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E x pat g u i d e : S w i t z e r l a n d i n c l u d e s g e n e va c i t y g u i d e This expat guide offers information and advice if you are moving to Switzerland. Click on the different tabs to find out about anything from tax rules and banking to education and cultural highlights. You can also read our city guide to Zurich.

M ov i n g

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Living

E D U C AT I O N

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G E N E VA

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Bupa International is the specialist international division of Bupa, and we have operations in UK, Denmark, USA, Spain, France, Hong Kong, Egypt, UAE and Australia. We care for the lives in our hands, and are dedicated to providing all the insurance services, help and advice you need to keep yourself and your family in the best of health. Our dedicated team respects everyone’s individuality, culture, privacy and dignity, and aims to provide a personal service you can rely on throughout your Bupa International membership.

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M ov i n g

Moving to Switzerland Switzerland’s prosperous cities and cantons make the country an ideal expat destination. Expat workers have long been integrated into the economy, particularly the financial and diplomatic sectors, where the demand is high. More than 21%

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of Switzerland’s 7.5 million workers are foreign nationals. Although above average salaries compensate for it, the cost of living is exceptionally high. Crime is a rarity, and social problems virtually non-existent. Appropriately for a country famed for its watch-making, Switzerland runs likes clockwork,

Living

a point of great pride for the Swiss. Switzerland ranks second in quality of life according to the Economist. The few drawbacks include an occasionally insular

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population of locals who don’t fully welcome expats, and comprehensively cold and snowy winters. But as they say, if life gives you snow, go skiing, and that is precisely what many expats find themselves doing on the world-class Alpine slopes around Geneva, Interlaken and St Moritz.

useful info

Shipping and removals To import your household goods into Switzerland, you need to complete Form 18.44: “Declaration/Application for clearance of household effects”. Together with this you need to submit assurance of a residence authorisation or proof of

G E N E VA

accommodation. Ensure your removals company advises you on these requirements. You can find out more information here and download the form from the Swiss Federal Customs Administration. To import pets from your home country, you need a veterinary certificate and electronic tagging. Check in with the Federal Veterinary Office (www.bvet.admin.ch) for the precise details. Customs information: www.ezv.admin.ch

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Working in Switzerland Below you will find information about: • Visas and work permits

Living

• Banking, money and taxes • Business culture • Public holidays

E D U C AT I O N

Switzerland has a formal work culture where it is important to observe rules of decorum and etiquette. The Swiss are typically reserved and should be greeted with the appropriate title of Herr or Frau rather than first names. Punctuality is important as meetings start on time and are run efficiently. The right to four weeks holiday per year is guaranteed by law.

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Visa and work permits Getting a work visa and residence permit for Switzerland is not easy unless you work for the United Nations or have

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specialist skills. Non-EU candidates will need to possess skills that are not available among the local population. For UN employees, it is a simple matter of being issued with a carte de legitimation which entitles the bearer to live in Switzerland for the duration of their employment. A bilateral agreement between the EU and Swiss government now makes it straightforward for citizens of the European Union to work in Switzerland. By 2014 it is planned to scrap work visa requirements entirely for EU citizens. Banking, money and taxes Your money is very welcome in Switzerland. There are more than 600 banks in Switzerland and opening an account is quick and easy. All you need is a passport, proof of address and either an employment contract or proof of income. Accounts cannot be opened anonymously, although bank-client confidentiality rules are still strictly observed. A minimum initial deposit will be required; the amount varies according to the bank. Customer service levels are high and banking charges low. Special salary accounts pay a higher rate of interest in

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exchange for fewer services. Wealthy clients might use a private bank in one of the smaller cantons. Cash is used more frequently than credit cards and cheques for day-to-day transactions. The most popular credit card is Eurocard. Monthly charges are around CHF50.

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Expats living in Switzerland more than 180 days per year are subject to personal income tax on their worldwide income. However, thanks to double taxation treaties with over 50 countries, tax paid in one country can be deducted from the other. Tax rates are low and seldom exceed 30 percent. Foreign workers who are not residents will have their tax deducted from the salaries by their employers. Expats retiring to Switzerland, and not making an income, can opt for lump-sum taxation, the amount of which is negotiated based on your standard of living.

