Page 1

issue 1/2018



The num ber ­knowledg one e and inspiratio n source for Switz erlan internatio d’s na commun l ity


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The adventure of a lifetime

Meet the team



Go to for leisure and culture, what’s on and practical guides.

Stay on budget with Hello Switzerland’s price transparency.

Irina Ghita

Mike Tomsett

Tonje Schou Teigland

Lukas Hayoz

Lina Bickel

Julie Eassom

Daniela Tanner

Dear Hello Switzerland community,



We can help you find a place to call home, review your lease and ensure stressfree relocation.

From opening a bank account, to importing a car, we can help you in English (and other languages too).

In addition to numerous helpful tips meant to make your expat life easier, we’re very excited to showcase the Grand Tour of Switzerland. Fire up Spotify to start working on your road trip playlist and hit the road as soon as the mountain passes open. Have an amazing trip! As always, be sure you can reach out to us for any matters regarding moving to/living in/moving from Switzerland.



Get connected with local experts and schedule a free consultation.

Is your Swiss adventure coming to an end? Save time, stress and money and let us help you plan your next relocation abroad.

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Irina Ghita Editor

Swiss Relocation Helpline Free advice from locals +41 58 356 17 77 (regular rates) online chat:

Grand Tour of Switzerland in the Emmental, Bern. Cover Image © Martin Mägli/Switzerland Tourism





A ROAD TRIP TO (RE)DISCOVER SWITZERLAND See the sunrise on the Matterhorn once in your life. Stroll through the vineyards and the historic wine-growing villages of the Lavaux region, or conquer the cobble-stoned Tremola road on the south side of the Gotthard Pass.

The Grand Tour of Switzerland is a spectacular travelling experience – and a concentration of all things Swiss. It is, in fact, THE road trip through Switzerland. With its beauty, variety and compactness, Switzerland is the ideal travel destination for such a journey. Whether you are looking for natural beauty spots, for exciting adventures, for gourmet experiences or for urban landmarks, the Grand Tour has it all. It will make you fall in love with Switzerland. On the Grand Tour of Switzerland, the journey is the reward. This tour takes you on a trip of 1,600 kilometres through the most beautiful regions of Switzerland. You’ll see how diverse, multifaceted and spectacular our country is. Navigation is effortless, thanks to over 650 signposts along the clockwise route of the Grand Tour. Travelling clockwise is recommended due to the signage in this direction (which also simplifies driving in cities with one-way streets!).

3 ‘Grand’ Facts route covers over 1,600km, 1 The 

5 high alpine passes, and 22 lakes.

climb: Lake Maggiore at 2 Biggest 

200m altitude to the Furka Pass at 2,500m altitude!

300 charging stations 3 Eco-friendly: 

for electrical vehicles along the route.

Find more inspirational experiences and tips: or contact or phone 0800 100 200 4


Affolern in Emmental © Switzerland Tourism/Martin Maegli. Map © Switzerland Tourism/Hallway Kümmerly + Frey

This stunning photo spot is at Affoltern in Emmental

Lavaux, Lake Geneva Region Š Stephan Schacher/Switzerland Tourism

Take the Lavaux dream route and discover idyllic vineyards, picture perfect villages against the breathtaking views on Lac Leman. You can accompany a wine maker for half a day, work in the vineyards, visit the wine cellars and, of course, taste it. Cheers and bon voyage!





Viamala Gorge in Graubünden, after you have done the ‘James Bond style’ bungee jump from the Verzasca Dam. You won’t regret it!

Morcote, © Switzerland Tourism/Nico Schaerer

Lake Thun


Gotthard Pass, © Switzerland Tourism/Nico Schaerer

Lake Thun, © Switzerland Tourism/Martin Maegli

Adventure lovers: check out the

Gotthard Pass



5 CASTLES ON THE GRAND TOUR Castle: This 1 Arenenberg 

castle in Salenstein, Thurgau, is also home to the Napoleon Museum.

Castle and 2 Werdenberg 

village – first referenced in 1289 is definitely worth a visit.

Urbanites: the Grand Tour maps out the hottest neighbourhoods in major cities. Züri West is waiting for you: pay a visit to Frau Gerold’s Garten in summer and chill in the shade of its urban garden. Lorraine in Bern is full of cozy, artsy cafes. Bring your favourite book and enjoy your cappuccino.

the Middle Ages, the 3 During 

Culture enthusiasts: head to Pierre Gianadda Foundation in Martigny to see the two Rodins and a spectacular Brancusi among many others. If you need a break from conventional art, check out the Urbane Kunst association in Basel. They represent passionate street artists and organise various events and workshops.

Castle - Enjoy 1,300 4 Spiez 

Bellinzona forts formed a barricade against intruders from the north. Today UNESCO World Heritage Property, their sky-high towers and defensive walls welcome all who visit them. years of interactive history inside this wonderfully situated castle.

Castle (pictured 5 Chillon 

below) - this moated castle is the most-visited historical building in Switzerland.

Chillon Castle, © Switzerland Tourism/ Sonderegger

Truly remarkable, the Grand Tour of Switzerland takes you to the most enriching of Swiss experiences. The road trip will take you to the most impressive mountains in Switzerland as well as the trendiest big-city neighbourhoods. You’ll visit top restaurants and small, familyowned ones, and see both grand museums and urban art on street corners. Destinations are carefully chosen and are anything but standard. Take the Dream Route and prepare to be amazed!



