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Dear readers, We’ve been hard at work updating our website with the single goal of simplifying your expatriation experience. No matter where you are in your journey to or from Switzerland, on you will find guides, videos and practical services for all common challenges. Find a home in Switzerland, understand how to register at your local commune, get career advice or valuable tips about what to do if or when you leave Switzerland - you will find all these and more on

Live and work in Switzerland the easy way Simplify your entire expatriation experience with

Editor, Irina Ghita

We are Hello Switzerland

Cover photo credits: Skiers in Arosa on Weisshorn mountain Š Arosa

Irina Ghita

Tonje Schou Teigland

Lukas Hayoz



Find out if Switzerland is right for you before you arrive.

Get help for every need as you relocate to Switerland.



Find out how to make the most of your stay in Switzerland.

Get expert support for your departure from Switzerland.

Mike Tomsett

Magazine Distribution: 20,000 copies throughout Switzerland

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GSTAAD IGLOO VILLAGE A UNIQUE WINTER GETAWAY Provided by: Switzerland Tourism Photo credits: © Switzerland Tourism

If you’re looking for a special experience this winter, then sleeping in an igloo checks all the right boxes. The Gstaad Igloo Village in Saanersloch is a transient work of art opened from December until April which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. An experience to try at least once in your lifetime.



Why we love it The rooms are stunningly decorated, they are true works of art sculpted in ice and snow. You’ll have the feeling you’ve landed in a spaceship-like tent. The silence and closeness to nature are other top reasons. And did we mention the jacuzzis? The romantic suite has direct access to a 40-degree whirlpool jacuzzi, but there is also an open-air jacuzzi that can be used by all guests.

What to expect The village is made up of 13 rooms and each of the beds is built on ice. Several layers of insulation ensure that sleepers stay cozy and the beds themselves don’t melt. The room temperature is around freezing point, but you won’t feel this when you’re snuggled up in your thick sleeping bags. When it comes to comfort, this igloo village has little in common with actual Inuit dwellings. Every igloo has an electric light and even a USB socket as standard.

Less known facts The entire building sinks by up to 1.5 meters during a season, which is why the installations have to be constantly checked and adjusted. From the wooden door frames, to the light switches and toilet bowls, the place needs constant attention.

Discover more spectacular winter getaways throughout Switzerland on Use this website in English to plan your perfect outing: For more travel infos and tips throughout Switzerland, please get in touch with or phone 0800 100 200 TRAVEL INSPIRATION


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Events October/November 2020 10 October

24 October

31 October

Ascona, Ticino

Tschlin, Engadin

Bonvillars, Vaud

“Castagnatas” (chestnut festivals) are celebrated throughout Ticino in October. The Chestnut Festival in Ascona is one of the most popular ones. Visitors are invited to taste over 2000 kg of chestnuts roasted on the fire as well as various chestnut-based delicacies.

The third edition of this festival taking place in beautiful Engadin promises to be interesting and cool. You’ll learn more about the three local mountain beer producers who organised the festival and taste about 25 different beers while you follow a 9km hike trail.

11–12 October

23 October–18 December

Chestnut Festival

Mountain beer festival

Bonvillars Truffle Market

Raclette & Fondue Cruise

© Switzerland Tourism/ Jan Geerk

Villages of La Gruyère

Lake Lucerne

The “Bénichon” (blessing) is a traditional popular and gastronomical festival that commemorates the end of the harvest, much like Thanksgiving. It takes place in numerous places in the French part of Switzerland and it’s your chance to try some typical Bénichon foods: the ‘Cuchaule’ bread, the saffron mustard, lamb stew with grapes, caramelised pears or smoked ham among many others.

Say cheese! Good food and great vibes make for a fantastic combination on this jovial evening cruise that showcases the very best of Swiss cuisine. Bring your friends and enjoy the fantastic views that only Lake Lucerne can offer in the late autumn and early winter.

On the last Saturday in October, the village of Bonvillars near Lake Neuchâtel holds the number one truffle market in Switzerland. A must for all foodies!