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Business culture Business in Switzerland is formal and punctuality is vital for meetings. Different styles vary depending on the type of business, as well as from the Swiss-French to the Swiss-German and Swiss-Italian side. For example, Swiss-Italian/French meetings frequently occur over meals while Swiss-German meetings are often brief and curt.

Living

E D U C AT I O N

Business suits are normal for meetings for both men and women, and handshakes are the acceptable form of greeting. Business hours are generally Monday to Friday from 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 6.30pm. Public holidays Many public holidays are cantonal, so that each canton is free to allow them or not.

useful info

You can see a full overview of the holiday system here. 2011

G E N E VA

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2012

New Year’s Day

1 Jan

1 Jan

Saint Berchtold Day

2 Jan

2 Jan

Good Friday

22 Apr

6 Apr

Easter Sunday

24 Apr

8 Apr

Easter Monday

25 Apr

9 Apr

Ascension Day

2 Jun

17 May

Whit Monday

13 Jun

28 May

Corpus Christi

23 Jun

7 Jun

Swiss National Day

1 Aug

1 Aug

Assumption of Mary

15 Aug

15 Aug

St. Leodegar’s Day

2 Oct

2 Oct

All Saint’s Day

1 Nov

1 Nov

Immaculate Conception

8 Dec

8 Dec

Christmas Day

25 Dec

25 Dec

St Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day)

26 Dec

26 Dec

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Living and culture Below you will find information about: • Cost of living

E D U C AT I O N

• Language • Popular expat cities • Will I need a car?

useful info

G E N E VA

For information about Bupa International healthcare click here.

With four official languages and a surprisingly multicultural population, Switzerland is diverse enough to encompass its expat population. English is widely spoken and you will get by without having to learn one of the official languages — German, French, Italian and Romansch. Many expats remark on how hard it is to make friends with the local Swiss. It is true that the locals have a reputation for being reserved and conservative, and while never hostile to expats, they are seldom outgoing. One thing that can be hard to adjust to is the petty laws which restrict certain behaviours. For example, if you live in a block of flats, there are set times you can use the washing machine and you cannot wash your car on a Sunday. Overall, however, Switzerland is an easy country to adapt to, with sufficient expat communities to ease the transition from home should you need it. Cost of living Switzerland is ranked the fourth most expensive place to live, according to Mercer’s 2009 Cost of Living survey. Salaries are amongst the highest in Europe too. It is therefore essential for expats moving to Switzerland to earn a salary that reflects the high cost of living — anything less than CHF50,000 a year will be a struggle.

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The cost of living in Switzerland may be high but you get a lot for your money. Everything works in Switzerland — the public transport is efficient, the roads are safe, there is low crime, it’s clean and extremely picturesque. For these reasons Zurich and Geneva often rank in the top 5 cities to live in the world.

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Restaurants, bars, and grocery stores are more expensive than almost anywhere else. Expect to pay 20-30% more on groceries in Switzerland than in neighbouring countries. There are a few discount grocery stores, however these are generally frowned upon by the Swiss. Alcohol is still relatively reasonable due to the level of VAT and state taxes charged. VAT in Switzerland is about 8%, compared to nearly 20% in Germany and France.

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Housing is a huge expense for expats — expect to pay anything from CHF 1000 to CHF 3000 per month for a decent tw- bedroom apartment. This does not include water and electricity which is billed annually. Also, the availability of apartments is not great, especially in places such as Geneva where occupancy rates are very high.

E D U C AT I O N

useful info

Purchasing a house is very difficult in Switzerland and is not recommended unless you plan to stay in Switzerland for the long term. An expat’s ability to purchase will depend on: 1. their employment visa status 2. whether they are prepared to keep the house for at least 5 years to prevent price speculation 3. whether they can afford the 20% minimum down payment to be paid on the total house value

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A bit of a relief comes from the low income taxes. Services are also paid for as you use them so you can definitely save some money here. Language Switzerland has four official languages: Swiss German, French, Italian and Romansch. Most Swiss people understand English, but it helps if you speak one of the official languages, although Romansch is only spoken by an estimated 1% of the population. Popular expat cities Geneva, Basel and Zurich are the most densely populated cities and the most popular expat destinations. Will I need a car? With reliable and comfortable public transport, you can commute very easily without requiring your own vehicle. However, on weekends, when you might want to explore the countryside or head for the slopes, you will appreciate having your own car.