US TAX IN SWITZERLAND I’m a US expat - what do I need to know? US taxes, Foreign Income Exclusions, Foreign Tax Credits, the IRS… I‘m in Switzerland, why do I care about my US tax filing anymore? Job accepted? Check. Apartment found? Check. Relocation finished? Check. Public transport pass purchased? Check. Settled into the expat routine? Checked and maintained. US taxes finished? Ummm... Help? Often the “big” things of the move to Switzerland are covered and handled. We settle into the routine of expat life. At first surviving, then working our way into the new culture and rhythm of expat life. Then that tricky US tax deadline suddenly appears: April 15th, the bane of green card holders and US citizens. However, as a US expatriate you have that magical extension to June 15th. A full two months to figure out what was never entirely clear while living in country: how to prepare and file your US taxes. Now how to file your US taxes from abroad. Turbotax? Maybe not this time. That small town family friend? Probably not the best choice anymore, unless he specializes in expatriate taxation. As an expatriate, your life is already complicated. Add a US tax filing requirement to that and it can quickly become a stressful headache that you may be tempted to skip, but don’t do that. As a US person, you should at least file the tax return and your FBAR, which has a whole extra set of requirements. So let’s quickly break the tax terms down. Citizenship Taxation: The United States is one of two countries in the world that taxes based on citizenship. This means that if you are a US citizen (or green card holder) you are subject to

US taxes no matter where you live in the world. The penalties for not filing can be severe, many times much higher than the taxes themselves. FEIE: Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (Form 2555). This is a beautifully legal way of removing income from your US tax return. If you are living outside the US for the full year, then you can exclude up to 102,100 USD plus some housing expenses. There are even ways to take a partial exclusion if you live outside the US for part of a year. FTC: Foreign Tax Credits (Form 1116). Sometimes it is not possible to take the FEIE for your situation. Maybe you are not outside the US long enough, maybe your move was too late in the year, or maybe you landed in a higher tax location than expected. It is possible to reduce your US taxes by using a special calculation from your Swiss tax liability and reduce dollar for dollar the taxes due on your US tax return. FBAR: Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FinCEN 114). If you have a bank account, investments, pensions, insurances, or any other financial assets located outside the US, then you could have to file a FinCEN 114. If you combine the highest balances of all of your accounts/assets located outside of the US, and the combined total is greater than 10,000 USD, then you must file this form. Luckily, there is no tax associated with this form. Unluckily, there are severe penalties for willful failure to file.

Now that you know, what do you do? Get professional advice. Not all tax advisors are created equal. You need to find a tax advisor that understands (or specializes in) US expatriate taxation for individuals. A good tax advisor will give you a consultation call and keep you compliant with both your US and Swiss tax filings. The best tax advisors will do both of these, get you the lowest tax due in both countries, and make this headache like the yearly tax check-up go away. Not something to look forward to, because you are still filing taxes, but certainly not something to be dreaded. If you are lucky, your tax situation will be simple enough to continue the filing without help.

ABOUT GORDANA MUGGLER Gordana Muggler is Head of Global Mobility and HR Services at BDO Switzerland. BDO’s experienced specialists are here to advise and support you and your family members on all aspects of international assignments, be it concerning the arrival to Switzerland or the deployment abroad, from the beginning of the preparations through to the return home.

Get connected with tax experts Quality support with personal compliance in Switzerland Swiss Relocation Helpline +41 58 356 17 77 (regular rates) online chat: 8




March - April 2018

Every Thursday in March and April

1 March – 3 June

26 March

Haute-Nendaz, Valais



Learn more about the Alphorn, the iconic Swiss instrument, and actually get to play it! Age limit: 8 years old.

During the First World War, Paul Klee experienced his artistic breakthrough, and became a cult figure among young artists. This exhibition highlights his transition to abstraction.

Enjoy this world class basketball event in Zurich.

Easter Sunday Prosecco Brunch

Let’s play Alphorn! 16 – 17 March

AndermattLive! Andermatt, Lucerne

Music and snow! This music festival includes the perfect music with an alpine feel. Both Swiss and International music. From the line-up: The Temperance Movement, Tom James, Baba Shrimps.

Klee in Wartime

21 – 25 March

The Locarno Camellia Exhibition Ticino

This event, dedicated to the beautiful flower Camellia, is the “most important event of its kind in Europe”! Admire beautiful flower arrangements and go to the flower market!

16 – 24 March

International Film Festival Fribourg


A beloved tradition in the Fribourg region, and one superb way to enjoy and discover films from Africa, Latin America and Asia in Europe. Enjoy a week of Swiss and international movies.


Toto in concert! The tour “40 trips around the sun” celebrates their 40 year anniversary as a band. Join the celebration of this legendary group!

18 March

23 – 25 March

Expat Expo

Andrew Lloyd Webber Gala


Basel, Zurich, Bern

The Expat Expo features stands and information on important goods and services targeted at English-speakers in Switzerland. A great networking opportunity with other expats!

This show will honour the great musical composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. You have perhaps heard about The Phantom of The Opera, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita? Get ready for a night full of music. 18 – 24 March

Rock the Pistes Festival Portes du Soleil, Valais

The coolest music festival of the year. An excellent musical line up and a breath-taking view. More than 35 live performances will take place, even during après-ski! 10

22 March

The Harlem Globetrotters 1 April

Restaurant Chüestall, Riederalp

Ski over the freshly prepared slopes and enter Restaurant Chüestall, where a wonderful brunch awaits.üestall 5 – 7 April

Beer Festival Zurich

Try beers, join competitions and workshops! Featuring both local breweries and international brews. 6 – 8 April

Pleasure Spring Session Laax, Graubunden

An event for snowboarders! Get the last fresh powder of the season, whether you’re a beginner or a pro. 7 April

Snowpenair Kleine Scheidegg, Bern

The festival on Kleine Scheidegg pass, offers music 2000m above sea level. Headliner: Scottish singer Amy McDonald.

THE 43RD INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL IN BERN 12 March – 19 May 2018 Jazz, Blues & Soul The International Jazz Festival in Bern is a world class jazz festival and one of the most important in the jazz trade. International musicians, including world class performers, appear at more than 200 individual concerts in the very personal space of Marians Jazzroom. The Jazz Tent also provides a platform for music students from Switzerland and New York to play on stage for the first time.