Benichon 21–23 October

Swiss City Marathon Lucerne

Another beautiful stretch to run along, the stunning Lake Lucerne. 24–25 October

Cheese festival Appenzell

Cheese tasting in one of the most traditional regions of Switzerland. The festival takes place in the Capucin Monastery in Appenzell, so it does not get any more traditional than this. 18 November

Le Petit Prince Zurich

Between 12 October and 2 December, the American Drama Group Europe (ADGE) will be on tour in various locations in Germany and Switzerland with this lovely play in English. The events above were not cancelled at the time of publication, but this may happen at any time, so please make sure you check the schedule in advance.


Here’s how ‘Women back to business’ can help Provided by: Patricia Widmer, WBB Programme Head the University of St.Gallen. There, in addition to acquiring exciting management expertise, I also received coaching, where I was able to work on my self-confidence and learn how to position myself and sell myself better. I even managed to build on my previous career and find employment at a private bank. Later I changed my profession, and now I am head of the “Women Back to Business” programme. It gives me great satisfaction to support women who want to restart their careers or reposition themselves professionally – just like I did. So I finally reached my personal goal. I can share the duties of raising my children with my husband, and I have his full support.

Patricia Widmer, Head of the “Women Back to Business” programme, wanted to reconcile career and family. She tells us here how she did it and what challenges she met. Do you know the feeling of bitter disappointment, when you are deeply convinced of something and reality proves you wrong? I do! Career and family – these two things run parallel for me; I was convinced of that. After starting my family, I wanted to gradually start back to work again, so I reduced my full-time position in a bank as Client Relationship Manager to a part-time workload for a few months. I didn’t want to concentrate only on being a mother. However, after gradually being put on the professional sidetrack, I decided to quit my job. Today I wonder, though, if I should have fought more back then.

Bye bye Switzerland Then an exciting opportunity opened up for our family: my husband was able to gain a professional foothold in the U.S. We spent a total of seven years abroad before returning to Switzerland. During this time, I was almost exclusively at home with my family, because I didn’t have a work visa in the U.S. However, I was able to gain some great experience through parttime positions in volunteer work. The adventure came to an end, when we returned to Switzerland, where I happily settled back in. Well, not quite. I felt the need to work again. This wish didn’t seem to be easy to fulfill, even though I had a good network and a great supportive environment. But this time I was going to fight for it, also in order to be a good role-model for my children.

NEXT INFO EVENTS 22 October 20 November WOMEN BACK TO BUSINESS IN A NUTSHELL This programme offers you management training in a format that can be easily integrated into your family’s schedule. Personal development modules and skills workshops will help you succeed as you relaunch your career. Several renowned Swiss companies offer returnships. If you have a university or advanced technical college degree, this is the right programme for you.

Back to Business My goal: My situation had to change! I spontaneously decided to register for the advanced studies programme “Women Back to Business” at EDUCATION


TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS MARKETS Here are some charming traditional Christmas markets that will take place this November/ December. However, since we are still going through ‘corona times’, you know the drill – any events may be cancelled with a moment’s notice. Here’s hoping for the best! 25 November – 29 November Huttwil, Bern

Nestled in the beautiful Emmental hills, Huttwil is a delightful village with a charming Christmas market. You can expect only handmade products, art, Christmas-specific goods, and culinary specialties. 25 November – 24 December Montreux

This is one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Switzerland. A big Ferris wheel, children’s workshops, the additional site in the town of Caux above Montreux and Santa’s house atop Rochers de Naye make it a very special Christmas destination.ël2020 27 November – 6 December Einsiedeln, Schwyz

Einsiedeln is known as the charming “Monastery Town” of Switzerland. Just in front of the imposing Benedictine monastery, this festive market is worth a visit, with beautifully decorated market stalls, and a huge Christmas tree. If you like nativity scenes, plan a visit to the world’s largest Christmas crib at the Diorama Bethlehem.

28 November – 29 November

19 December

Brienz, Bern

Chateau Chillon, Vaud

The market takes place on one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland. You can expect a Mini Zoo, see a woodcarver at work, crafts demonstrations, a Christmas train, musical performances, carousel, ice carving.

