Five big news stories from Switzerland you need to know about this week

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Five big news stories from Switzerland you need to know about this week
Can this city accommodate 2 million people? Photo by Thimo Pedersen on Unsplash

Preparing Zurich to accommodate 2 million residents, and latest efforts to legalise cannabis, are among the Swiss news The Local reported this week. You can catch up on everything in this weekly roundup.


Growth spurt: Zurich’s population to reach 2 million

Fuelled mostly by immigration, Zurich's population is expected to increase by around 450,000 people within the next two decades — from the current 1.6 million to 2 million — a rise that is “significantly higher than the Swiss average.”

Authorities are therefore devising plans to make the city and canton liveable for new residents.

They are doing this by ensuring that Zurich’s infrastructure, such as housing, public transport, as well as school and healthcare systems, will but be able to function optimally, both from the logistical and financial point of view. 

READ ALSO: What Zurich needs to do to accommodate 2 million residents 

Moves toward legalising cannabis use are underway

A new citizens’ initiative is seeking to legalise the possession, cultivation, and sale of the drug in Switzerland.

“Legalising cannabis: an opportunity for the economy, health and equality” also calls for revenues from the taxation of cannabis products to be allocated to drug prevention as well as a campaign by the government to highlight the health risks of cannabis.

The organisers have 18 months - until October 2025 - to collect the 100,000 signatures required for a popular initiative to brought to the ballot box on a national level.

READ ALSO: Switzerland could vote again on legalising cannabis 

Bolt breaks Uber’s monopoly on ride hailing in Zurich


The Estonian company is starting this service, promising cheaper fares than their global rival, Uber,and  stating that they take a 20 percent cut from each ride, in comparison to Uber’s 25 percent. 

As with Uber, users pay per kilometre travelled, with increased charges for peak or ‘surge periods’. 

Also, like Uber and other ride-hailing services, rides with Bolt are booked and paid for via a smartphone app, available for Android and Apple phones.

READ ALSO: Ride-hailing service Bolt to challenge Uber in Zurich 


Politicians propose ways to cut health insurance costs

On June 9th, the Swiss will cast their votes on two issues aiming, though in different ways, to curb the continually increasing cost of the obligatory health insurance (KVG / LaMal).

In the meantime, however, Switzerland’s main political parties have proposed solutions of their own to tackle the cost problem.

They range from having the government-run, rather than private, healthcare and premiums tied to income, to abolishing healthcare insurance altogether.

READ ALSO: How Switzerland's political parties want to curb surge in health costs 

Sustainable transport organisation opposed motorway expansion

Switzerland's advocacy body for sustainable transport policy, VCS, is launching the ‘Stop Motorway Expansion Alliance’ that seeks to block the widening of existing motorways and the building of new ones in various parts of the country..

“The VCS referendum against the motorway expansion is an opportunity to send a groundbreaking signal against the current wrong path and for a more sustainable, responsible transport policy,” the group said.

It is also lobbying for  a maximum speed limit of 30 kilometres an hour in residential areas, and supports investment in the public transport network.

READ ALSO: How Switzerland can improve road and rail transport 
And also...

Swiss  tourism board  switches to a new logo

The country's tourism board changed into 30-year-old logo to reflect even more 'Swissness'.

The edelweiss flower is out and the Swiss flag is in... replacing the 't' letter in 'Switzerland.'

READ ALSO: Swiss tourism body unveils its new logo

Now, at last, nobody will confuse Switzerland with Sweden.



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