Switzerland

Switzerland

Etymology

The English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, an obsolete term for the Swiss, which was in use during the 16th to 19th centuries. The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse, also in use since the 16th century. The name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, one of the Waldstätten cantons which formed the nucleus of the Old Swiss Confederacy. The Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for “Confederates”, Eidgenossen (literally: comrades by oath), used since the 14th century. The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from Latin Confoederatio Helvetica (English: Helvetic Confederation). [wikipedia]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

Basel Outdoor – This is a group for anyone interested in Outdoor activities all year round! During summer the focus will be on hiking and cycling, during winter on skiing / snowboarding or snow hiking. Through the activities participants get the opportunity to meet new people or just have a good time. [meetup]

Basel Photography Meetup BPM – BPM the Basel Photography Meetup group is aimed at everyone who loves photography. People of all nationalities and languages are welcome, whether living in Basel or just passing through. [meetup]

Bern Love for Life Meetup – If you are looking for fun activities and fun people, if you are looking to make new friends, if you would like to be involved in or come up with new projects, if you want a good laughter and a glass of good wine after a long day of work, come join us! [meetup]

Coaching Meetup Group – Switzerland – This group was created as a meeting point for people interested in various types of coaching, personal development and life transformation in general. [meetup]

Die Berner Spielgruppe – Welcome to the Berner Spielegruppe. We are a community that is regular for playing board games or card games of all kinds in a picket or at someone’s home meeting. The group size varies depending on the occasion and the game between 3-12 person. [meetup]

Digital Strategy and UX meetup Geneva – I believe digital strategy and user experience design are closely related. The scope and tools are different, but the thinking is the same. Both are a user-centered, task-driven planning of pathways. Whether it’s done for a website, an app or for all digital properties of a company, is just a question of scale. [meetup]

Freelancelife – Just started your own business? Working from home? Want to network and share ideas with others in the same situation? Me too! Hoorah! This group is for anyone who freelances, is a consultant, owns a small business, is thinking about starting their own business and would like to share their expertise with others in a social situation. [meetup]

hackuarium – Anyone interested in DIYBio, Biohacking or Biology should not miss the OpenHackuarium nights! No matter who you are or what your background, anybody can come, as long as you are cool and curious. [meetup]

LetsMeet – Single Network & Events – Do you fancy meeting other singles in an informal, casual setting? Are you a young professional who often does not have the time or energy to deal with matchmaking and online dating sites? Then you are in the right place. [meetup]

Living Room Concerts Zurich – Enjoy music so intimate like you will never expirience at a regular concert!You have the chance to explore new music from talented street musicans with the atmosphere like it was in your own living room. [meetup]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date

eDarling.ch (Targeted towards age 35+) – If you live in Switzerland and are over the age of 35, then eDarling.ch is the best dating website for you. If you are younger than 35, then continue on to the #2 site below. The eDarling brand is widely considered Europe’s most important dating brand. eDarling.ch is a personality-test dating website for people who live in Switzerland. The site is operated and owned by the same people who run EliteSingles. Both of these websites have similar features and design. [visahunter]

LoveScout24.ch – LoveScout24.ch is the best online dating site in Switzerland (This site rocks in Germany as well!). If you have time to sign up for only one online dating site in Switzerland, this would be the one that I would recommend. LoveScout24 used to be known as People United way back in 1997 but was grown over the course of several years. [visahunter]

Meetic.ch – Founded in 2001 and based in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, Meetic.ch is the second best online dating site in Switzerland. From its humble beginnings, it has grown into the largest online dating site in Europe (source: JupiterResearch). Following the acquisition of Match.com’s European operations, the site exploded in popularity and has millions of members all across the EU. With that said, If you are intending to go to Switzerland or live there for any significant period of time (and you are single), sign up for Meetic.ch. [visahunter]

Parship.ch – Parship.ch is the Swiss version of the popular Parship dating brand. Parship became a part of the online dating world in 2001 when they launched their service in Germany. The following year they expanded their website to other countries, including France, Italy, Sweden and the UK. What separates Parship from many of its competitors is that they take a serious approach to dating, complete with an elaborately-designed matching system. Signing up requires more than just filling out a profile and uploading a photo. You will need to take a rather long personality test, which will determine your matches. [visahunter]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Free Walk Lausanna – Discover Lausanne through the eyes of a local. [free walk]

