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High standard of living Your views: why life is good in Switzerland

Jumping into the Aare

Enjoying the summer in Bern

(© KEYSTONE / ANTHONY ANEX)

Annual international surveys frequently place Switzerland near the top of their lists when it comes to ranking the best places in the world to live. We wanted to find out from our Facebook and Twitter communities what makes Switzerland special. Here are some of the replies we received.

But first, what the official surveys say: 

According to the 2018 survey from consulting firm Mercer, Zurich offers the second-best quality of life in the world. Geneva was ranked eighth and Basel came in tenth place. Mercer’s surveyexternal link takes into account factors such as political stability, health care, education, crime and transport.

In a survey published by the World Economic Forum in 2016, carried out by the non-governmental organisation Social Progress Imperativeexternal link, Switzerland was judged the fifth best place to live in the world. The report said that the country may be expensive, but its citizens get value for money, especially when it comes to “medical” and “nutritional” matters, and "access to basic knowledge".

But the Expat Insider survey of 2017external link was not quite as positive. Expats in Switzerland said they struggled with an unfriendly local population and high expenses, while childcare options were few and far between. 

Meanwhile, in a 2016 Federal Statistical Office report into quality of life in Swiss cities, people in Geneva and Lausanne complained of crowded accommodation, burglaries, night-time noise and road injuries.

What do you think?

So what constitutes a high standard of living? Many of you say life is good here because of the tolerance and respect people show towards each other, the Swiss system of democracy, the good infrastructure, a high level of security and the beauty of the landscape. 

1. Tolerance and respect

Respect for differences

FB comment

Phil Miller: "The people *respect* one another so much. That was amazing to me, an Australian. If we built houses with copper guttering, it would be stolen in a week. Alcohol on the footpath outside the Denner? That'd be gone in an hour. Ruhetag on a Sunday? What a brilliant idea. Here we have to listen to one lawnmower after another all day Saturday and Sunday. We really loved it there".

Felipe Guillermo Cruz Matus: "I truly believe that there is a "common wellness" sense that created an excellent quality of life!"

Ali Joyo: "Switzerland is [the] only country in the world which is not only rich by nature, but also by social and democratic values".

2. Democracy

Di Shaw enjoys "Direct democracy....and good government".

kcz100: "The principle of consensus is Switzerland's true political hallmark".

Frank Carlberg tweets,"Direct democracy and, more generally, including / involving people is of strong importance".

Finally, Fin the Hillbilly likes: "The politics: run by the people, not by self-serving politicians".

3. Infrastructure

Frank Carlberg: "Trams, buses, and trains are well connected and help people get swiftly from A to B. What I also appreciate are improvements in bicycle infrastructure and car sharing possibilities".

Elena May finds that Switzerland has "The best transport system in the world in my opinion. Being able to move around so easily makes living here easy as well".

Reliable services

Comment on facebook

4. Security

Security is great

facebook comment

Yannis Pan: "You don’t normally worry that your things will get stolen or that you will get robbed - as a general feeling. There is this feeling of security where you, in general again, feel comfortable enough to let your kid go to the kindergarten alone at the age of 5. This is nothing you can buy, and I hope it stays like this in the future".

Security survey How safe is the Swiss capital?

International polls rank Bern as one of the safest capital cities to live in on the planet. swissinfo.ch found out what it means to feel secure there.

Marina Rb tells a story, "A friend visiting from the US forgot her iPhone on an RE [Regional Express] train from Zurich to Schaffhausen. Apparently the train circulated back and forth a few times before someone noticed it and brought it to the local lost and found, where she was able to pick it up days later. Needless to say she was speechless. Welcome to Switzerland!"

5. Cleanliness and beauty

Beautiful landscapes

FB comment

Pedro Paul Alvarez enjoys "A balance between modern and global cities and rural appeal. You can speed up or slow down as much as you like".

Frank Calberg likes the rivers: "Rivers that pass through towns add a kind of freshness to life. It is, I find, as if water helps towns to breathe more. And water contributes to creating calm environments, which help people reduce stress and find tranquility in their lives".

Nature is beautiful

FB comment

Thank you for sharing your views with us. Do you disagree with any of the opinions expressed here? Let us know in the comments!

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