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

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
This is where your undies should be buried. Image by Lukas from Pixabay

Politicians push for higher buildings as a relief for housing shortage; the government wants you to bury your underwear; and more Swiss news in our roundup on Tuesday.


Residential buildings should reach new heights, politicians say

In an attempt to solve the country’s chronic housing shortage, and especially in view of scarcity of land for new construction, the Liberal-Radical Party (PLR) is pushing for existing buildings to be ‘raised up.’

This means additional living space should be created on top of current one.

To that end, “building and zoning regulations in Swiss cities must be adapted so as to systematically integrate the raising of one or two floors into urban plans,” the party said in a press release.

“In addition, in all residential areas, the maximum authorised height of existing buildings should be  increased by at least three metres. This should make it possible to add an additional floor or two for housing, where possible."

 The government asks population to bury their underwear  — seriously

This may sound weird to say the least,  but there is nothing kinky about this request.

In fact, it’s all for a good cause: to assess the health of Swiss soil.

“Soils are essential to life: they ensure food production, filter water, and shelter great biological diversity,” the Federal Department of the Environment said in a press release on Monday.

“In order to protect soils in a targeted manner, we need to collect more information about their quality and the services they provide,” it added.

To participate in this project, to be held on April 21st and 22nd,  all you need (besides a small patch of land) is this app, a pair of underwear made entirely of cotton, and a shovel to bury it. 

After you dig up the undies two months later,  the stage of decomposition will provide vauable information on the biological processes taking place in the soil.

“If the underwear is completely or partially decomposed, this is a testament to the health and vitality of the soil.”

A similar project took place in 2019 and 2021— at that time, the soil was deemed to be in good shape, as in most cases, only the elastic band remained intact after two months underground. 


The love-hate relationship that Swiss have with health insurance providers

A new survey by Moneyland consumer platform analysed the level of (dis)satisfaction with Swiss health insurance companies.

Aside from the usual pet-peeve — expensive premiums — the survey also evaluated categories such as the friendliness of employees/customer services; value for money; time required for insurance benefits to be paid out; and clarity of information provided.

Providers with highest consumer ratings are Sanitas and Swica with 8.2 out of 10 points; ÖKK and KPT (8.1 points); Concordia, Helsana, Visana, and Sympany (8 points); CSS (7.8 points) ; Groupe Mutuel (7.6 points).

The lowest score went to Assura, with 7.1 out of 10 points.


Prices of single-family houses in certain regions are rising further

Purchasing this type of property now costs nearly 4 percent more than it did in the first trimester of 2023, according to Raiffeisen bank’s real estate barometer published on Monday.

Regionally, the Lake Geneva area — traditionally a high-priced market — experienced the largest price hike (7 percent), followed by the rest of western Switzerland (5.9 percent).

On the other hand, prices in eastern part of the country remained stable.

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