Free Walk Switzerland – Free Walk Switzerland is the nonprofit umbrella organisation of the free walking tours associations across Switzerland. [free walk]

Free Walk Zurich- Switzerland – Explore Zurich, Switzerland’s little big multicultural city. Discover how a small city founded during the Roman times became today’s discreet financial empire. Learn about its religious heritage, its episodes of turmoil and about the challenges and major changes Zurich is facing today. [free tours network]

Free Walking Tours Bern – With “Free Walking Tours Bern” you will visit the most important sights of the city, you will discover different areas and learn about historical facts as well as legends and myths of the City. [free walking tours bern]

Free Walking Tour of Geneva – The best way to experience Geneva Switzerland is on foot.  The city is easy to explore using our complimentary mobile “app” in conjunction with the city’s free municipal Wi-Fi network. [switzerland-geneva]

Tours By Locals – Sitting astride the Rhine River near the French and German borders in Northwest Switzerland, the city of Basel boasts a beautiful historic core and the country’s highest concentration of galleries and museums. A local guide is waiting to explore the city’s past and present with you on a private Basel tour. [tours by locals]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Aare outdoor baths – The outdoor baths at Marzili, in the shadow of the grand parliament building, are among the oldest in the country, and free to use [timeout]

Bains des Pâquis – Get under the skin of Geneva at this popular open air swimming spot in the centre of town. [timeout]

Bateau Lavoir – Get on board this distinctive little bar moored on the river. [timeout]

Bellerive Plage – This 1930s open-air pool and leisure centre is eternally popular on a hot summer’s day. [timeout]

CGN Lausanne-Ouchy – Make like it’s the seaside and take a ferry from Lausanne around Lake Geneva. [timeout]

Dolder Sports – Cool off this summer high above central Zurich in the Dolder swimming pool. [timeout]

E-bike hire – These electrically-assisted bikes can be rented at the rail station and are a nippy way to get around town or explore more of the region’s lush countryside. [timeout]

El Mojito – El Mojito Tropical Lounge is a throbbing summertime cocktail bar-cum-beach shack on a lakeside jetty. [timeout]

Flussbad Oberer Letten – Flussbad Oberer Letten is a hang-out for Zurich hipsters. There’s much more to do here besides swimming, but do ensure your body’s in shape. [timeout]

Freestyle Academy – This indoor freestyle park is a must-do for snowboarders, freeskiers, skaters, climbers and bike riders. [timeout]

Gurten – Take a break from city life at this easily-accessible outdoor playground. [timeout]

Jet d’eau – The symbol of Geneva is ripe for a photo opportunity. [timeout]

Lac de Joux – Appreciate the great outdoors at this lovely lake in the Jura, which becomes Europe’s largest natural ice rink in winter. [timeout]

Lausanne PubliBike station – Short-hop bike hire on demand. [timeout]

Le Deck – You’ll never get bored of the view from this panoramic bar. [timeout]

Limmat-Schifffahrt Boat Trip – The flat boats with their panoramic glass roofs offer a view of the city from below. Arrive early for embarkation, because the departure point can be crowded. [timeout]

Marchés folkloriques de Vevey – Vevey gets into the spirit of things with its summer folk market. [timeout]

Monte San Salvatore – At 912m and popular with climbers, dramatic Monte San Salvatore looms above the city, one side forest, the other sheer rock face. [timeout]

Paddleboard on Lake Geneva – Hawaii’s current craze for stand-up paddleboarding comes to Lake Geneva. [timeout]

Pedalos on Zurich Lake – Grab a pedalo and hit the waves of Lake Zurich for a decent work out and getting stunning views of the city. [timeout]

Restaurant Seerose – A meeting place for the well-heeled, Seerose’s outdoor bar and restaurant has an air of the Mediterranean. [timeout]

Rhine river cruises – The mighty Rhine river is the heart of Basel, so why not enjoy a cruise as you glide along the picturesque Swiss scenery and treat yourself to some onboard entertainment. Cruises vary in duration and distance according to operators, but one popular option is a two hour tour of the town and harbour, passing through the old town, Basel Minister, and ending up at Basel harbour. [timeout]