15-17 MAR

Ruthie Foster

20-24 MAR

Exclusive in Switzerland! First time appearance at the Bern Jazz Festival! RECOMMENDED

Bern The phenomenal, highly sought after guitarist and singer from Texas brings with her an enormous repertoire of blues, folk, soul and gospel.

Eddie Cotton Jr. Exclusive in Switzerland! First time appearance at the Bern Jazz Festival!

27-31 MAR

Bern Powerful mix of soulful blues, boogie, funk and R&B with the dynamic guitarist and singer from Mississippi.

Marquise Knox meets Diunna Greenleaf Exclusive in Switzerland!


© International Jazz Festival Bern

Bern The 26-year-old blues guitarist and singer Marquise Knox from Missouri is celebrated as the “future of the blues”. He meets Diunna Greenleaf (inset) this week. The native Texan with the powerful voice is one of the most enthralling blues singers of our time.

For tickets and show times, please visit: Contact infos: +41 (0)31 309 61 11 11


22 April

Classical concert

April 2018

7 – 8 April

10 – 15 April



Excitement and fun, combined with creativity. Make the medieval times come alive in Luzern. Who needs historic movies and books when you have markets like this? If you feel like dressing up, you can!

The festival hosts local talent as well as international stars. Make sure to check out the free concerts too!

Fumetto: The International Comic Festival

Medieval Market

10 April

Awolnation Lausanne

Remember a certain earworm called ‘Sail’? Awolnation is making a stop in Lausanne on their tour. Buy a ticket and enjoy some good quality alternative rock.

Blues Festival 14 – 22 April


The Fumetto festival is a very important period of the year in Lucerne: “Fumetto is an essential venue for art lovers, the platform for influential and innovative comic art.” It also features Graphic Design and Illustrations. Check it out!

We know just the thing to introduce this year’s Easter festivities. Enjoy this concert with compositions from Glinka, Mahler and Tchaïkovski. 25 – 30 April

Arvinis Wine Fair Montreux

Switzerland’s largest international wine fair! Over 5000 wines to choose from. A guest of honour is invited each year and you can also choose from different activities and workshops. Become an expert! 26 – 28 April

Beer Days Solothurn

After a long winter, 30 breweries invite you to celebrate the Swiss beer culture.

16 April

Sechseläuten: the burning Snowman

26 April – 9 May


King Arthur, or the ‘British worthy’

Will it be a hot summer? Every April locals take to the streets of Zurich and set a snowman on fire to find out. The tradition is called Sechseläuten: the name means “the bells at six” and dates from the 16th century.


Acoustic music, skiing and snowy mountains. The atmosphere of the festival is said to be legendary. Use this fabulous excuse to experience Zermatt and Matterhorn.

This ‘semi-opera’ by Henri Purcell is performed in English with English and French subtitles. It is about King Arthur’s victory and the birth of Britain.

10 – 14 April

Zermatt Unplugged Zermatt, Valais


La Chaux-de-Fonds

EVENTS EVENTS April - May 2018 continued

March - April 2018 27 April

Frida Kahlo, autoportrait d‘une femme Delémont, Jura

‘Why do I need legs, when I have wings to fly?’ A musical homage to the vital and creative force of Frida.

29 April

19 May

Murten, Fribourg


Enjoyed by all types of people, this event offers a day without motorized traffic and opens the roads for anyone keen on enjoying the picturesque view and the fun and diverse programme along the way.

The Bern Grand Prix is a racing festival and top-notch spectacle both on and off the road. In 2017 over 33,000 competitors took part in this race along the “10 most beautiful miles in the world”.

slowUp Murten

Grand Prix

EASTER EVENTS March - April 2018 10 – 11 March

Exhibition “Salon of Decorated Eggs“ Nyon, Geneva

An exhibition of beautifully decorated Easter eggs, that you can also buy. 17 March – 8 April

Easter fountains Vully, Sugiez, Fribourg

Discover the 30 decorated fountains on foot, by car or by public transport. The fountains are decorated every Easter. 18 March

Traditional Easter market Habkern, Interlaken, Bern

Is this Easter market already part of your tradition? Local products, face painting, and more. Get in the Easter mood!

29 – 30 March

2 April

Mendrisio, Ticino

Bremgarten, Zurich

The processions are an ancient tradition going back to the 17th century, and perhaps even further. The procession is a theatre featuring the inhabitants of Mendrisio who, among illuminated diagrams, reenact the passion and crucifixion of Christ.

This Easter market, with over 400 exhibitors, has invited people for almost 800 years and is among the largest markets in Switzerland. On Easter Sunday the amusement park opens!

Historical Easter processions 29 March – 1 April

Replacing the bells

Easter Market 2 April

Easter festival Crans-Montana, Valais

The bells are replaced by “tapolets”, just before Easter, a ritual that is very rare in Switzerland.

You and your children can join in on the Easter egg hunt! Maybe you will meet the Easter bunny or Bibi, the marmot. Rumour says they will be around…

Rue, Fribourg


10 GREAT FUN MUSEUMS IN AND AROUND ZURICH Switzerland has lots of fun interactive museums to entertain, delight and educate youngsters of all ages. Photos and text by Tanya Deans, Moms Tots Zurich

Here are a few of our favourites in the Zurich and Lucerne region:

Zurich region 3. Umwelt Arena: Environmental Museum for Families This giant exhibition educates you on environmental issues through dozens of eye-catching interactive exhibits.The best part is the test track!

Zurich city 5. Kulturama – Museum of Mankind Everything related to the human body, including the history of mankind, is highlighted in this creative museum, a hidden gem.

Lucerne city 1. Verkehrshaus: Museum of Transport in Lucerne All things related to transportation are showcased in this enormous interactive museum.

