment: According to the OECD Better Life Index, 80% of people aged 15-64 in Switzerland have a paid job. This is one of the highest rates in the OECD. 85% of men are in paid work, compared with 75% of women. EU citizens have the same working rights as those in Switzerland. You’ll need to think about languages however if you wish to work in Switzerland. Some large international companies may not require you to speak a native language but in smaller nationals might. The good news is that you’ll be paid well. The average entry level salary is £66,671 in Switzerland compared to £27,199 in the UK.
Climate: You might think that Switzerland is very cold and covered in snow. Of course, in some regions you’ll find snow-capped peaks over the Alps but much is governed by mild maritime air from the Atlantic. In low areas such as Lake Geneva, the Rhone Valley and Ticino you’ll find Mediterranean weather in the summer.
Education: Swiss kids are very smart. The average student scored 518 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is higher than the OECD average of 497. Children begin at Kindergarten, then move onto Volksschule (Elementary school), Gymnasium (Secondary school), Universität (University) and Fachhochschule (University of applied sciences). Most children go to pulbic schools as private institutions are very expensive.
Transport: You’ll find a vast network of public transport in Switzerland with trains, trams, buses and boats covering the entire country. You’ll be able to drive easily around the country but if cycling is your preferred option, the routes are easy to find and use. Swiss Federal Railways run the train system. You’ll need to make sure you buy a ticket before boarding, otherwise you’ll be fined steeply.
If you are considering a move to Switzerland PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company and our desire is to ensure your family receives a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over 34 years, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle we recognise the importance of ensuring our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves.
Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote form.