Rimini – When it comes to a pool-party venue, Rimini is a bar that excels in chilled-backed atmosphere. With tropical foilage, oriental cushions and exotic cocktails, you could be forgiven for forgetting that you’re only a few miles away from the Alps in this bohemian paradise. [timeout]

Seebad Enge – Seebad Enge offers more than swimming. There’s swim coaches, yoga classes, a beautician and a sauna – you get it all here. Watch out for music concerts too! [timeout]

Sky Bar – Eden au Lac’s Sky Bar serves posh drinks and food with a side of spectacular views. [timeout]

The Castles of Bellinzona – Among the most famous monuments of Ticino are the impressive collection of medieval castles at Bellinzona, the capital of the canton, just north of Lugano. [timeout]

Thermalbad & Spa Zürich – The view over the city from Thermalbad & Spa Zurich’s rooftop pool is amazing. You can also relax in the tubs in the basement and enjoy the Irish-Roman spa. [timeout]

Thun-Bern float trip -Arrive in the capital in style after a drift along the River Aare from Thun. [timeout]

Walliser Alpentherme & Spa Leukerbad – One of several spas in this beautiful mountain village. [timeout]

Wildnispark Zürich – Wildnispark Zürich consists of two parts: the Sihlwald forest and Langenberg, Switzerland’s oldest wildlife park. Most of it is always accessible. [timeout]

Zoo Zürich – Zurich’s zoo is famous for its ‘Masoalahalle’: a dome filled with the wildlife of Madagascar. The latest attraction here is the elephant park. [timeout]

Züri rollt – The city of Zurich gives out bikes free! Just leave a CHF 20 deposit at a Züri rollt container. Two of them are open all year round. [timeout]

Festivals

Festivals

August 1: Swiss National Day – This is a day of fireworks and bonfires all over Switzerland, with speeches by the great and good, much singing of the national anthem and other traditional songs, a proliferation of Swiss flags (even on specially made bread rolls) and children carrying illuminated paper lanterns. If you’re in a city by a lake, try to get out on a boat to get the best view of what will be the most spectacular fireworks. [expatica]

Basel Fasnacht – You’ll need to get up early to witness the start of this huge and popular carnival – it starts at 4am on the Monday after Ash Wednesday. Pipers, drummers and carnival cliques or cliquen march through the streets, carrying huge wooden and canvas lanterns with silhouettes symbolising events from the past year, while masked revellers, musicians, singers and actors wander through the alleyways. Festivities continue until 4am on the Thursday. [expatica]

Fête de L’Escalade, Geneva – L’Escalade commemorates the defence of Geneva against invasion by the Duke of Savoy in 1602 in a festival which includes a five mile race through the medieval Old Town the week before the main celebration. The main celebration is a torchlight procession of more than 1,000 marchers in historical costume. During the 1602 defence, a cook poured her cauldron over the heads of attacking soldiers, so today you’ll see little chocolate pots (marmites) decorated with coats of arms and filled with marzipan vegetables in sweetshops everywhere. [expatica]

Grindelwald Snow Festival – Every January, international artists converge on the natural ice rink in the village of Grindelwald for six days. Watch as they create giant sculptures made from metre-high blocks of snow: mythical creatures, animals, people and abstracts. You can offer your opinions on the best, have a go at tobogganing and warm up afterwards with hot wine and cheese fondue. [expatica]

Interlaken Classic Music Festival – If you’re into classical music, you won’t want to miss the Interlaken Music Festival as it showcases the up and coming classical stars of tomorrow alongside leading international orchestras and soloists. [expatica]

Interlaken International Street Artists Festival – Come and wander the streets of Interlaken during the weekend of the International Street Artists Festival and be entertained by acrobats, magicians, comedians, jugglers and musicians, while you sample the local brew and nibble on popcorn and traditional chäsbrätel (grilled cheese on toasted bread). [expatica]

International Balloon Festival, Château-d’Oex – The exceptional microclimate of the Swiss alpine resort of Château-d’Oex creates the idea flight conditions for hot air balloons, which is why over 80 from around the world come here for the annual week-long International Balloon Festival. The brilliant blue skies are filled with multi-coloured balloons every day and there’s a spectacular ‘night-glow’ display of balloons illuminated by their burners. [expatica]

