Day care waiting lists ‘a thing of the past’ in Zurich

The expansion of Zurich’s network of day care centres has been hailed a success by city authorities.

Day care waiting lists 'a thing of the past' in Zurich
File photo: Depositphotos

In a statement, the department said there are now enough day care (Kita) places to meet demand.

With spots available for 80.5 percent of pre-school aged children (up to six-years old) in the city, waiting lists are now a thing of the past, the head of Zurich’s Social Welfare department, Raphael Golta told the media.

Golta added there were also enough subsidized spots to cover requirements.

A screen grab of an interactive map showing the locations of Zurich's city-run Kitas. 

Zurich’s 329 Kitas offered a total of 10,680 spots last year. Most of these Kitas are private, but 12 are run by the city. These 12 centres offer special services to parents working shifts.

Zurich spent 86.5 million Swiss francs (€77.7 million) on Kitas last year including subsidies for private facilities. Part of this outlay went towards subsidies for parents of children with special needs who might not otherwise receive financial assistance.

Future city plans include boosting the quality of childcare and improving employment conditions for Kita staff.

Switzerland 'least-family friendly'

The news from Zurich comes in the wake of a recent study from Unicef which named Switzerland as the least family-friendly country in Europe.

The study, based on data from 2016, took into account national policies on paid parental leave for mothers and fathers, accessibility of childcare services for pre-school aged kids, and breast-feeding rates. 

It found that 29.8 percent of children aged under three were enrolled in kindergarten while this figure was 66 for children aged from three to compulsory school age.

Read also: Opinion – the benefits of raising children in Switzerland


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What names do foreign nationals give their babies in Switzerland?

Each year for more than three decades, the Federal Statistical Office has been publishing the first names of infants born in Switzerland the previous year. It seems that foreigners favour names that are typical of their national background.

What names do foreign nationals give their babies in Switzerland?
Foreigners give their babies names that reflect their nationality. Photo by Keira Burton from Pexels

As The Local reported on Wednesday, the most popular names for newborn girls born in Switzerland in 2020 were Mia, Emma, and Mila.

For boys, Noah took the top spot, ahead of Liam and Matteo.

REVEALED: The most popular baby name in each Swiss canton

But what about the most popular names among various nationalities living in Switzerland?

The answers come from the same study.


The top name for boys of Italian parents is Giuseppe, followed by Antonio and Francesco. For girls, Maria is in the first place, Anna in the second, and Francesca in the third.


There are many Portuguese immigrants living in Switzerland and, like their Italian counterparts, they like to give their children traditional names: José, Carlos and Manuel for boys, and Maria, Ana, and Sandra for girls.


Spanish names are similar to those of Portuguese babies.

José, Juan and Jose are most popular boy names, while Maria, Ana and Laura are in the top three spots for the girls.


Most boys of Turkish descent are named Mehmet, Ali, and Mustafa. Among girls, Fatma, Ayse, and Elif dominate.


Arben, Vallon, and Bekim are top names for boys, and Fatime, Shquipe, and Merite for girls.


Bekim is in the first place for boys, followed by Muhamed and Fatmir. Among girls, Fatimr is in the lead, Sara in the second place, and Emine in the third.


Aleksandar, Dragan and Nicola take the first three spots. For the girls, Jelena, Maria and Snezana are at the top.

Can you give your baby any name you want?

Not in Switzerland, you can’t. It’s important to keep in mind that the cantonal registry offices, where new births must be announced, don’t have to accept very unusual names.

Several years ago, for instance, a Zurich court ruled that parents can’t name their infant daughter ‘J’.

In another case, a couple in the canton of Bern were ordered to change the name of their newborn son because their choice – Jessico – was considered too feminine. 

Several names have been forbidden in Switzerland, including Judas, Chanel, Paris and Mercedes.