Life in Switzerland
Life in Switzerland
Swiss cities consistently rank among the best in the world to live in. From beautiful architecture to safe streets and scenic nature, Switzerland shines with optimism and energy.
We’ve put together a list of Switzerland’s most remarkable qualities, and a suggestion on the best region to live in.
Got more questions about living in Switzerland?
What living on a summer’s day in the Basel Area could look like.
You start the day off with a coffee and a light breakfast in one of the many cafes at the Rhine river in Basel. Then you take a stroll along the river and maybe even a quick swim to cool off. You might want to go by bike, across the border to Germany, explore the cute city center of Lörrach and shop for products at the farmer’s market.
In the evening you might want to enjoy the French cuisine in close-by Saint-Louis, France or you enjoy a traditionally French apéro with some charcuterie, cheese and wine.
Maybe you are more excited for the outdoors? Good for you – grab your backpack, pick a train and explore the countryside. Follow one of the exceptionally well signaled hiking routes in the cantons of Basel-Landschaft and Jura that lead to wonderful castles and lovely spots to enjoy your picnic.
You go back to Basel for a nightcap, soaking up the vibrant nightlife before you head back home and go to bed.
Statistics and studies on quality of life in Switzerland and around the world.
Anecdotes are nice. But what about hard evidence?
There are several studies and polls we can show to figure out what countries provide the best life, now and in the future.
Numbeo’s Quality of Life Index
Numbeo is a crowd-sourced global database. To this date, 629,448 contributors have added information about the quality of life in their country to create the Quality of Life Index.
In Numbeo’s Quality of Life Index, Switzerland ranks #1.
OECD Better Life Index
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD) produces independent analysis and statistics with most data coming from official sources such as the National Accounts, United Nations Statistics or National Statistics Offices.
OECD’s most popular statistic is the Better Life Index.
The OECD’s Better Life Index shows that Switzerland excels in dimensions like jobs and education but also in health, environmental quality, safety and life satisfaction.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s where-to-be-born index attempts to measure which country will provide the best life in the years ahead. It links the results of subjective life-satisfaction surveys to the objective factors of quality of life across countries and estimates the quality of life in the future.
The latest index, created in 2013, attempts to measure the quality of life for 2030.
In the Economist’s Where-to-be-born index, Switzerland ranks #1.
Is Switzerland a good place to live?
Boasting high ranks on various independent indices is a strong feat. But deriving valuable insights beyond comparing one country to another is impossible from those data points alone.
Instead of diving deep into the numbers, we put the benefits of living in Switzerland into words.
Everything is well-organized and on time.
It’s normal for Swiss people to show up on time – it’s polite. Trains are punctual, and even the most secluded locations have punctual public transportation.
Traveling to and from Switzerland is easy.
Switzerland is at the heart of Europe, bordering five countries: Italy, France, Germany, Austria, and the Principality of Liechtenstein. It’s well connected with highways, seven airports, and even waterways that allow you to travel to other countries by boat.
This makes traveling and exploring Europe very easy. Many Swiss people enjoy beach vacations in the summer in France or Italy, go shopping in Germany, and take a skiing trip to Tirol, Austria.
Top-notch educational system.
Switzerland boasts a high-quality education system, with practice-based basic education, outstanding public education, international schools, and world-class universities.
The Swiss education system relies almost entirely on public funds, making schools and universities inexpensive and easily accessible. Swiss universities like ETH Zurich and EPF Lausanne rank among the top 10 universities worldwide in several indices.
The political system makes for stability and safety.
Switzerland established its neutrality over 200 years ago in the Treaty of Paris in 1815. Since then, it hasn’t participated in any armed or political conflicts between other countries.
The stability of the country is also due to a political system in which seven members of the biggest parties form the government.
It’s a direct democracy.
Direct democracy is a substantial part of Switzerland’s culture and identity. Because of it, voters don’t have to choose representatives but can vote on initiatives themselves and directly impact their municipality, canton or even the whole country.
Also, any Swiss citizen can launch a nationwide initiative if they collect at least 100,000 signatures in 18 months.
”Basel is a beautiful city. It provides great infrastructure and a rich academic landscapeRaj Prakash GCo-founder and CEO of Zifo RnD Solutions
It’s very safe.
You can be alone on the streets around the clock safely. You can walk home after a fun night out or go for a midnight stroll when you can’t sleep. Children go to school unaccompanied and usually on foot or by bike.