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E D U C AT I O N

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Education For more information about education and schools view the guides to Geneva or Zurich Education and schools in Geneva Swiss schools are uniformly excellent. Children are allocated places according to where the parents live, so bear this in mind when choosing accommodation in Geneva.

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The school terms run from September to December, January to March and April to June. School hours are typically from 8am to 12pm and 2pm to 6pm. Wednesday afternoons are free, but certain schools have classes on Saturday mornings. Children tend to work harder at Swiss schools, and there is plenty of homework. Tuition is in French, so it might be worth getting language lessons before arrival, or enrolling in one of the Englishlanguage international schools. Education and schools in Zurich A deserved reputation for exclusive, top, private education means that you can be safe in the knowledge that your child will receive the best education at any school in Zurich. The city’s international schools are excellent, but come at a premium. They prepare children beyond the demands of college and university requirements, often focusing on other aspects of life such as the outdoors, religion or deportment.

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The Swiss schools in Zurich place a strong emphasis on mastering mathematics as a subject and on being able to understand the curriculum in German. A much more rigid and disciplined method of teaching is employed in Swiss Schools and school hours are different to those at American or British schools. Children in primary school are, for

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example, required to eat lunch at home. Education and Schools in Zurich: Comprehensive list of private schools: http://www.zurich-relocation.ch/web/?details=39

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Useful information Time: The local time in Switzerland is GMT + 1 hour (GMT + 2 hours between March and October). Currency: The Swiss franc (CHF) is the official currency of Switzerland. It is divided into 100 rappen in German, centimes

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in French, centesimo in Italian or rap in Romansh. You can check the latest exchange rates here. Electricity: The electrical current in Switzerland is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are of the linear, rounded three-pin type, but

USEFUL INFO

rounded two-pin plugs will fit the outlet. Safety: Switzerland’s crime rate is very low. Petty criminals, such as thieves and pickpockets, operate in the larger cities and at public places. Expats who relocate here should exercise the same caution as they would in any other big city in the

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world and should be aware of robberies on overnight trains. Communications: When dialling out of the country, the outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (eg 0027 for the SWITZERLAND) and the international country dialling code for Switzerland is +41. City/area codes are also in use, while mobile phones operate on GSM 1800 and 900 networks and can be found all over the country. High speed broadband ADSL internet is common in most businesses and homes available through a range of providers. Internet cafes are available in the main towns and resorts. Some public phone booths have internet and email access. Climate in Switzerland: Expats moving to Switzerland should prepare themselves for moderate temperatures with no extreme in either hot or cold. The summer months from June to September are warm and the best time for outdoor activities. Winter is cold with snow and expats should make use of the ski resorts open in late November before the tourist season begins.

G E N E VA Rainfall

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Rainfall (mm)

c o n ta c t u s

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66

26

44

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living Embassy contact details Switzerland Embassies:

E D U C AT I O N

• Swiss Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 745 7900 • Swiss Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7616 6000 • Swiss Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 235 1837 • Swiss Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6162 8400

USEFUL INFO

• Swiss Embassy, Pretoria, SWITZERLAND: +27 (0)12 452 0660 • Swiss Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 218 6382 • Swiss Embassy, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 (0)4 472 1593/4.

