Famous People in Zürich

Zürich has always been a magnet for artists, authors and great thinkers, and has inspired people down through the ages who have found freedom of speech and peace here. They wrote history, and their histories still fascinate people today. > More about famous people in Zürich

Education in Zürich

Universities in Zürich: Trendsetter in Intellectual Thought

ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)
Today around 12,000 people study at the ETH, which has developed into one of the leading universities in the world with a focus on technology and natural sciences and a proven track record in research. More than 21 Nobel Prize winners are connected to the ETH, including individuals such as Albert Einstein and Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen.

University of Zurich
With 24,000 students, the University of Zurich is the largest university in Switzerland. Its 2000 lecturers in more than 140 institutes ensure the widest range of academic courses of any Swiss university. The University of Zurich enjoys international renown thanks to research successes in molecular biology, brain research and anthropology, in particular, as well as the activities carried out in the university and veterinary hospitals.

Public holidays

Date Public holidays Shopping hours
January 1 New Years Day closed
January 2 Saint Berchtold closed
April 11 Sechseläuten, Traditional Spring Festival of the City Guilds closed
April 21

Holy Thursday

open until 5pm,
department stores open until 6pm
April 22 Good Friday closed
April 23 Holy Saturday open until 5pm,
department stores open until 6pm
April 24 Easter closed
April 25 Easter Monday closed
April 30 Previous day of Labor Day open until 5pm,
department stores open until 8pm
May 1 Labor Day closed
June 1 Previous day of Ascension Day open until 5pm,
department stores open until 6pm
June 2 Ascension Day closed
June 12 Whitsunday closed
June 13 Whit Monday closed
August 1 Swiss National Day closed
September 12 Knabenschiessen open until 8pm
December 25 Christmas Day closed
December 26 Boxing Day closed
December 31 New Year's Eve open until 5pm

Exceptions to these dates are stores in the Main Railway Station, at Stadelhofen Railway Station and at Zürich Airport, which are all open 365 days a year.


  • The first settlers arrived at the outlet of Lake Zürich as early as 7000 years ago.
  • The Romans came to Zürich in 57/58 BC and founded the Turicum customs post.
    A fortress was erected on Lindenhof in 300 AD.
  • The next emperor who considered Zürich to be his own was Charlemagne. In 900, his grandson Louis the German built an imperial palace on Lindenhof and founded the Fraumünster Abbey in 853 AD for his two daughters.
  • In 1000, Zürich prospered thanks to the Fraumünster Abbey, a noble convent that educated princesses from all over Europe.
    In the Middle Ages, Zürich become an important pilgrimage destination due to the relics of Felix and Regula, Zürich’s patron saints.
  • In 1218, after the death of the last of the Zähringers, Zürich’s ruling family, Zürich became a free city. Although it was under the emperor’s rule, Zürich was allowed to govern itself, and the newly self-confident Zürich inhabitants razed the imperial palace.
  • In 1336, Rudolf Brun and the tradesmen of the city stormed the Town Hall. From this time on, the council no longer consisted only of aristocrats; half of it was made up of tradesmen, who organized themselves into guilds.
  • In 1351, 60 years after the founding of the Helvetic Confederation, Zürich was the sixth canton to join.
  • In the 16th century, as moral decline reached its peak and the council could not bring the population to its senses, Ulrich Zwingli became the priest of Grossmünster Church. He started the Reformation, which spread from Zürich to all of German-speaking Switzerland.
    In the time following the Reformation, many religious refugees came to Zürich. Thanks to them, Zürich developed into a center of the textile industry.
  • In 1648, the Peace Treaty of Westphalia granted the Confederation independence from the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.
  • During the age of industrialization in the late 18th and 19th centuries, Zürich changed from a city of tradesmen to a capital of machine-driven industry.
  • After World War II, 70% of the workforce was already active in the service sector. Restaurants, bars, galleries and shops took up residence in former factory halls. Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, the former industrial districts have become the trendy districts in Zürich.
  • In past years, Zürich has repeatedly been chosen as the city with the highest quality of life in the world.


