Zurich, Switzerland

Home to several Fortune 500 companies as well as a thriving cultural scene, multilingual Zurich is a major banking centre and a hub for the arts and sciences.

Geographically speaking, Switzerland consists of 26 cantons (states) that united in 1848 to form a federal republic, each of which has its own predominant language, religion and culture. The city of Zurich lies within the canton of Zurich and the city’s residents likely speak one of four national languages: German (75%), French (20%), Italian (4%) or Romansch (1%).

The city of Zurich is a major banking centre, attracting employees and businesses from around the world. The finance sector has become one of the most important in Europe, generating a third of the wealth and a quarter of the jobs in the city.

Several of the 15 Fortune 500 companies in Switzerland are headquartered in Zurich. Credit Suisse and UBS, which was created as a result of the merger of Union Bank and Swiss Bank, are two of the top financial firms operating internationally; other big names include ABB Group, a power and automation engineering firm, and Zurich Insurance Group, Switzerland’s largest insurer.

Zurich has also taken on a leading role in the sciences and arts, thanks to the wide range of activities offered by the city’s theatres, opera house, concert halls, museums, and the University of Zurich.

BUSINESS ETIQUETTE

1. Local language. Zurich is mainly a German-speaking city, and about one in four residents speak English. Do your research before visiting and ensure you can communicate with your host with ease.

2. Geting personal. The Swiss value their privacy above all else. Be sure to avoid topics of conversation that deal with anything personal, such as family or marital status, unless the subject is broached by your host.

3. Business card, please. Bring more than usual on your visit to Zurich, as business cards are not only given to your counterparts, but also to their assistants and all others in attendance.

FACTS FOR INVESTORS

1. Zurich ranked 52nd out of 500 in the Innovation Cities Index in 2016.

2. Switzerland ranked 31st on the World Bank’s 2017 Ease of Doing Business index.

3. Zurich joined the list of global fintech hubs by launching a multicorporate technology association under the name of digitalswitzerland in 2016. The association aims to enhance cooperation between regional digital hubs in order to help companies expand into Europe.

TRAVEL TIPS

1. Open-air concerts and festivals. During the summer, music-loving locals gravitate to parks and squares throughout the city and by Lake Zurich to take in the sounds of classical, jazz, electronic and rock music. Toward the end of August, Zurich holds its largest open-air concert, which lasts four days and features a variety of electronic and rock music, food and entertainment stands.

For a more relaxed atmosphere, acoustic concerts are held at the Seebad Enge bathing facility on Sunday evenings from June to September.

2. Discover the city. Join a walking or cycle rickshaw tour and see all the famous sites, narrow winding streets and best dining spots the city offers. Combine culture and nature by venturing just outside the city. Catch a cable car in Adliswil and ride to Felsenegg to take in the breathtaking views of Zurich, the lake and snow-capped Alps.

Zurich, Switzerland