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Foreign Embassies in Switzerland : • United States Embassy, Berne: +41(0)31 357 7011 • British Embassy, Berne: +41 (0)31 359 7700 • Canadian Embassy, Berne: +41 (0)31 357 3200 • Australian Consulate-General, Geneva: +41 (0)22 799 9100 • SWITZERLANDn Embassy, Berne: +41 (0)31 350 1313 • Irish Embassy, Berne: +41 (0)31 352 1442 • New Zealand Embassy, Berlin, Germany (also responsible for Switzerland): +49 (0)30 206 210. Useful links Wordtravels.com has an extensive travel guide to Switzerland: • http://wordtravels.com/Travelguide/Countries/Switzerland Banking, Money and Taxes in Switzerland:

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• Directory of Swiss banks: www.swconsult.ch/cgi-bin/banklist.pl • Details on banking in Switzerland: www.swissbanking.org/en/home/faq-kontoeroeffnung.htm Visa and Work Permits for Switzerland:

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• Immigration information: www.swissemigration.ch • Switzerland government portal: www.ch.ch • Recruitment website: www.jobs.ch • Recruitment resource: www.jobwinner.ch Useful expat resource: • http://www.expatica.com/ch/main.html

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This content is provided by www.expatarrivals.com, copyright © 2011 Globe Media Ltd. All rights reserved. By its very nature much of the information in this expat guide is subject to change at short notice and travellers are urged to verify information on which they’re relying with the relevant authorities. Neither Globe Media nor Bupa International can be held liable for any errors or omissions, or any loss, damage, illness and/or injury that may occur as a result of this information. Bupa International is not responsible for the content of external websites. 9/20


E x pat g u i d e : G ENE VA This expat guide offers information and advice if you are moving to Geneva. Click on the different tabs to find out about anything from tax rules and banking to education and cultural highlights. You can also read our guides to Switzerland and Zurich.

M ov i n g

Wo r k i n g

Living SEE AND DO

E D U C AT I O N

SWITZERLAND

benefits

c o n ta c t u s call us on +44 (0) 1273 718 306 send an email enquiry

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Bupa International is the specialist international division of Bupa, and we have operations in UK, Denmark, USA, Spain, France, Hong Kong, Egypt, UAE and Australia. We care for the lives in our hands, and are dedicated to providing all the insurance services, help and advice you need to keep yourself and your family in the best of health. Our dedicated team respects everyone’s individuality, culture, privacy and dignity, and aims to provide a personal service you can rely on throughout your Bupa International membership.

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M ov i n g

Moving to Geneva Geneva is Switzerland’s most international city, a long-established haven for skilled expats from every corner of the globe. As the European headquarters of the UN, WHO and several key multinationals, such as IBM and Dell, Geneva has an

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identity far broader than the Swiss parochialism of its rural cantons. The official language is French but you are just as likely to hear English, Spanish, Russian or even Arabic from its polyglot population. Geneva has plenty of beauty to seduce expats; wonderful parks, superb museums and close proximity to the best skiing in

Living

the Alps combine to offer respite from the rigidity and punctuality of the Swiss working week. One key advantage of living in Geneva is the proximity to other European countries. This makes Geneva a perfect base to

SEE AND DO

explore the wider charms of the continent while building a career in one of the most competitive and rewarding cities. Shipping and removals In order to move to Switzerland, you need a resident permit or work permit, or authorisation for a second residence.

E D U C AT I O N

Once you’ve made the move you need to notify the local cantonal authority and provide the necessary paperwork. A range of other documentation is required to import your household contents, and separate documents for bringing

SWITZERLAND

your car in to the county. • Swiss removals company: http://www.devis-demenageurs-internationaux.ch/ • Useful guide to relocation: www.expats-moving-and-relocation-guide.com/index.html • Details and advice on moving pets overseas: www.petrelocation.com/petrules-87.html • Moving Home Company: www.movinghomecompany.com

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M OV I N G

WO R K I N G

Working in Geneva Below you will find information about: • Visa and work permits

Living

• Banking, money and taxes • Business • Public holidays

SEE AND DO

Most expats working in Geneva were recruited to come here, but it is possible to find work through local publications such as the Tribune de Genève and Tout l’Emploi.