ABOUT TANYA DEANS Founder and editor of Moms Tots Zurich Tanya is the founder and editor of Moms Tots Zurich, a website providing detailed reviews of family friendly activities in Switzerland, particularly hikes that are suitable for all ages and abilities. Winterthur, Zurich region 2. Swiss Science Center Technorama This science and technology museum is packed full of hands-on exhibits, demonstrating a wide variety of fascinating concepts like electricity, chemistry, sound.



Zurich city 4. FIFA World Football Museum For football fans and newbies alike, this beautiful museum is filled with history and showmanship. The giant human-sized pinball arena is a hit with everyone.

Discover 5 more exciting family friendly museums on page 20




A worry free start for just CHF 90

Free relocation planning call from Hello Switzerland

1 year breakdown recovery for free from Hello Switzerland

Helvetia welcomes all newcomers with its Welcome Package, which includes all insurance products that a new arrival needs to get off to a perfect start in Switzerland. 90 days for CHF 90 and it includes all mandatory insurances required. Be well insured from day one!

Hello Switzerland offers support and guidance at every step. Our Swiss Relocation Helpline is a complimentary service, and our Helpline advisers provide expert advice for all your questions.

All Hello Switzerland readers can now take advantage of the chance to get 1 year of road side assistance membership for free! This includes 24 hour breakdown coverage, whenever or wherever you need it. TCS offers breakdown coverage on the spot. With our experienced teams providing support across Switzerland, you can be sure that help is less than 35 minutes away.

Available by contacting the Relocation Helpline

Available by contacting the Relocation Helpline

Available by contacting the Relocation Helpline

CHF 55 for 7 days of unlimited yoga

Ultra-fast internet, TV 2.0, and great mobile coverage

Volvo Cars - amazing discounts for expats

Ready to look and feel great? Yoga is a lifestyle, not just a workout. Come and join the global phenomenon in Basel. Bikram Yoga is the only place in Basel to offer Bikram Hot Yoga. We also teach other yoga classes, such as Hot Vinyasa, Yoga Flow, meditation and Pilates. Try our special deal for CHF 55, with unlimited access to all classes, 7 days in a row.

Get connected with Swisscom quickly and easily simply by contacting the Swiss Relocation Helpline. You’ll enjoy quality service from our specialist advisers, from product advice to how to switch from your existing provider. Plus, you’ll always find the latest Swisscom special offer on the Hello Switzerland website.

Looking for a new car? Look no further! Discover discounts of up to CHF 45,000 off a new Volvo thanks to Volvo’s unique Expatriate Sales Program. This deal is only available via Volvo Expat Switzerland.

Available by contacting the Relocation Helpline

Available by contacting the Relocation Helpline


We advise on moving home, the Swiss rental market, essential daily services and more. We’ll help you get the best value for money, and to plan everything properly.


Banking services free for two years*

Free tax & social security briefing

Discover Bern - 50% off Clock Tower (Zytglogge) Tour

Bonviva Banking Packages from Credit Suisse give you an immediate advantage. You receive all major banking services from a single source — at an attractive fixed price. As a Hello Switzerland customer you will get the Bonviva Silver Package for free for two years, worth CHF 360.

Your free one-hour briefing meeting with a BDO expert includes a general overview of the tax and social security system in Switzerland, and focuses on the tax & social security implications of your relocation. After the briefing, you will receive a brochure explaining the Swiss tax and social security system.

Together we’ll view the clockwork and follow the performance of the clockwork figures step by step. From inside the Clock Tower, you can follow the clock’s movements step by step, from its mechanical figures to the rooster’s famous third crow.

Available by contacting the Relocation Helpline

Available by contacting the Relocation Helpline

Simply present this voucher at the Clock Tower. Valid 1 November 2017 – 31 March 2018, tour starts at 2.30 pm

*For detailed information regarding this offer, please see the legal disclaimer p.26

Free advice The right partners The best deals Affordable storage options starting at just CHF 25 per month Are you relocating, fixing water damage, renovating your home or looking to gain valuable living space? Packimpex offers secure rental storage options in Bösingen (Bern area) starting at CHF25 per month, when you book a minimum of 3 months!

Available by contacting the Relocation Helpline

Night skiing in St-Cergue and Fondue, all for CHF 33! During the winter season, until 30 March, enjoy night skiing on the 3 slopes of the village of St-Cergue. Then eat a fondue in one of our partner restaurants! From Tuesday to Saturday, 6 pm to 9.30 pm.


Swiss Relocation Helpline

Free advice from locals

Call: +41 58 356 17 77 (regular rates) Skype: helloswitzerland.helpline (free) Mail: Web: Chat with us online! 17



Vevey VISIONAPARTMENTS has fully renovated an entire property, previously named “Hotel de Familie”. Next to the restaurant, guests can also take advantage of the spa area, which includes a swimming pool and a sauna, located directly in the building.

Frankfurt 130 residential units, shared offices and a welcoming café have been established in the heart of the city. Starting from a price of EUR 990 per month, tenants can choose freely from a variety of different floor plans. Whatever the purpose of the guests’ stay, the prime locations of VISIONAPARTMENTS ensure easy access to all key amenities, including transportation, restaurants, businesses and many more.

The Swiss market leader in the serviced apartment sector is reinforcing its presence in Switzerland and Germany by offering its clients brand-new and fully furnished apartments. VISIONAPARTMENTS specializes in renting out furnished apartments with service and style since 1999. The company is gradually expanding both in the domestic market and abroad, currently offering over 1,500 apartments in Europe’s most vibrant cities. With its latest openings, the company is not only extending its portfolio by one third, it is also focusing on the “sharing economy” concept. “As a further step in our efforts to continue with the 18


innovative expansion of our services, some of the new VISIONAPARTMENTS locations also offer shared offices, fitness-and wellness areas, and gastro services,” comments Anja Graf, CEO of VISIONAPARTMENTS.

Zug 54 centrally located studios in various categories are the ideal choice for business travellers. Furnished in a Greek or South African style and fitted with first-class design elements, these living units are extremely comfortable.

