Everything that changes in Switzerland in September 2023

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Everything that changes in Switzerland in September 2023
She is going back home to her barn after summering in the Swiss mountains. Image by Juncala from Pixabay

From new data protection legislation to cow festivals, this is what is happening in Switzerland this September.


September 1st: Reference rate for rents will be released

The Federal Housing Office (BWO) publishes the so-called 'mortgage reference interest rate' which also determines rents, four times a year.

It will do so again on September 1st.

Unlike the last release in early June, when the BWO raised rates from 1.25  to 1.50 percent, and another hike — this time to 1.75 percent — by the Swiss National Bank (SNB), also went into effect, no further increases are expected in September.

September 1st: New data protection law

The completely revised Data Protection Act will enter into force on September 1st.

Its aim is to ensure better protection of personal data.

This legislation, which has been in the making since 2020, is adapted to technological advances and the rights of individuals in relation to their personal information, as well as transparency on how it is collected and distributed.

September 11th: Knabenschiessen

On this day, the hills around Zurich will be alive with the sound…of gunfire.

But nobody is running for cover because this is Zurich's largest public festival, Knabenschiessen, which means 'shooting boys' in English, (though these days it includes plenty of girls as well). 

It is also the world's largest youth rifle competition (after all, rifle-wielding kids are not exactly a common sight in every country) where youngsters from 12 to 16 years of age demonstrate their shooting skills — a wholesome activity by Swiss standards.

This tradition, which goes back to the 17th century, is organised by the City of Zurich Rifle Association.

September 16th: Demonstration against rising prices

Trade unions, political parties, and various associations are organising a massive rally in Bern on this day, to demonstrate against higher rents and healthcare premiums, as well as lower purchasing power and wages that are not increasing to compensate for inflation.

Their goal, according to organisers, is to send a clear message to authorities in Bern."

September 17th: Swiss Thanksgiving

Unlike in North America, where Thanksgiving is celebrated in the fall (October in Canada and November in the United States), the Swiss version — minus the turkey — is marked on the third Sunday of September.

Known as known as Eidgenössischer Dank-, Buss- und Bettag in German, Jeûne fédéral in French, Digiuno federale in Italian, and Rogaziun federala in Romansh, the Federal Day of Thanksgiving, Repentance and Prayer is celebrated all over Switzerland, with the exception of Geneva, which has its own comparable holiday, le Jeûne genevois, celebrated this year on September 7th.

What are the Swiss thankful for?

Gratefulness differs from one person to another based on their individual circumstances, but overall, more than 75 percent of respondents in a recent large-scale survey said that Switzerland is “the best country in the world to live in”, which is certainly something to be thankful for. 

READ ALSO: Switzerland ranked 'best country' in the world


September 19th: Students return to Swiss universities

This day marks the beginning of the new academic year (and autumn semester) at Switzerland's general universities, Universities of Applied Sciences and Arts, as well as Universities of Teacher Education.

Students ar back at Swiss universities. Image by Nikolay Georgiev from Pixabay

September 23th: Fall begins

The so-called Autumnal Equinox marks the start of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.

In Switzerland, it will officially kick off at 8:49 am on this day.

It is too early to know ahead of time what the weather will be like once autumn officially begins, but after a summer with some extremely hot spells, most people are probably looking forward to sunny but cooler days.


This is what else you can look forward to in September:

From September 9th: Cows come home

In one of the most folkloric events that takes place in Switzerland each year — the so called désalpe festivals — cows make their way down to the plain after spring and summer months spent grazing in alpine pastures.

On this occasion, the descending cows are ‘dressed’ for the occasion: besides the bells hanging from their necks, their heads are decorated with flowers.

This link shows where and when you can watch this event in your region 


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