E D U C AT I O N

SWITZERLAND

The work culture is serious and task-focused. The Swiss are punctual and disciplined in their business dealings. Formal greetings such as Herr and Frau are preferred to first names. Visa and work permits (Switzerland) Getting a work visa and residence permit for Switzerland is not easy unless you work for the United Nations or have specialist skills. Non-EU candidates will need to possess skills that are not available among the local population. For UN employees, it is a simple matter of being issued with a carte de legitimation which entitles the bearer to live in Switzerland for the duration of their employment. A bilateral agreement between the EU and Swiss government now makes it straightforward for citizens of the European Union to work in Switzerland. By 2014 it is planned to scrap work visa requirements entirely for EU citizens. Banking, money and taxes (Switzerland) Your money is very welcome in Switzerland. There are more than 600 banks in Switzerland and opening an account is quick and easy. All you need is a passport, proof of address and either an employment contract or proof of income. Accounts cannot be opened anonymously, although bank-client confidentiality rules are still strictly observed. A minimum initial deposit will be required; the amount varies according to the bank.

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Customer service levels are high and banking charges low. Special salary accounts pay a higher rate of interest in exchange for fewer services. Wealthy clients might use a private bank in one of the smaller cantons.

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Cash is used more frequently than credit cards and cheques for day-to-day transactions. The most popular credit card is Eurocard. Monthly charges are around CHF50. Expats living in Switzerland more than 180 days per year are subject to personal income tax on their worldwide income. However, thanks to double taxation treaties with over 50 countries, tax paid in one country can be deducted from the other. Tax rates are low and seldom exceed 30 percent. Foreign workers who are not residents will have their tax deducted from the salaries by their employers. Expats retiring to Switzerland, and not making an income, can opt for lump-sum taxation, the amount of which is negotiated based on your standard of living.

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M OV I N G

WO R K I N G

Business culture (Switzerland) Business in Switzerland is formal and punctuality is vital for meetings. Different styles vary depending on the type of business, as well as from the Swiss-French to the Swiss-German and Swiss-Italian side. For example, Swiss-Italian/French

Living

meetings frequently occur over meals while Swiss-German meetings are often brief and curt. Business suits are normal for meetings for both men and women, and handshakes are the acceptable form of greeting.

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Business hours are generally Monday to Friday from 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 6.30pm. Public holidays

E D U C AT I O N

SWITZERLAND

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c o n ta c t u s

Many public holidays are cantonal, so that each canton is free to allow them or not. You can see a full overview of the holiday system here.

New Year’s Day

2011

2012

1 Jan

1 Jan

Saint Berchtold Day

2 Jan

2 Jan

Saint Berchtold Day

2 Jan

2 Jan

Good Friday

22 Apr

6 Apr

Easter Sunday

24 Apr

8 Apr

Easter Monday

25 Apr

9 Apr

Ascension Day

2 Jun

17 May

Whit Monday

13 Jun

28 May

Corpus Christi

23 Jun

7 Jun

Swiss National Day

1 Aug

1 Aug

Assumption of Mary

15 Aug

15 Aug

St. Leodegar’s Day

2 Oct

2 Oct

All Saint’s Day

1 Nov

1 Nov

Immaculate Conception

8 Dec

8 Dec

Christmas Day

25 Dec

25 Dec

St Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day)

26 Dec

26 Dec

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M OV I N G

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Living

Living and accommodation Below you will find information about: • Accommodation

SEE AND DO

• Weather • Property and tax benefits • Distance to the ski slopes

E D U C AT I O N

• Nurseries For information about Bupa International healthcare click here.

SWITZERLAND

Accommodation Switzerland has one of Europe’s lowest rates of personal property ownership. This means that accommodation in Switzerland is rented by most people — and that equates to a general shortage of flats and high rentals for expats. By some estimates, less than 0.2 percent of Geneva’s 210,000 domiciles are available for rent. For those struggling to find a decent apartment, a good alternative to the inner-city suburbs of Geneva are the peripheral areas of Cologny, Chênes-Bougeries, Meyrin, Grand-Saconnex, Veyrier, Carouge and Lancy, all of which have decent transport into the city. Rentals run from around CHF1,000 per month for a 2-bedroom flat, with an extra amount for a parking bay. Flats tend to be well maintained and governed by a range of rules that ensure civil behaviour from neighbours. Buying a property in Geneva can be tricky as, without permanent residency, you require the authorisation of the Cantonal authority. For a complete listing of registered Geneva estate agents, call the Société des Régisseurs de Genève — 022 715 02 20.

