Everything that changes in Switzerland in March 2024

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Everything that changes in Switzerland in March 2024
Don't forget to rewind all your clocks on March 31st. Photo by Ahmad Ossayli on Unsplash

From the year's first national referendum to a major holiday, here are the changes to know about in Switzerland in March 2024.


March 1st: Swiss rents could remain the same

On March 1st , the Federal Housing Office usually announces the new mortgage reference interest rate, which determines whether the rents will go up.

Unlike last March, however, when key reference increased, this year experts don’t foresee another hike; the rate is expected to remain at its current level of 1.75 percent, meaning that tenants will be spared another increase, at least for the time being.

March 2nd: More trains to travel through the Gotthard tunnel

The tunnel, which connects German-speaking Switzerland with the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, closed to rail traffic in August 2023, after a freight train came off the track.

The traffic has been gradually re-establishing since then.

From March 2nd, more trains will run on Saturday morning, with three additional trains running from north to south.

Sunday afternoon, four additional trains will run from south to north.

March 3rd : Pension referendum

The first of Switzerland’s four rounds of referendums scheduled for 2024 will take place on March 3rd. Two controversial retirement-related issues will be at stake.

One calls for the payment of an additional, 13th, state pension, of the same amount as the ‘regular’ AHV/AVS pension received each month.

The second one seeks to raise the retirement age for men and women to 66, from the current 65 for men and 64 for women (the latter to go up to 65 in 2025).

Further, the retirement age would be tied to the average life expectancy — that is,  it would be automatically raised if life expectancy increases.


In addition to these two national proposals, voters in various cantons and communities will also weigh in on local issues, including in Zurich and Geneva.


March 20th : Goodbye winter, hello spring

The first day of the spring season, the so-called Vernal Equinox, will occur on March 20th at precisely 4:06 am.

That’s when the sun will sit vertically above the equator, making day and night equally long/short.

Taxman cometh

Swiss tax declarations in most cantons are due on March 31st.

In some, however, like Vaud and Bern, the deadline is March 15th.

When you receive your tax documents in the mail, the due date will be marked on the envelope.

But if you don't have it ready by this date, don't worry: If your tax return is prepared by an accounting firm, they automatically file every year for extension for all their clients.

You should have received a confirmation letter or email from the firm to that effect.

But if you prepare your tax declaration yourself and you won’t be able to meet the deadline, you must ask the tax authorities in your canton of residence for extension.

This is how you can ask for an extension:

READ ALSO: How to get an extension on your tax deadline in Switzerland 


March 31st: Easter

Though this holiday is usually celebrated in April, this year it falls on Sunday, March 31st.

However, in most cantons (except in Valais and Ticino), March 29th, Good Friday, is also a public holiday. As for Easter Monday, it is an official holiday everywhere except the cantons of Lucerne and Neuchâtel.

In terms of spring school vacations, they vary from canton to canton, usually lasting two weeks. 

READ MORE: Easter trees and egg smashing: How to celebrate Easter the Swiss way

March 31st: Rewind the clocks

Daylight saving time will begin on March 31st at precisely 3 am, when Swiss clocks will go forward an hour.

Sunrise and sunset will be about one hour later and there will be more light in the evening.

Also in March:

The website  of Swiss national railways (SBB) will have new features for seat reservations on the SBB network in Switzerland, which has not been possible to do online previously.


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