ABOUT CHRISTIAN POLSTER Christian works as a Global Sales Manager with VISIONAPARTMENTS in Zurich. He will be happy to assist you and help you find an apartment that suits your needs.

Lausanne St. Sulpice In addition to stylish accommodations, the newly opened location offers shared offices, conference rooms and a fitness centre. These premises can also be booked and used by non-residents.

Talstrasse 62, CH-8001 Zurich T +41 44 248 34 17


10 GREAT FUN MUSEUMS IN AND AROUND ZURICH (continued from page 14) Switzerland has lots of fun interactive museums to entertain, delight and educate youngsters of all ages. Photos and text by Tanya Deans, Moms Tots Zurich

Here are a few of our favourites in the Zurich and Lucerne region: castle’s history, often accompanied by multi-media displays. Once the kids get restless, head to the huge playroom on the upper floor with dress-up clothes, props, and crafting area for the little kings, queens and knights to indulge their imaginations.

Aathal, Zurich region 8. Dinosaur Museum Aathal Life size replicas of the scariest dinosaurs and fantastic fossils fill this museum, taking kids back in time to when monsters ruled the earth. There are handson activities for the kids and lots of information to absorb, both in video and written form. Zurich city 10. Zurich Zoological Museum This free museum hosted by the University of Zurich is filled with hundreds of inanimate animals in glass cases, showcasing the bewildering variety and beauty of life on Earth. Many multimedia displays are found throughout the museum, as well as a few interactive hands-on activities. Parents love that kids can safely run around without the staff having a panic.

Lenzburg, Zurich region 7. Lenzburg Castle For a historical perspective and a little role play, Lenzburg Castle is a perfect fit for the family. There are many rooms set up with vintage furniture and artifacts, illustrating different periods of the 20


Volketswil, Zurich region 9. Kindercity – Children’s Museum Kids love this completely hands-on children’s “museum,” where they can touch and play with everything in sight and even learn a bit. Exhibits change occasionally, but generally focus on

For more detailed reviews and more indoor options for families, visit

Photo credit: Saurier Museum Aathal

Hergiswil, Lucerne region 6. Glasi Hergiswil - Glass Factory & Museum Learn about and watch glass making at this working factory that also has an interesting multi-media tour about the history of glass making, particularly in the Lucerne area. Get lost in the glass labyrinth and make some noise with the glass instruments.

tactile and sensory activities and games with a light focus on science and technology concepts. Parents can easily chat, while even small kids run around safely exploring the environment.


BECOMING DIGITALLY LITERATE: IT FOR KINDERGARTEN AND PRIMARY SCHOOL Introducing the SIS IT Curriculum Provided by: Andrea Furgler, CEO of SIS Swiss International Schools Schweiz AG

ABOUT ANDREA FURGLER Andrea Furgler is the CEO of Swiss International Schools Schweiz AG. SIS operates 16 bilingual, private day schools in Switzerland, Germany and Brazil with more than 3,600 students attending classes from kindergarten through to college.

SIS Swiss International Schools teach new IT curriculum at all eight SIS schools. Four strands of information technology

Photo: Š SIS Swiss International School

IT is rapidly advancing, with the digital world having become an integral part of our daily lives. In order to structurally equip students with the necessary skills in this forward-looking field, SIS has developed an own IT curriculum. It is founded on four strands, i.e. digital technology, programming, media, communication and e-safety. It will be implemented at all SIS schools in kindergarten and primary school as of now, involving work with tablets, laptops and robots.

Of Bee-Bots and Blue-Bots The new curriculum seeks to empower students to create high quality products and develop computational thinking. Furthermore, it encourages students to become creative, safe, responsible and critical users of information technology. In the strand of programming, students will learn how to program computers and robots. Bee-Bots and Blue-Bots, small, exciting and easy-to-operate robots, allow children as early as in kindergarten to acquire IT knowledge in a fun and playful manner.

Investing in the future In short, the IT curriculum aims to develop students’ understanding and ability to assess the opportunities and risks of the digital world. In order to successfully introduce the new

Discover more articles by SIS Swiss International School at: curriculum, SIS has invested in new infrastructure and in thorough training of its teaching staff. As such, SIS is confident to thereby step and most importantly, invest in the future: our children.

Let us search for your perfect international school Swiss Relocation Helpline +41 58 356 17 77 (regular rates) online chat: CHILDREN & FAMILY



SWISSCOM by HELLO SWITZERLAND: HELPING YOU MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICES Fast, uncomplicated, expat friendly: that’s the essence of our new Swisscom activation service Regardless if you’re still abroad or already here, you’ll order your preferred Swisscom products simply and easily from Hello Switzerland by telephone or email. Not sure which Swisscom products to choose? We’ll guide you and configure the best service package for your needs. • For newcomers, the major benefit is that by contacting Hello Switzerland you can start the telecoms connection process even before you relocate to Switzerland.



• For residents, it’s simply the easiest way to upgrade to Swisscom. • For those who have decided to leave Switzerland, especially earlier than planned, Hello Switzerland can help you terminate your contract earlier than the official exit date without having to pay a penalty fee. Hello Switzerland’s dedicated team handles all the admin for you, so you have one less thing to worry about. There are no additional costs, just a great free service.

© Swisscom

Hello Switzerland is proud to announce a service to connect international people to Swisscom in the fastest, simplest, most efficient way possible.

Overheard from our Swisscom client community:

“It was really like wow-fast, one day I called and 2 days later I had the contract. You just need to know your address and they take it from there.” Dan (37), Basel, Auditor from the UK

“It is really great to come to an empty house, but have internet. I could actually do without having a bed, but give me my internet and give it to me now. They totally delivered, Hello Switzerland and Swisscom together, I mean.” Cris (40), Zurich, IT Manager from Germany

“I totally recommend going through Hello Switzerland, it’s fast and less paperwork. You can do everything remotely, it’s like you have a VIP concierge service for free. Who would NOT want that?” Elise (29), Geneva, Communications Specialist from France

BENEFITS OF BEING CONNECTED VIA HELLO SWITZERLAND IMMEDIATELY ON ARRIVAL IN SWITZERLAND You are consulted by Hello Switzerland’s professional advisers. We deal with new arrivals on a daily basis. We understand your needs.