Only on advent weekends, this is a special medieval market and festival. You can expect medieval food, music, arts, workshops ranging from calligraphy to cooking, games, dancing, all to give you a better picture of how Christmas was celebrated in the olden days. 2 December – 3 January Stein am Rhein, Schaffhausen

Every December, this well-preserved medieval town turns into a magical place. A canopy of lights over the Rhine bridge, the illuminated castle and lovingly decorated shop windows delight visitors of all ages. A carousel, Santa Claus with his ponies, storytellers and trips on a miniature steam railway wow the young. 11–13 & 18–20 December Gruyères, Fribourg

The medieval city of Gruyères will be illuminated with a thousand lights for Christmas and provide activities for the whole family. Don’t miss the gift hunting for children aged between 2 and 12 on the last day of the Christmas market.. 11 – 13 December Murten, Fribourg

The old city of Murten/Morat provides an enchanting backdrop for the Christmas market. Beautifully decorated wooden chalets, and a sea of lights from both candles and lamps transport you from everyday life. Tasty, regional specialties and handcrafted products create is an unforgettable experience for the entire family!




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Fast track connection service even before you arrive in Switzerland Hello Switzerland is a licensed Swisscom reseller. We will connect you to Swisscom quickly and easily. Simply contact the Swiss Relocation Helpline and we will handle all the admin for you for no extra charge. What’s more, when you combine inOne mobile Go and inOne mobile Premium with inOne home (TV, internet and telephony) you benefit from CHF 20 discount per month, which means you save CHF 240 per year.

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Free glass of sparkling wine aboard Gotthard Bernina Circular Tour Experience a world of blue and white all in one day on the Gotthard Bernina Circular Tour. Explore some of Switzerland’s most scenic train rides from Zürich – Lugano – Tirano – Chur. On the Bernina Express from Tirano to Chur or vice versa you can enjoy one glass of regional sparkling wine per person with this special deal and a valid circular tour ticket.



AROSA IN WINTER YOUR PERFECT SKI HOLIDAY Skiing on Weisshorn ©Switzerland Tourism/Stephan Schacher Provided by Arosa Tourism


Arosa, in the magical region of Graubünden, has several unique advantages that make it an absolutely spectacular winter destination. If you’re looking for guaranteed snow, long hours of sunshine, fresh mountain air and a myriad of winter activities, you’ll definitely find them here.



What makes Arosa so special in Winter Guaranteed snow is simply music to any winter sports fan, but Arosa has much more than that. The landscape is impressive and wild, from gorgeous mountains to beautiful snowcovered forests. Skiers have 225km of impeccably prepared and sun-soaked slopes to ride on. Plus, there’s every imaginable winter activity available for ski-shy folks. From winter hiking, snowshoeing, ice-skating, paragliding, ice-stock shooting, curling or riding on romantic horse-drawn carriage – you won’t get bored here!

Our off-thebeaten path tip:

SPECIAL OFFERS FOR SKIERS Ski school included for kids and teens

© Stiftung Arosa Bären / VIER PFOTEN

© Arosa Tourism / Nina Mattli

The Arosa Bear Sanctuary

If you’re 17 years old and under and you’re staying for at least 2 nights at one of the participating hotels, group lessons at the Ski and Snowboard School Arosa are free of charge! Find out more and book here:

Comeback-pack offer for adults Maybe you used to ski in the past but gave it up. If you’d like to have another go at skiing, then this ‘Comeback’ pack is an excellent chance. What’s included: accommodation, professional ski instructor, ski equipment, ski pass, unlimited use of the spa if you stay in a hotel with a four-star rating or higher and finally, Saturday evening get-together with like-minded people. Find out more and book here:

This is the first bear sanctuary in Switzerland, and is a home for up to five bears rescued from poor living conditions. Take a break from snow fun and visit these wild furry beauties. Check this website for opening hours:

Read more on: For more amazing experiences in Arosa: TRAVEL INSPIRATION




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SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENTS With return opportunities