According to the Global Peace Index, with an average of 5.4 violent crimes committed per 1,000 inhabitants, Switzerland is the 7th safest county in the world.
The Swiss healthcare system is among the best.
Some say the healthcare system in Switzerland is the best in the world. In the latest survey conducted in eleven countries by the Commonwealth Fund Foundation, 88% of the 2,284 people surveyed in Switzerland rate the overall performance of Switzerland’s health system as good or very good. The hospitals and clinics are clean and well-equipped, patients can choose their doctors and emergency rooms are rarely overwhelmed.
Healthcare is mandatory. You’re free to choose one of the many insurance providers and put together a healthcare package that fits you.
Nature in Switzerland is just as beautiful as you imagine it.
You’re now thinking of the towering alps, the blue lakes, and the infinite cow pastures, right? Switzerland is all that.
But are you also thinking about the Mediterranean climate of Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland? The clear, fresh water available at every tap in the country? Or the variety of flora and fauna?
Switzerland is all that, too.
The best place to live in Switzerland: The Basel Area.
All of Switzerland has the above-described qualities. They’re amplified and enhanced by other great unique qualities in some places.
The Basel Area is the one place that combines all Swiss qualities with its own traits like no other.
Located between three countries and with a high foreign population, the Basel Area is Switzerland’s “Capital of Culture”. Many cultures and lifestyles melt into a unique ensemble, creating a place of diversity and inclusion.
Getting bored while living in the Basel Area is almost impossible.
Whether you like fine dining, partying, shopping, hiking, arts or sports, everything is easily accessible. Have breakfast in Switzerland, lunch in Germany and dinner in France to treat your palate. Shop international top-brands and discover local artisans.
Visit one of the 40 museums or numerous art galleries and theaters.
There are many museums in the Basel Area – and they are fantastic: Like the world-renowned Fondation Beyeler, situated in a lush park in Riehen. The museum presents artists from the 19th, 20th and 21st century. On “24 Stops” or Rehberger-Weg, you experience the countryside and 24 waymarkers created by the artist Tobias Rehberger which brings you to the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein.
The Basel Area is famous for arts, culture – and even sports.
If you are interested in arts and culture, make sure to visit:
- Kunstmuseum Basel – changing art exhibitions in a stunning building in Basel
- Museum.BL – the exhibitions are always very hands-on, entertaining and educational, ideal with kids to spend a day in Liestal
- Theater Basel – theatre, opera and ballet in the center of Basel
- Jurassica – in Porrentruy, you discover the footprints of dinosaurs that strolled around the area millions of years ago
Enjoy botanical gardens, hike through cool valleys in summer, or go bobsledding and skiing in the Alps in winter.
And while we talk about sports
Did you know that the tennis star Roger Federer is a Basel Area native? The Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe even dedicated a tram to their local hero.
Healthcare and education play a big role in your and your family’s well-being. The Basel Area has the highest concentration of doctors and hospital beds in Switzerland and includes world-class clinics like the University Hospital of Basel. You’ll also find a tailor-made education for your family. Your children can be educated in their native language and study at one of more than 42 foreign-speaking schools. They’ll be well prepared for school-leaving exams in their home country, be it the Abitur (diploma), international baccalaureate, or the admission requirements for an American university.
A Bavarian’s life in Switzerland
Hans-Florian Zeilhofer, surgeon, entrepreneur and Bavarian. He has lived and worked in Basel for 18 years. Has founded various startups and initiated many research projects in the high-tech sector. He particularly appreciates the short distances, the proximity to the border and the dynamic ecosystem.
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If you plan on moving to Switzerland, Clarify if you need any permits to perform your business activities. In addition to residential or work permits, you also need to consider potential occupational permits for regulated occupations. Bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU mean that EU26 and EFTA citizens have the same rights as Swiss workers in the labor market.
Residence and work permits for foreign nationals from non-EU and non-EFTA countries are allocated according to set quota: Permits are generally restricted to highly qualified and specialized professionals, executives, scientists and renowned specialists from the cultural and creative industries (provided that certain conditions are met).
As the region’s innovation promotion agency, Basel Area Business & Innovation offers consultation and connections to help companies, entrepreneurs, and startups launch and grow innovative ventures. The DayOne Accelerator, as an example, has expanded its offerings and is supporting startups and companies that specialize in the fields of digital health prevention, diagnostics and treatment, no matter where they are located.
Furthermore, we provide introductions and help you build your network, we host events and workshops, and we help you get access to resources from funding to mentoring, accelerator programs, and collaborative workspaces.