You are staying connected. This is vital as you arrive in Switzerland: You will not miss a day without being able to reach out to loved ones

Thanks to Hello Switzerland’s Your home office is up and expertise, you have one less running thing to worry about and are free to focus on the other aspects Your children can stay up to speed with their online lessons of relocating and settling in. You are sure to receive the highest quality service from Swisscom, Switzerland’s telecom and TV market leader.

LEADING TELECOMS & TV PRODUCTS With Swisscom you are guaranteed the best in all things telecom:

• Ultra-fast home internet

connection, with fiber optics to the home available in most cities  • The mobile network with the best coverage • The most generous TV offer, with more than 300 channels in three dozen languages. No other digital TV provider is as expat friendly as Swisscom, with features like voice search in English and English subtitles to shows in German. • inOne packages that are easy to understand and that you can customize at any time, according to your current needs. • Leading customer service • Highly responsive technical support  • Multilingual service and high proficiency in English. Contracts, monthly statements, technical support and after care services are all provided in English, in addition to German, French and Italian.

ABOUT SWISSCOM Swisscom is Switzerland’s leading telecom provider and one of its foremost IT companies. Swisscom focuses on great service and quality, investing massively in the networks of the future.

You can connect with home immediately on arrival without expensive roaming costs.

Swisscom by Hello Switzerland Helping you make the right choices To order Swisscom or find out more: +41 58 356 17 77 (regular rates)



CANCER IS NO LONGER AN ILLNESS YOU HAVE TO TACKLE ALONE Getting ill in a foreign country is stressful enough without the language barrier many people face when looking for support during treatment and recovery. Provided by: Natasha Scott, Communications Coordinator for the English Speaking Cancer Association (ESCA).

NATASHA SCOTT Natasha Scott is Communications Coordinator for the English Speaking Cancer Association (ESCA).

Perhaps it wasn’t phrased this way. Perhaps it was supposed to be a routine check-up. Even if you suspected something, a cancer diagnosis can trigger overwhelming thoughts about your survival, family, finances, lifestyle, and even your appearance. How much treatment will you need? How long will it be? And what about the pain? “Could you repeat that, in English?” In the 1990s an American named William Faulkner faced this issue and, struggling to find help in English, initiated an organization known today as the English Speaking Cancer Association (ESCA). Situated in Geneva and also servicing the surrounding regions, ESCA provides support in English for people with cancer and their caregivers. A cancer diagnosis affects everyone differently, so access to holistic services is important. Operated mainly by volunteers, ESCA has programs for both the physical challenges and the 24

COMMUNIT Y SUPPORT emotional impact a diagnosis can have on patients and family.

Practical Information On the third floor of the Ecumenical building in Geneva, a Drop-in Centre welcomes everyone. Settling in with a coffee or a tea, visitors can peruse a variety of books and brochures on cancer-related issues that include coping techniques, treatments, personal journeys, exercise and bereavement.

Physical Assistance Cancer treatments can be brutal. They affect not just the patient but the whole family. Peer supporters - individuals experienced with cancer - can help with tasks such as shopping, childcare, and transportation. They can assist in doctor-patient visits, French-to-English translations, and offer caregivers respite so that the focus remains on health, of everyone.

Mind, Body, and Beauty ESCA has professional counsellors that provide support for patients and family

Ecumenical Centre, 3rd Floor route des Morillons 1 1218 Le Grand-Saconnex Geneva

members. Mindfulness, fitness, and art classes led by specialists are offered to address anxiety and encourage healing. ESCA hosts a monthly Bosom Pals coffee morning for women who have had or are dealing with breast cancer, and once a year ESCA has a Look Good Feel Better event to help women combat the physical side effects of cancer treatment.

Cancer Support Network The unpredictability of cancer–when it occurs, where it occurs, and to whom it occurs–does not stop it from being a disease that can touch the life of everyone. Having a strong cancer support network in a diverse community like Switzerland is an important and humane step in the treatment of this disease. Thanks to community donations and fundraisers like Paddle for Cancer, ESCA services are free.

Photos: © Susie Spring

“Vous avez un cancer.”


SWISS SOCIAL INSURANCE AND PENSION PROVISION How can I avoid gaps in cover? What happens to your social insurance cover when you move to Switzerland? How can any gaps be identified and closed? To make sure they have the financial security they need if worst comes to worst, expats should carefully review these questions with the help of a competent expert. accumulated. This is where older expats in particular have substantial gaps in provision. To bridge these gaps, it is advisable to have ‘third pillar’ private pension provision. Combined with risk insurance, this type of solution also provides cover against the financial consequences of disability or death. The government promotes this pension solution by providing tax concessions. Not all expats are sent to Switzerland by their employer. Most give up their contract of employment in their home country and are therefore no longer covered by the social security system there. Adriano Signorello and Sanela Junuzovic recommend looking into any gaps in pension provision as soon as possible. The two expat specialists at the Helvetia General Agency in Basel particularly single out the financial risks associated with incapacity, death and old age. Within the first six months of arriving in Switzerland, expats should ensure they have adequate cover not just for themselves, but also for their partners and children. Home country benefits will normally be significantly reduced after this six-month period, if not sooner.