Provided by: Credit Suisse

The coronavirus lockdown showed how quickly our planet recovers from environmental impacts. However, with the lifting of the measures, the pendulum is swinging back. Why sustainable investing is important especially now – and what attractive growth opportunities sustainable funds with an ESG (environmental, social and governance) focus offer. A year full of challenges and opportunities For all of us, 2020 will linger long in the memory as the year in which everyday life was turned on its head by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the economy suffered, the environment recovered. However, experts warn that environmental pollution will return to pre-coronavirus levels within a short space of time. With the lifting of the lockdown measures, industrial production and the world economy have regained momentum. The positive side effects of the pandemic on the environment are decreasing. More and more companies are therefore working on developing long-term solutions that focus on sustainable production and conscious consumption.

Sustainable investing is gaining in popularity Investing in these solutions is very

interesting for investors. This is because the right approaches will have enormous economic influence. It is estimated that realization of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations could open up market opportunities amounting to some USD 12 trillion, while at the same time creating 380 million new jobs.

Sustainable funds are particularly stable Sustainable investments not only promise great growth potential, they also prove to be exceptionally stable compared to traditional investments. The COVID-19 era has proven this. According to the latest Global Sustainable Fund Flows report from the financial information group Morningstar, the global fund volume decreased by around 18 percent in the period from December 2019 to the end of March 2020. Meanwhile, ESG funds recorded outflows one-third lower. Sustainable investments

also proved to be robust with regard to performance: In the first semester of 2020, the MSCI World ESG Leaders Index outperformed the MSCI World Index by 0.92 percent.

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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 Š Credit Suisse AG and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.





SIS BILINGUAL COLLEGE AND SECONDARY SCHOOL: THE SKY’S THE LIMIT Unlocking Students’ Full Potential at SIS Swiss International School Provided by: Marcel Stähli, CEO of SIS Swiss International Schools Schweiz AG

SIS is a private bilingual day school committed to consistent and bilingual education from kindergarten through to secondary school and college. In addition to the Swiss bilingual Matura, students can complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. SIS also offers a bilingual secondary school programme. Combination of Swiss Matura and IB Diploma At our Bilingual Colleges at SIS Zürich and SIS Basel, we guide our students over the course of six years towards attaining the Swiss bilingual Matura and/or the internationally recognised IB Diploma. With the Swiss bilingual Matura or the IB Diploma there is no limit to the educational opportunities available to our students. “We have a solid track record placing students in the university of their choice,” explains Andrew Wulfers, Principal at SIS Basel. “Over the last few years, the success rate of our Matura graduates has been 100%,” adds Katarina Guggenbühler, Principal at SIS Zürich. The combination of Matura and IB Diploma is only offered at a handful of Swiss schools, making it one of the distinct benefits of studying at SIS.

Modern Focus Subject Options At SIS Zürich’s Bilingual College, students choose one of two specialised subject studies: “economics and law” or “philosophy, psychology, pedagogy”. At SIS Basel, students can choose one of three specialised subjects: “economics and law”, “biology and chemistry” or “physics and applications of mathematics”. The latter focus subject option was introduced this year and provides a solid foundation for studies in science, medicine or a technical direction.

education at college. Join SIS’ diverse school community of Swiss and international families and discover the benefits of bilingual education.

Bilingual Secondary School Programme As an alternative to the college path, students at SIS can continue their education after primary school with a three-year bilingual secondary school programme. At our Secondary Schools at SIS Zürich, SIS Basel, SIS Pfäffikon-Schwyz and SIS Rotkreuz-Zug, students are prepared for a demanding apprenticeship or for continuing their

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GET CONNECTED WITH THE SIS TEAM OF EDUCATORS: Marcel Stähli is the CEO of SIS Swiss International Schools Schweiz AG. SIS operates 17 bilingual, private day schools in Switzerland, Germany and Brazil with more than 3,700 students attending classes from kindergarten through to college.

