Today in Switzerland For Members

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 16 May, 2023 Updated Tue 16 May 2023 08:53 CEST
Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Housing shortage could be resolved by 'raising' buildings. Photo: Pixabay

Swiss Federal Railways to continue investigating the feasibility of the Basel - London rail link; a novel idea to combat urban housing shortage; and other news in our roundup on Tuesday.


Bern in favour of a direct Basel-London train, but the project not yet on track 

The idea of a Eurostar train between the two cities had already been brought up in the parliament in March, but the realisation of such an endeavour remains a logistical challenge.

A study is underway to determine whether direct connections between Switzerland and London are feasible, but so faranalysis carries out by Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) "highlight a potential for such a connection.”

The final decision will be made in 2024.

For now, “I am happy that the Federal Council is taking the [train link] seriously,” Matthias Aebischer, the MP who first brought up the idea, said on Monday. 

READ ALSO: Switzerland mulls new direct Basel – London Eurostar connection

Raising buildings could ease Switzerland’s housing shortage

Among various measures that have been proposed to solve the impending housing crisis, one of the most unusual ones comes from real estate consultancy Iazi.  

The company has evoked the possibility to create tens of thousands of new dwellings in the country by building an additional floor onto about half of the existing residential buildings.

This way, 30,000 new accommodation units could be created in Zurich alone, without having to construct on new land.

This method would make it possible to provide about 67,000 new housing units in the five largest Swiss cities — that is, housing for around 135,000 people, Iazi said.

READ ALSO: How the Swiss Tenants Association wants to tackle the housing shortage


Swiss government worried about ATM attacks

It's not what you think — the country's security is not at risk.

However, the number of attacks on ATMs “has never been so high in Switzerland,” the Federal Council said in a press release on Monday, adding that in 2022, 56 attacks were recorded, and “the trend is increasing… almost all of Switzerland is affected.”

The government went on to explain that Swiss cash dispensing machines are increasingly targeted by organised criminal groups due to the country's "geographical and economic location".

Furthermore, criminals are now resorting to explosives when they carry out their acts, "thus endangering the life and bodily integrity of uninvolved third parties".


Unique extravaganza set to take place in Geneva

If you want to experience an exceptional event over the upcoming Ascension weekend, head to Geneva on Thursday May 18th, to watch “the biggest drone show ever organised in Europe,” according to the organisers of the first edition of the “Feu ô lac” festival as well as municipal authorities.  
From Thursday until Sunday May 31st, some 1,350 drones will light up the Geneva sky for about 20 minutes.

The initiative, supported by both the city and the canton, serves as an alternative to traditional fireworks, which have been banned in Geneva since summer 2022. 
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