'Stick to speed limits': The Swiss habits you pick up living in Switzerland

Michael Stuchbery
Michael Stuchbery - [email protected]
'Stick to speed limits': The Swiss habits you pick up living in Switzerland
The Swiss have a reputation for punctuality - and it's a trait that many readers tell us they're picking up. Photo: Unsplash / Andrea Natali

From turning up to meetings five minutes ahead of time, to tramping through mountain valleys, we wanted to know: What local habits do foreign residents pick up in Switzerland?


We were also curious: Had their time in the Alpine nation helped readers shed any former behaviours?

Keeping to schedules and the speed limit

The Swiss, much like their German-speaking brethren, have a legendary reputation for holding to a schedule. Whether it’s a train timetable, or a staff meeting, the Swiss demand that others arrive on time - and this is something that seems to have rubbed off on readers of The Local. 

“I come to meetings five minutes before schedule”, says Basuki Dewi, who has lived in Bern for the last seven years. 

Dave Lowin, who has lived in Le Mont-sur-Lausanne for eighteen years, told The Local: “Being right on time because that's just what you do.”

Another respondent, originally from India noted that being on time was now important, alongside enjoying some Swiss culinary favourites: “Punctuality, keeping the noise down at night, regular raclette and fondue.”

In addition to sticking to a schedule, many Local readers told us that they now stuck to the speed limit. 

Unlike neighbouring Germany, Switzerland is a little stricter with its speed limits - 120 km/h on motorways, 100 km/h on expressways and 80 km/h outside of towns and villages. 

Read more: 'The pleasure of punctuality' - Why are the Swiss so obsessed with being on time?


“Driving according to the speed limit - and discovering that driving three hours for a day trip isn’t such a big deal”, responded Karol, a Polish national living in Zurich. 

Aga, another Polish woman living in Geneva for the last six years, responded similarly: “Driving exactly as per speed limits.”

Other respondents mentioned themes many will be familiar with such as no longer putting waste all in the same bin or having to keep quiet after 10pm.

Read More: Driving in Switzerland - Which canton has the highest speeding fines?

Finally, respondents told us that Switzerland sparked a love of hiking, boosting their fitness levels. There are approximately 65,000 kilometres of waymarked trail in Switzerland, with more being developed every year. 

Lou, an American living in Basel responded: “Walking, walking and more walking. Absolutely discovering how good it feels, both physically and mentally.”

Lou also admitted to enjoying the local Swiss culture by developing a love for "Kirsch, Curling and Schwingen (Swiss wrestling)."

Martin, a Czech national living in Zurich, thought similarly: “Hiking, due to the awesome nature.”

Martin also stressed how using the car was no longer an automatic reflex.

"I no longer consider car the first option to travel through the city," he said.

"It used to be the fastest and most comfortable option but since living in Zürich this changed to be either the train or the bike depending on the distance.

"I opt for the car only when its needed to bring something heavy with me. I'm not even picking up friends from airport by car anymore. I just get there by train and buy them ticket too," he said.

Read More: EXPLAINED - 8 rules nature lovers should follow in the Swiss countryside


Improving diets and outfits 

When it comes to the habits that readers of The Local ditched upon coming to Switzerland, less fast food was a distinct theme. 

“I’ve drastically reduced my deep-fried food intake”, replied Pushpita Singh, an Indian living in Thun for the last six years. 

She also said she is now used to drinking coffee after dinner "especially after an elaborate dinner with friends or family".

“I don't eat box meals or premix foods”, responded Meredith Buser-Kennedy, who has lived in Läufelfingen since 1989.

Read More: Six common myths about Swiss food you need to stop believing

Dressing casually was another habit that Local readers told us they’d shed. 

Montell, a Canadian living in Zurich told us: “I do not wear baseball hats anymore.”

Meredith, quoted earlier, said she’d ditched her West Coast look, stating: “I don't wear bright California colours.”

What habits have you picked up in Switzerland? Which have you dropped? Share your experiences in the comments section below.


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