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‘Mediterranean nights’: Swiss cities to trial late night terrace bar openings

The cities of Zurich, Lucerne and St Gallen will allow bars and restaurants to open their terraces later than usual this spring and summer.

A terrace restaurant in Zurich. Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash
A terrace restaurant in Zurich. Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Authorities in Zurich and Lucerne have been motivated by a similar project last year in St Gallen, which saw businesses recoup much needed funds after the Covid pandemic. 

St Gallen will repeat the project again this summer. 


Zurich’s Mediterranean Nights project will see bars and restaurants allowed to open their terraces to 2am, instead of the current midnight, on six weekends in spring and summer. 

While the project has won support from the hospitality and gastronomy community, neighbourhood organisations have sought to shut it down, even taking the project to court. 

The eventual plan for six weekends was a compromise between the hospitality sector and neighbourhood organisations. 

The specific weekends will be set at a later date. 


Terraces in Lucerne will also be allowed to open until 2am under a similar project. 

Unlike in Zurich however, there will be no cap on the number of weekends that terraces can open later. 

FDP City Councilor Fabian Reinhard backed the project, saying it was worth looking at and there was no guarantee it would lead to a permanent change. 

“It is important that the city of Lucerne simply tries out what works and what doesn’t,” he told Swiss media. 

Reinhard said all factors would be considered, such as noise pollution and disturbances, not just whether the change was economically viable. 

St Gallen

St Gallen trialled the project in the autumn of 2021 and said it was successful. 

In 2022, it will be held over a longer period. 

Do you think Switzerland’s cities should open later? Or is the noise and disruption too much to take? Let us know. 

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Zurich approves simplified path to Swiss citizenship

Voters in Switzerland’s most populous canton on Sunday approved a proposal which will make it easier for foreigners to get Swiss citizenship.

Zurich approves simplified path to Swiss citizenship

The vote passed with 69.1 percent support, making it the most popular of the four initiatives put to the polls. 

Around 350,000 foreigners live in Zurich, which is roughly one quarter of the population – although the percentage is as high as 50 percent in some municipalities. 

The successful proposal called for Zurich’s naturalisation process, including the citizenship exam, to be made uniform across all 162 municipalities. 

The questions in the exam will now be centralised on a cantonal level. 

The test will include 350 questions about Swiss history, tradition, politics and culture, with a focus on Zurich. 

Anyone taking the test will be given 50 questions at random and must answer at least 30 correctly to pass. 

More information about the citizenship process in Zurich can be found at the following link. 

EXPLAINED: How Zurich wants to make naturalisation easier

What else was decided on Sunday? 

Voters in Zurich also decided to reject a proposal to lower the voting age to 16, with 64.1 percent saying ‘nein’ to the proposal. 

A proposal to provide for more parental leave – and even up gender imbalances between fathers and mothers – was also rejected. 

Finally, voters supported law changes which sought to enshrine Zurich’s climate change goals in the cantonal constitution. 

A detailed breakdown of the vote can be seen here.