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KEY POINTS: Everything that changes in Switzerland in February 2023

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 26 Jan, 2023 Updated Thu 26 Jan 2023 09:20 CEST
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February means ski vacation for the whole family (here at the foot of the Matterhorn) Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

From new car stickers to ski holidays, here are the changes to know about in Switzerland in February 2023.

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Car sticker

From February 1st, the 2023 drivers in Switzerland need to have their obligatory vignette car sticker with the grace period for not having the 2023 version coming to an end.

The 40-franc sticker, which can be purchased from petrol stations, post offices or at border crossings, should be affixed to your car's windshield; if caught without it while driving on a Swiss motorway, you could be fined 200 francs.

The e-vignette, to replace the physical sticker, will be rolled out this year, with the Federal Council deciding on the launch date in the second quarter of 2023.

In the meantime, authorities are warning motorists against buying the e-vignettes online, as the ones offered for sale on the internet "are criminal phishing activities."

This article provides more ample information about the sticker:

Swiss vignette: What you need to know about Switzerland’s motorway charge sticker

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Nationwide alarm system to be tested

Also on February 1st at 1:30pm, the 5,000 fixed and 2,200 mobile sirens in Switzerland will be tested, as they are every year on the first Wednesday of February.

Alertswiss communication channels will also be tested, including the sending of notifications on the mobile application.

The signal – a steady oscillating siren lasting one minute – is intended to alert the population of an impending emergency or disaster. 

The second siren, used to warn people who live near dams of impending water-related danger, is a series of 12 bursts of 20 seconds each at ten-second intervals.

READ MORE: Switzerland’s annual siren test: What you need to know 

Switzerland will test its alarm system . Image by Mike from Pixabay 
 

Ski holidays

Like every year, February is traditional “family ski” month, when children get a week off from school (except in canton Lucerne where they will be off for two weeks), so families can head to mountain resorts.

Dates of this winter holidays vary among cantons; you can see the ones for your region here

Better collaboration between Swiss and European justice systems to combat financial crime

From February 15th, Switzerland with collaborate with the European public prosecutor's office to avert the risk "that its financial centre will be used for criminal purposes," the Federal Council said.

From this date, Swiss authorities will be able to “exchange evidence and other information” with European justice, strengthening “the fight against transnational crime.”

READ MORE: ANALYSIS: Is Switzerland actually a tax haven?

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Electricity reserve ordinance comes into effect

The ordinance on the establishment of a winter electricity reserve will enter into force on February 15th.

The decree regulates the use of the hydroelectric reserve, reserve power stations, as well as emergency generators and Swiss Federal Railways installations grouped together in pools, with the aim of strengthening the supply of electricity to Switzerland during the winter.

In addition, the introduction of a reserve linked to a drop in consumption (targeted reduction in demand), could, if necessary, be included in the ordinance.

READ MORE: ‘Restrictions and bans’: What to know about Switzerland’s new energy crisis plan

The new ordinance will restrict power use. Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay 

Suddenly...more daylight!

A milestone of sorts will come on February 20th, though you will likely not even notice it.

By that day, daylight speeds up to three minutes per day, according to the almanac, a very useful annual calendar that contains astronomical data and tide tables, among other information. 

“On the 20th, the day length is 10 hours, 53 minutes, and on the 21st, it's 10 hours, 56 minutes," it says.

This means that dark early mornings and dark early evenings are on the way out. And, hopefully, spring is on the way in.

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Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2023/01/26 09:20

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