Essential points to consider Swiss benefits are only available after certain qualifying periods. For example, Federal Old Age and Survivors Insurance (AHV/AVS) and Disability Insurance (IV/AI), known together as the ‘first pillar’, only pay pensions after one full year of contributions. Retirement benefits under ‘second pillar’ occupational pension schemes are usually determined by the amount of retirement savings the individual has

The following points should be considered in all cases: 1st pillar: Unmarried partners of expats do not receive any benefits under the AHV/AVS, IV/AI, or accident insurance schemes. In addition, minimum contributions to the AHV-IV/ AVS-AI schemes also have to be paid for children over 20. Those with short contribution records only qualify for minimal pensions.

CONNECT WITH SPECIALIST ADVISORS Adriano Signorello and Sanela Junuzovic are insurance and pension advisors. They work at Helvetia’s Basel general agency and specialize in advising expats.

SANELA JUNUZOVIC +41 58 280 87 44

ADRIANO SIGNORELLO +41 58 280 64 36

2nd pillar: An expat’s pension fund will only pay benefits to an unmarried partner subject to certain preconditions. Check whether a disability pension would be calculated on the basis of your current salary or your accumulated pension savings. 3rd pillar: Free choice of beneficiary with pure life or disability insurance under non-tied pension provision (3b). Tax rebates for paying into tied pension provision for old age or home ownership. Carry out a professional analysis of your pension situation in the event of death or invalidity. You will need the relevant social insurance and pension fund documents, including the regulations for the employed person.

Helvetia Insurance has been one of Switzerland’s leading insurance companies for over 150 years. Helvetia offers customized solutions for a wide variety of insurance needs including private pensions or occupational benefits, indemnity insurance and mortgages.

Find out more here:




INCREASE YOUR POTENTIAL RETURNS Securities investments increase the potential returns compared to savings accounts in Pillar 3a, and offer numerous tax advantages. Low interest rates and increasing life expectancy pose a challenge to the Swiss pension system. Given the current environment, it is all the more important to save through a private pension scheme as well as through the first and second pillars. Pillar 3a provides the perfect solution for this. There are tax advantages for anyone saving through Pillar 3a.

Investment Solutions with a 75 Percent Equity Holding Credit Suisse’s newest pension products comprise one actively managed and one indexed investment group, both with an equity holding of 75 percent. Both products meet an important client need and offer considerably higher potential returns than a traditional pension account.

Various Solutions for Different Risk Profiles and Investment Horizons If you save in Pillar 3a, you will benefit from a preferential interest rate, although it is currently below one percent. The potential returns are better with securities investments. Investing in securities means you take part in the development of the financial market and can expect higher income in the long term.

The risk profile and investment horizon are pivotal factors when choosing a suitable investment group. For equity holdings of 25 percent, a minimum of five years is recommended; for holdings of 45 percent, the recommendation is eight years. For investors with an increased risk tolerance and a longer investment horizon of at least ten years, an equity holding of 75 percent is recommended.

For more information visit

Do the Math Now! Take advantage of Credit Suisse’s pension calculators. The “Pillar 3a: Build wealth” calculator illustrates the effect of interest rates on your Pillar 3a savings. Legal Notice: The reader acknowledges that the information provided in this publication is only intended for distribution and use by persons who are residents of Switzerland. In particular, it is not directed at, or intended for distribution to or use by or for the offer or solicitation of any products or services directed to any person or entity who is a citizen or resident of or located in any jurisdiction where such distribution, publication, availability, use, offer or solicitation would be contrary to applicable law or regulation or which would subject Credit Suisse to any registration or licensing requirement within such jurisdiction. Credit Suisse will not treat readers of this publication as its clients by virtue of them accessing it. Readers of this publication should seek the advice of their independent financial advisor prior to taking any investment decision on the basis of any information contained herein and no information herein constitutes general or specific investment, legal, tax or accounting advice of any kind, it is solely for marketing purposes. Copyright © Credit Suisse AG and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. 26




CANTON OF BERN: OPEN DOORS FOR INNOVATION Provided by: Etienne Maillefer, Senior Project Manager of Bern Economic Development Agency

How is it that Empa didn’t promote these solutions themselves?

How does a New Yorker from Troy, NY become a company owner in Switzerland? Find out in the interview with Edin Balic (38) about his path from being a scientist to becoming the founder of a high-tech company. Edin Balic, I guess becoming a start-up owner in Switzerland wasn’t a childhood dream of yours? No, it wasn’t. When I came to Switzerland in 2008, I thought it would only be for two years. Now, almost ten years later, I’m still here, married with three kids.

What brought you to Switzerland in the first place? At a conference, I met a guy from Switzerland. He told me to give him a call for a job once I had graduated. Which I did and was hired within two weeks as a scientist at Empa, a top notch Swiss research institute. There I synthesized two coating systems that caught the industry’s attention. Empa then supported me towards opening my own company and industrializing these 28


Unfortunately that’s not Empa’s mission, they rely on start-ups and other means of technology transfer, but they do not get on the market themselves. After my invention and business idea passed the required evaluations, they did give me the Empa label which is a marketing tool like a pedigree of research and technological excellence. After, I joined the rich start-up eco-system in the Canton of Bern. I first received support from be-advanced, an organization that guides young start-ups while they are not yet standing firmly on their feet. The Foundation for Technological Innovation (FIT) also provided generous financial support.

Now you are based in one of the most prestigious innovation incubators in Switzerland: the Swiss Innovation Park in Biel/ Bienne. The SIP provided me with the infrastructure I needed and they offer much more: every week there are at least two or three networking events, they support the acquisition of research funding and help in identifying the right marketing partners.

How much support did you receive from the Canton of Bern? The Canton of Bern in particular and Switzerland in general have a great support system for start-ups. I have never encountered a closed door: there are a lot of experienced people here that one can easily reach. I benefited from counseling, networking and funding.

The Switzerland Innovation Park in Biel/Bienne supports and encourages businesses and innovation teams. It provides infrastructure, research services and supports SMEs and start-ups, helping them to develop and create marketable products.

ABOUT ETIENNE MAILLEFER Etienne Maillefer of the Bern Economic Development Agency supports innovative companies to grow their business in Canton Bern.