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Living

Weather With a moderate continental climate, Geneva experiences warm to hot summers while the winter months are relatively mild with the temperatures dropping to around freezing. Expats relocating to Geneva should invest in a good umbrella as rainfall occurs throughout the year.

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Property and tax benefits by living in France? By living over the border and going home every evening, you are a frontalier for Swiss tax purposes. This means you are taxed at source on your Swiss salary by your employer. Then, as you are a French resident, you must file a French tax return to cover all your remaining income and property. See www.frontalier.com for more information.

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Distance to the ski slopes Geneva is considered to be the gateway to the Alps. You can get to the slopes of Verbier — one the very best ski areas in Switzerland — within two hours by train. Chamonix in France is just one hour away. Nurseries Geneva has excellent childcare facilities running from 7am to 6.30pm. The cost is calculated according to how much you earn. See www.genevefamille.ch for more details.

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Living

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Below you will find about: • See and do • Attractions for kids

E D U C AT I O N

• Restaurants • Shopping • Nightlife

SWITZERLAND

• Annual events See and do With historic, religious and natural attractions to discover, Geneva will provide its new residents with plenty of great activities and sightseeing opportunities. Visit the largest lake in Europe, Lake Geneva, marvel at the Jet d-Eau that shoots water high up into the air, stroll through the Jardin Anglais and have your picture taken at the Ile Rousseau monument. Culture vultures will love the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, the Barbier-Mueller Museum as well as the Museum of Art and History, while history buffs should visit the Palais des Nations (United Nations) and pass some time at the Patek Philippe Museum. Public parks: More than one quarter of Geneva is made up of public parks, so this city is a great place to get out and stretch the legs after a long day at the office. Visit Bastion Park to see the 328-foot (100m) Reformation Wall, the English Garden to see the flower clock, or Park Moynier for breathtaking views of Mont Blanc.

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St Peter’s Cathedral: First built in 1160, St Peter’s Cathedral has become an eclectic mix of architectural style over the years, featuring Romanesque, Gothic and Neoclassical styles. Climb the 157 steps that lead to the summit of the cathedral’s north tower for panoramic views over the city.

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Lake Geneva (Lac Léman): Shared by Switzerland and France, Lake Geneva attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to its shores each year. Featuring little chalet villages, it is the perfect weekend getaway for expats to come and discover one of the country’s most famed attractions. Jet d’Eau: This is the tallest fountain in the world, with water shooting 460 feet (140m) into the air at a speed of 124 miles per hour (200km/h). A great place for a romantic stroll at night, the Jet d’Eau is lit up after dark creating a magical spectacle that is not to be missed. International Red Cross and red Crescent Museum: This museum brings together sculpture, installation, photography and film to showcase and highlight the importance of human rights as well as reflecting on the work that the Red Cross has done over the years when it comes to humanitarian work with natural disasters and wars. www.micr.ch / Tel: (0)22 748 9525

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Palais des Nations (United Nations): Built between 1929 and 1937 to host the League of Nations, Palais des Nations now houses the United Nations Office at Geneva, and is the biggest UN office outside the headquarters in New York. Take a tour of the building and enjoy the peacocks who roam freely through the vast gardens. www.unog.ch / Tel: (0)22 917 4896

SEE AND DO

Plaine de Plainpalais Flea Market: This bustling flea market is a must on Tuesday and Friday mornings when fresh fruit and vegetables abound. Wednesday and Saturdays are the days to come and look for antiques, vintage clothing, clocks,

E D U C AT I O N

paintings, records and books. Place Neuve: The best access point for the Old Town, Place Neuve is home to three of the city’s performance and exhibition halls, namely the Grand Theatre (opera house), Conservatory of Music and Rath Museum.