Tax Support for International Residents Per Melberg, Managing Partner of Exactio Ltd and the Exactio team have decades of experience in global mobility and international tax. Do you need help filing your tax return? Or do you simply Per Helberg have questions regarding the Swiss social security and pension system? Get in touch with expert tax advisers who specialize in the complex situation of international residents in Switzerland.


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From individual to group classes, from face to face to cyber learning, Berlitz offers a wide range of flexible options catering to the needs of the busiest professionals, but also to those with more time to spare. Your lessons begin with an online survey to determine your level and language needs. The Berlitz team will help you find the right course for you, whether it is individual or group instruction, online or face to face, or a combination of these.

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Basel • Bern • Geneva • Lausanne • Zug • Zurich 27


WHY IS A THIRD PENSION PILLAR NECESSARY? Helvetia offers clarity and personal advice Switzerland’s pension system is one of the country’s outstanding features. It consists of three pillars. The first pillar – comprising old age and invalidity insurance – provides basic financial cover for all people living in Switzerland in the event of old age and incapacity to earn. However, this pension alone would never be enough to cover one’s cost of living. This is why the second pillar occupational benefits - was set up. Through second-pillar pensions savings, employers and employees contribute jointly towards the employee’s financial needs during retirement. The exact contribution varies depending on the employee’s income. In combination, the pension benefits from these two pillars should cover 60% of a person’s income and thus guarantee their livelihood. Unfortunately, this minimum level is rarely reached nowadays (for reasons worth discussing with your trusted Helvetia insurance adviser). To maintain your accustomed standard of living, you would be well advised to plan your pension such that it pays at least 80% of your former income.

The third pillar of private pension provision is designed to bridge the gap. A distinction should be made between pillar 3a, to which your contributions are tax deductible versus pillar 3b, where your provisions are not tax deductible but have other advantages (e.g. you can access the funds at any time and you can save a higher amount each year). Employed individuals with a pension fund may contribute a maximum annual amount of CHF6,826 to pillar 3a, while employed people without a pension fund may contribute 20% of their net income, up to a maximum of CHF34,128. This third pillar also serves to close income gaps in the event of death or inability to earn. The ‘inability to earn’ contributions from 1st and 2nd pillar due to illness are lower than in case of accident. Finally, the second and third pillars play an important part in the purchase of residential property, as well as other topics related to personal pension planning. It is important to understand the full implications of all pillars of your Swiss pension. The specialist advisers at Helvetia can offer you a personal consultation where they will help to set the right course for your retirement early on. Based on your pension fund statement and your income, they will discuss the current situation with you, calculate how much pension benefits you will need in the future, and assist you with putting the appropriate measures into place. This way, you

gain clarity and the certainty that your personal retirement planning is based on three stable pillars.



Michael Metry at the general agency in Rapperswil and Markus G. Senn at the general agency in Zurich are experienced insurance advisors at Helvetia Insurance. They specialize in the specific pension and insurance needs of newcomers to Switzerland. In addition to personal retirement planning they offer comprehensive advice and support in a variety of areas connected to a move to Switzerland. Helvetia is an independent Swiss insurance company that offers a wide range of insurance and retirement-related solutions in Switzerland and abroad.

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CORONA HEALTHLINE 24/7 Expert answers for all your Coronavirus related questions

The Hirslanden Corona Healthline is available 24/7, free of charge. Get answers on symptoms and where you can be tested, find out what you need to look out for if you travel (local situation and requirements, medical care in the destination country) or arrange a doctor’s appointment. You can also receive advice on flu season and flu vaccination. The Hirslanden Corona Healthline is available in English, German, French and Italian. The experts at Hirslanden are here for you!

Contact us by phone or email:

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Hello Switzerland Issue 4/2020  

This winter edition covers traditional Christmas markets, a perfect ski holiday in Arosa and the cozy Igloo Village in Gstaad. Plus, as alwa...

Hello Switzerland Issue 4/2020  

This winter edition covers traditional Christmas markets, a perfect ski holiday in Arosa and the cozy Igloo Village in Gstaad. Plus, as alwa...


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