Montreux Jazz Festival – This is the largest jazz festival in Europe (and second in the world after the Montreal Jazz Festival in Canada) and held on the banks of Lake Geneva. Expect some of the biggest international names in not only jazz but in other musical genres, among the performers on two main auditoriums, the Montreux Jazz Café and other smaller venues, as well as on open-air stages, and even on boats on the lake itself. [expatica]

Paléo Festival, Nyon – What started as a small folk festival is now Switzerland’s biggest outdoor music event: the Paléo Festival (or just Paléo) is a massive, family friendly music festival with international names from all musical genres performing on six stages – there are around 250 individual concerts – over six days. [expatica]

Zurich Festival – The month-long Zurich Festival’s culturally diverse programme of opera, concerts, dance, musical and dramatic theatre, exhibitions, debates and art are always united by a common theme. In 2015 it was ‘Money Power Love’ with the emphasis on Shakespeare and the Renaissance in both Italy and England. [expatica]

Public Transit

Public Transit

Travel by car – Travelling by car in Switzerland is easy, as  all villages and towns are clearly marked and accessible. Road surfaces are usually well maintained, although heavy snowfall in winter can lead to some closures. To drive on the motorways between the main cities, it is necessary to purchase a special licence (called a vignette) for CHF 40.

Trains – Switzerland has over 5,000 km of railroad track, of which about 60 percent is owned and operated by Switzerland’s government-run transport provider (Schweizerische Bundesbahn or SBB in German, Chemins de Fer Fédéraux or CFF in French, and Ferrovie Federali Svizzere or FFS in Italian). Major cities are connected by InterCity trains, which run at least once every hour throughout the week.

Travel by trams and buses – The main Swiss cities boast efficient public transportation, with trams and buses forming the core of the urban network. A single short journey ticket costs around CHF 2.60 and is usually only valid for an hour. Depending on the travel required, it may be more economical to purchase a day pass for about CHF 8, a monthly pass or a prepaid discount card.

Other forms of transportation – Other forms of transportation are also readily available. Ferryboats operate on all main lakes and it is also possible to rent bikes at most train stations. The only underground system in Switzerland was introduced in 2008 in the town of Lausanne. As is the case across Europe, taxis are readily available in the centres of all cities, but can be expensive. The cost often doubles after 22.00, thus it is advisable to ask the price beforehand.

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

Basel .NET User Group – The “Basel .NET User Group” was launched in October 2014 by Jürgen Gutsch, Olivier Giss and Thomas Keller, since there is no event around Microsoft’s .NET and Co. in the surrounding area. The .NET UG is intended primarily for all interested parties to provide a platform for relaxed discussions and for the exchange of experiences. [meetup]

Basel Professional Development/Kommunikation&Führung Meetup – The group is meeting for the first time. And as English is often used in the business world, different aspects of Communication, mainly in the business environment, but we’re based in Switzerland, the group will be run bilingual. [meetup]

Bern Silicon Valley HackLab Tech Group – The Swiss Computer Science and Electronic HackLab Society IEVS.CH is a club of experienced information technology experts and internet professionals. [meetup]

Bern Software Developers Meetup – This group is targeted at people who enjoy programming and anyone who would like to learn it. The main purpose is to share knowledge about anything related to software developement (and hardware). We can schedule presentations and coding sessions or start new projects. [meetup]

Big Data Zurich – An upcoming regular event for people interested in Big Data, whether you are professionals in the field, enthusiasts, or students looking to build your career in that direction. We’ll host interesting talks from industry experts, a focus on both business and technical aspects of big data, and plenty of time for beer and networking! [meetup]

Cloud Scale Data Science virtual UserGroup worldwide – This usergroup focues on Cloud Scale Data Science and is virtual in the sence that we will always Webcast our Events and also have Webcast only Sessions. [meetup]

Data Platform Professionals – Swiss PASS Chapter – We’re the Swiss PASS Chapter. We’re an independent, not-for-profit association, dedicated to providing extraordinary value for the Microsoft Data Platform Community where you are empowered to collaborate, learn, and grow through knowledge sharing and peer-based learning. [meetup]

Financial Technology Switzerland Meetup – This is a group for professionals thriving to change the financial technologies. We started this group to gather banks, brokers, asset managers, family office, software developers, freelance, investors, incubators and any professional involved with financial technologies. [meetup]

