• Switzerland's news in English
Zurich is world's second best city for expats: report
Photo: Russ Bowling

Zurich is world's second best city for expats: report

AFP · 23 Feb 2016, 13:32

Published: 23 Feb 2016 13:32 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Switzerland’s largest city placed second in Mercer’s 2016 Quality of Life survey, after Austrian capital Vienna took the top spot and Geneva came eighth.

The study examined social and economic conditions, health, education, housing and the environment, and is used by big companies to assess where they should locate themselves and how much they should pay expatriate workers.

The survey identified safety as a key consideration for companies sending expatriates abroad, “both because it raises concerns about the expat’s personal safety and because it has a significant impact on the cost of global compensation programmes,” Mercer said in a press release.

Switzerland is known as a safe country, which the Mercer report confirmed by placing Zurich and Swiss capital Bern joint second for safety along with Finnish capital Helsinki, behind Luxemburg in first place.  

Last year Switzerland was judged the safest city in the world by New York-based research website ValuePenguin.

The report drew attention to Switzerland’s low reported violent crime rate – seven per 100,000 people – and its compulsory health insurance system.

British expat Chris Southwell, a former professional snowboarder who last year set up personal concierge service for expats Allow Me near Zurich, agrees that safety is a big asset of the city.

“You don’t feel threatened walking around at night, which I think is really nice for families, to have that security,” he tells The Local.

“When you feel safe you can relax and really enjoy life more.”

This safe environment is generated because of the Swiss mentality, he says.

“How they care for each other, how they have been brought up. You see it when the kids go to school, they walk along on their own. From a young age they have been brought up in that way.”

Southwell, who has lived in Switzerland for many years, also praises Zurich’s quality of life and abundance of activities.

“Within an hour’s drive you’ve got mountains for skiing and hiking, to spend great weekends away. You’ve got the lake which is very clean and you can swim in it.”

“It’s got a great transport network, everything works on time.”

Story continues below…

Of course Zurich has its downsides, one being the high cost of living. But that’s balanced out by higher earnings and lower taxation, notes Southwell.

“The price of living is higher, but we’ve got lower tax and other financial benefits like that, so it creates a better economic environment for you to grow yourself personally,” he says.

The only downside to living in Zurich is the Swiss propensity to be a stickler for the rules, he says.

“It’s very law abiding. You can have a barbecue or something and you have to make sure you tell all your neighbours and even invite them. There’ve been cases where the neighbours have gone to bed at ten pm and then called the police to complain about the noise.

“You’ve got to know the laws and obey the laws. But as long as you stay on the right side it’s a very nice place to live.”

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Bern: companies should report salary inequality by law
File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The Swiss government wants to force small companies to examine their rates of pay every four years.

Husband in custody after Orbe body identified
File photo: Bas Leenders

The deceased is a 55-year-old woman who lived in the house with her husband.

Presented by MoneyPark
How to get a mortgage in Switzerland
Houses in Zürich. Photo: Pixabay.

Ready to buy? Here’s what you need to know as an expat about Swiss regulations, how to finance your purchase, and why you should use a broker.

Autumn in Switzerland: ten stunning Instagram photos
Photo: Swiss Tourism/Jan Geerk

Switzerland is beautiful in all seasons, but as these photos show, autumn is a special time in the alpine country.

Report: Swiss progress slows on gender equality
File photo: David Soulivet

Globally, it will take 170 years to achieve gender equality, according to the World Economic Forum.

Brothers go to court to stop suicide of sibling
File photo: Lisa Edmonds

Two men have filed a legal bid to prevent the Swiss assisted suicide association Exit from helping their older brother to kill himself.

Wawrinka snubs past form to reach Basel second round
Wawrinka beat local wildcard Marco Chiudinelli. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

US Open champion Stan Wawrinka has reached the second round in Basel after going out in the first round for the past four years.

Villagers asked to help fund bridge renovations
The bridge links the two villages of Veltheim (pictured) and Holderbank. Photo: Lutz Fischer-Lamprecht

The crowdfunding campaign by the two communes is the first of its kind in Switzerland.

Police discover body buried in Orbe house
File photo: Bas Leenders

Police have opened an investigation after finding a body buried in a house in Orbe, in the canton of Vaud, on Saturday.

Valais shaken by 4.2 magnitude earthquake
The earthquake hit in the canton of Valais near Sierre. Photo: Alain Rouiller

It's the biggest earthquake to hit the country for two years.

Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben
Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: The Local
Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
Photo: Antoni Da Campo
Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
Photo: Randy Kashka
Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Seven things you’ll miss about Switzerland if you leave
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
jobs available