If you are a start-up or an established company looking to locate to the Canton of Bern and grow your business, the Bern Economic Development Agency (BEDA) is your one-stop shop. We provide you with initial advice and expert support, put you in touch with the right departments and provide you with many useful contacts – all completely free of charge. +41 31 636 04 65


solutions. Now I’m the owner of SwiSS-9. We develop and commercialize wetcoating for glass surfaces which makes them easy-to-clean, anti-bacterial and protects them against corrosion.

THE STAIRCASE TO HEAVEN Integrating staircase training into your daily fitness programme Dear readers, Now that spring is here, and the days are becoming longer and brighter, you can see them again out on the streets – the joggers. I find it great how many joggers have made this training a fixed part of their exercise routine. In this article, I would like to show you a very time-efficient change to your normal training, which I personally always use as a new training stimulus during my fitness sessions. I would encourage you to move your jogging training to a staircase.

This is how to design to staircase workout: • Look for a long staircase with a total of at least 100 stair steps. You would need about 30 – 60 seconds to climb the whole staircase in one sprint. In Zurich, I warmly recommend the steps up to the Enge Church. • Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes in a loose jogging tempo before starting your first climb.

• Now sprint up the stairs as quickly as possible and take it step by step. Take very rapid, small steps with a high cadence. Explosiveness and action are very important during this exercise. Once up, your pulse will be significantly increased. Now take a break of 30-60 seconds. Then run down the stairs at a loose pace. Alternatively, you can also use the walk back down as a break time. • Concentrate before you start your second climb! It is important to be well coordinated, despite your high speed. Otherwise, there may be a painful misstep. • Beginners can run up the steps 3 to 5 times, depending on the length of the stairs. They would need to allow for sufficient recovery. The more advanced can add up to 10 climbs to their work out regime. It is important you remain consistent with your speed, even towards the end of the exercise. • Once you become familiar with the staircase, you can vary the step or jump technique with each ascent. For example, you can take 2 stairs at a time, or use jumps to climb 2 to 3 stairs or make smaller jumps. Here you can add new stimuli depending on your skill and fitness level.

ABOUT JONAS CATLISCH Jonas Caflisch, resident fitness expert at Hello Switzerland, is a certified sports instructor (D-HEST ETH Zurich). Jonas is the founder of the INDIGO Fitness Club which has locations in Basel, Lucerne, Zug, Zurich and Geneva.

Staircase work outs help to improve your speed, your running technique and coordination, and of course your endurance thanks to the intensive interval training. What’s more, it’s good for your bones! The staircase to fitness heaven is waiting for you! Have fun!

Photos: © INDIGO Fitness

Get fit with Indigo Fitness You will find Indigo in Basel, Geneva, Lucerne, Zug and Zurich. Enjoy the state of art equipment, the dedicated trainers and the luxurious ambiance LIVING WELL IN SWITZERL AND


FREE 1 YEAR ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE A HELLO SWITZERLAND SPECIAL OFFER 8 reasons to join TCS As a Touring Club of Switzerland (TCS) member, you can rely on 24/7 breakdown assistance and roadside recovery 365 days a year, rain, snow or shine. With over 620 roadside patrols and partner garages, you can be sure that you’re covered in the case of a roadside emergency. Your membership protects you in any vehicle you drive, both cars and motorbikes, and comes with many advantages:

1. 2. 3. 4.

Quick response & 24hr breakdown assistance TCS patrols are there for you 24/7, all year round, with an average waiting time of 35 minutes. No matter the make, engine or type of vehicle, our experts know how to get you back on the road.

220 patrol members handle around 280,000 assignments every year. They know what they’re doing! Members enjoy special discounts: • Discount of up to 25% on cable cars and mountain railways • 2.5 cent savings per liter of fuel at BP • 2% fuel discount at Tamoil • Save up to CHF 100 at Adam Touring and Premio when purchasing four tires

5. 6.

Protection for the whole family With TCS, you don’t need to worry about your family members driving your vehicle. Family members in your household can get coverage for driving a vehicle registered to the policyholder.

Services Before you leave on a road trip, or at the onset of winter, your vehicle will be checked by experts at one of the 19 TCS technical centers at a favorable membership price.

7. 8.

Peace of mind Did you lock your key in the car? Have you run out of petrol? There’s no need to worry about these little problems — the TCS patrol will come to your rescue (even if you might be at fault).

Safe travels guaranteed In 8 out of 10 breakdowns your vehicle will be repaired on the spot. If your vehicle cannot be repaired straight away, we will arrange for a comfortable onward journey.

With over 1.5 million members, you can trust Switzerland’s #1 breakdown assistance.

Swiss Relocation Helpline +41 58 356 17 77 (regular rates) online chat:



Photo: © TCS

Free 1 year breakdown recovery service for Hello Switzerland readers


Adriano Signorello, Insurance Expert

Get important information on insurance and health insurance in Switzerland.

Adjusting to a new country can be a challenging process. I will be glad to offer my assistance! My name is Antonia Frei and I am a trained psychologist and mediator with a vast international experience.

Hosted by Hello Switzerland and insurance specialists from Helvetia, you’ll learn the facts about Swiss insurance. A short presentation by an expert will be followed by a convivial networking apÊro where you can ask questions.

I specialize in solutionoriented counseling and conflict management. I also offer job coaching and personal development courses.

18:30 - 19 April 2019 - Basel City Centre

All my services are provided in English, German, French, Spanish and Romanian.

Register now at:

Get an appointment today! Tel: +41 (0)76 44 55 935 | Praxis Bern Breitenrainplatz 36, 3014 Bern



Hello Switzerland issue 1/2018  

The perfect magazine for Switzerland's international community. Read articles that contain important and useful information about topics suc...

Hello Switzerland issue 1/2018  

The perfect magazine for Switzerland's international community. Read articles that contain important and useful information about topics suc...