  • 4 seasons
  • Approximately 3500 hours of sunshine per annum
  • Pleasant humiditiy
  • Summer: average daytime temperature 22 °C (71.6 °F)
  • Winter: -2 to 3.5 °C (28.4 to 38.3 °F)

> The current weather forecast for Zürich

Quality of Life

Zürich – the Highest Quality of Life Worldwide for Seven Successive Years

From 2001 to 2008, Zürich was accorded top ranking as the city with the highest standard of living for seven years in succession. In 2009 and 2010 Zürich was rated 2nd, right after Vienna. The renowned human resources consultants, William M. Mercer, analyzed 320 cities based on 39 different criteria, including leisure and relaxation, safety, cleanliness, political and economical stability, and medical care. Visitors particularly appreciate the astounding cultural and gastronomical diversity, as well as countless possibilities for enjoyment, relaxation and recuperation for all the senses.

> Mercer Quality of Living survey

Zürich’s Future

Zürich – A City on the Move Zürich is pulsating. International exhibitions and many different large-scale projects are in the pipeline, while others are about to open. The following future-looking projects are only a small selection of the trail-blazing changes taking place in Zürich:

Europaallee – A New District is Being Created near Zürich Main Station
A new district is being developed right next to Zürich Main Station on a total area of 93,000 sq yds. It will have a large number of uses, ranging from hotels to restaurants, retail outlets, leisure facilities, services, education and training, and residential accommodation. The ground-breaking ceremony took place in June 2009. A wide, open public space surrounded by modern, urban architecture will now be created in stages by 2019. Impressive avenues and squares highlight the character of this new district.

Zürich Airport Launches a Development for Services
“The Circle at Zurich Airport” is the new exclusive address of an internationally groundbreaking range of services at the airport. The “Circle” covers a total area of 240,000 sq yds, is within walking distance of the terminals and provides a platform for discerning customers from all over the world and service providers from growth areas. This high-quality development offers travelers and locals alike not only a range of offerings from the areas of health, beauty, wellness and education, but also event venues, conference rooms for companies, and a hotel and office complex. The airport operators have conducted detailed studies in the last two years and completed extensive testing as part of the planning process. A public architecture competition is currently being held. The winners will be chosen in February 2010 and be able to start construction in 2012.

“Sustainable Zürich – On Its Way to Becoming a 2000-Watt Society”
In 2008, the people of Zürich voted to become a 2000-watt society. The goal for implementing a 2000-watt society is to use only one-third of the energy being consumed currently without affecting the standard of living. In addition, the energy used should be “clean”. The city of Zürich was the first Swiss municipality to include withdrawal from nuclear energy in its constitution. The city of Zürich is promoting the use of renewable energy so that three-quarters of energy it uses will come from renewable sources by 2050. Also, CO2 emissions are to be reduced from six tons to one.


Switzerland is the oldest democracy in the world and is based on the Federal Constitution of 1848. However, Switzerland is known for its direct democracy rather than as the oldest democracy. The electorate not only votes for political representatives but also uses plebiscites to decide on important financial and topical proposals and to accept or reject legislative changes. Citizens can even propose bills to the government themselves via initiatives and referendums.

Switzerland is made up of 26 cantons, the Canton of Zürich being one of them. Every canton has its own constitution, government, parliament, court and police force.

The City of Zürich
The smallest entities in Switzerland’s political system are the municipalities. The city of Zürich is such a municipality and possesses a great deal of automony and freedom in making decisions. The electorate can vote on proposals and laws and elect members of the municipal council (parliamentary, legislative) and the city council (executive). The municipal council has 125 members; the city council has nine. Both councils are elected by the people every four years.

Places of Political Activity
The municipal council sits in the Town Hall, while the city council meets on the other side of the River Limmat in the City Hall.

Business Location Zürich

Occupying a central position at the heart of Europe, the Zürich area is one of the world's leading financial centers. Low taxes, a highly qualified workforce, renowned education and research institutes, and an exceptional quality of life are what make this location stand out.

For these reasons, numerous international corporations have chosen to locate in the Zürich area. With three million inhabitants, 1.5 million jobholders, and 140,000 companies, the Zürich area is the economic center of Switzerland - the ideal location for companies with vision!

Why Zürich?
  • Zürich lies in the center of Europe
  • Zürich’s population is tolerant and open
  • Zürich offers a unique quality of life
  • Zürich is the economic engine of Switzerland
  • Zürich is a prominent educational center
  • Zürich has internationally renowned financial services
  • Zürich is a safe, stable place to live
... and living in Zürich is just great!