SWITZERLAND

Barbier-Mueller Museum: Home to 7,000 artworks and artefacts from around the world, a visit to the Barbier-Mueller Museum is a must for history and culture buffs. Marvel at megalithic monuments from Indonesia, pre-Columbian art from the Americas, statues and items of worship from Oceania and ancient masks and shields from Africa. www.barbier-mueller.ch / Tel: (0)22 312 0270 Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art: Spend hours marvelling at the range of contemporary art it houses. Exhibitions are constantly changing and every four months the museum reinvents itself, making it a great place to visit more than just once. Tel: (0)22 320 6122 Attractions for kids For a lazy day with the family, pack a picnic and head to one of the city’s fabulous parks; the English Garden is a favourite with children where the flower clock will amaze young minds. During the summer months, kids can splash and cool off in the Aquaparc on the many water rides and slides. Forestland

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is also a good place for kids to let off some steam on the monkey bridges and climbing apparatus. Younger kids will love meeting their favourite farm animals at La Ferme Foraine Bonaventure, and Happyland has numerous rides and games. For something more educational, the Musée d’Histoire Naturelle is a good place to learn about the world in a fun way.

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Restaurants Geneva boasts more restaurants per capita than New York City and offers an explosion for the senses Traditional local restaurants serve Swiss fare such as fresh fish from the lake, petit salé (salt pork) and longeole (pork sausage). However, your favourite cuisine from home can also be found here. Head to the hotels on Quai Du Mont Blanc and Chemin du Petit Saconnex for some seriously mouth-watering French cuisine, while the Rue du Prieuré is home to one of the city’s most popular Indian restaurants and Boulevard Helvetique features plenty of cafés. Most restaurants include a 15% service charge on bills.

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M OV I N G

Wo r k i n g

Living

SEE AND DO

E D U C AT I O N

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Shopping Specialising in some of the world’s best chocolate, jewellery, wine and watches, Geneva is a great place to enjoy the finer things in life. However, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Look out for bargains at some of the city’s markets, such as the Kane Country Flea Market which takes place on the first weekend of every month; the clothes and book market on the Place de la Madeleine; and the Plaine de Plainpalais Flea Market where you will find everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to leather goods. The Rues Basses is where it all happens though and is considered the main shopping drag in Geneva, while Rue de la Confédération and Rue du Marché are great for clothing and La Chocolaterie Rohr on Rue du Rhone sells the city’s finest chocolates. Nightlife Geneva’s nightlife might not exactly blow your hair back, but it has its fair share of trendy pubs and bars, and even a few clubs. The Plaine de Plainpalais is a good place for the younger crowd, where student bars congregate, while the Place du Bourg de Four, near the old Town Hall is another good bet.

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Annual events International Tree and Lights Festival (November to January): Inviting artists from all over the world, the International Tree and Lights Festival sees the city’s tree-lined streets light up with breathtaking fairy lights. The walls of the city are

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also adorned with works from a multitude of artistic disciplines. Street parties, competitions and shows bring the city’s residents together in a unique celebration. Geneva Festival (July/August): Attracting thousands of people to the shores of Lake Geneva, this annual festival is a celebration of food, music, parades and fairs with a grand finale of fireworks and a celebration to rival no other in the city. Geneva Music Festival (June): The streets of Geneva are turned into a musical stage each year when the Geneva Music Festival takes place featuring performances by renowned local and international artists. With everything from classical orchestra to hard rock, the city comes to life with the sound of music.

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M OV I N G

Education and schools Swiss schools are uniformly excellent. Children are allocated places according to where the parents live, so bear this in mind when choosing accommodation in Geneva.

Wo r k i n g

The school terms run from September to December, January to March and April to June. School hours are typically from 8am to 12pm and 2pm to 6pm.

Living

Wednesday afternoons are free, but certain schools have classes on Saturday mornings. Children tend to work harder at Swiss schools, and there is plenty of homework. Tuition is in French, so it might be worth getting language lessons before arrival, or enrolling in one of the English-language

SEE AND DO

international schools. Useful links

e d u c at i o n

• Collège du Léman: www.cdl.ch • Institut Le Rosey: www.rosey.ch • International School of Geneva: www.ecolint.ch • Swiss Federation of Private Schools: www.swiss-schools.ch

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Switzerland & Geneva  

This guide offers information and advice about moving to Switzerland and Geneva. Find out about anything from tax rules and banking to educa...

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