Game developers Suisse Romande –  This is a group for people interested in making video games. We will discuss topics, such as: current games, technologies, market trends and issues facing the industry in Switzerland, but more importantly, this group is about you and your games! [meetup]

Geneva Entrepreneurs & Professionals – ENTREPRENEURS & PROFESSIONALS MEETUP, PARTNER-UP, NETWORK, STARTUP. Networking for people who are involved in a corporate, NGO, startup, running a business or looking to invest in one. Chill, chat. Expand your environment. [meetup]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

American Expats in Zurich – Hello! I’m an American female living in Meggen and am always looking to meet other expats in the area. I have started this group for expats to get to know each other, talk and share experiences. [meetup]

Angie helps to improve your English talents – Fribourg – We will have different groups of Degrees in English, so this tea time is open to all who speak English and at any level the discussions will be open to the group so we can decide together the subject. [meetup]

Basel Neuro Meetup Linguistic Programming NLP – If you are interested in how to truly communicate efficiently and effectively, coaching – yourself and others, personal development and gaining mastery over your emotions then this MeetUp is for you. [meetup]

Bassersdorf Language and Culture Meetup – If you are interested to learn other languages useful for traveling/leisure or your career/profession, then you are at the right place. If you’d like to meet different people, improve your people skills, and know more about other cultures, come and join and share your interests, talk about your hobbies and travel experiences as well as your next travel destination and better yet, find your language tandem partner with us. [meetup]

Bern Internationals – Do you live in or around Bern? Great! Let’s get together for socialising, language exchange, making new friends and exploring the city together. Seasoned expats and new in town, singles and couples, guys and girls, everybody welcome. [meetup]

BPW Basel Anglo – BPW Basel Anglo is a member club of BPW Switzerland, bringing together English-speaking women in a truly global business network in the Basel area. [meetup]

Expat parents in Charmilles/Servette – Hi! Our aim is to create a local community in the Charmilles/Servette/St Jean area for the occasional brunch, park playdates etc – we’re especially looking for some pals for our 3 year old (or some other older parents like us!!). [meetup]

Hochdeutsch sprechen in Lausanne – Weekly meeting place for German-speaking people or people who like to speak high German. We talk about books, movies, music, German culture, travel and everything we are interested in. [meetup]

Language exchange french mandarin Montreux – Your mother tongue is french or mandarin (or you are fluent in one of these language) and you are interested in informal conversation. Let’s meet in Montreux on Wednesday from 6 to 8pm. [meetup]

Mundo Lingo Geneve Free Weekly Language Exchange – Mundo Lingo is a sociable and completely free new way to practice another language in Geneva and make local friends as much locals as tourists. [meetup]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

Basel LGBT Professionals – This is a group for LGBT Professionals in Basel who wish to meet other LGBT’s for networking, sharing ideas, good conversation and making new friends. [meetup]

be queer! Zürich Meetup – Regular, cozy meetings for genderqueers of all ages. We are Trans * Boys and Girls, Inter, Pangender, Cis, … just everything between, behind, before and beside man and woman. We are looking forward to meeting you! [meetup]

Conscious Sexuality Basel – This group is designed to provide a space to share and explore questions around sexuality, to dissolve shame and restrictions and to delve into the spiritual aspects of sexuality. Authentic, respectful communication will support you to discover your true sexual being and to embody your potential for ecstatic living. [meetup]

Front Runners – An open and friendly group of Gay, Lesbian, Bi, and Trans people and their friends who love running! [meetup]

Geneva LGBT Professionals – This is a group for LGBT Professionals in Geneva who wish to meet other LGBT’s for networking, sharing ideas, good conversation and making new friends. [meetup]

Lesbian & bi-women in and around ZH – Lesbian & bi-women in and around Zurich (ZH) who would are interested in social gatherings, meeting in the “scene”, watching movies (Pink Apple/DVD nights), doing sports/outdoor activities etc. [meetup]

Projet D – Hello ! Are you a young LGBT between 18-30 years old? This group is for you! Project D (Youth Platform for Equality and Diversity) is a youth group created for young LGBT people (Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans) from 20 to 30 years old. [meetup]

Resources

Resources

Places in Switzerland

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