Advisory Services Welcome Center

Life, Culture, Mentality

In addition to online portals such as "MySwitzerland," travel guides that take the perspective of their target audience into account can be helpful when it comes to preparing for life in Switzerland.

To help you gain a better understanding of Swiss culture and the Swiss mentality, we have compiled a list of useful references below.

Recommended reading in English

  • Diccon Bewes: Swiss Watching: Inside the Land of Milk and Money. Brealey, London 2010
  • ​David Hampshire: Living and Working in Switzerland: A Survival Handbook. London 2007.
  • Gianni Haver: Mix & Remix: Swissness in a Nutshell. Bergli Books, Basel 2014.
  • Margaret Oertig-Davidson: Beyond Chocolate: Understanding Swiss Culture. Bergli Books, Basel 2011.

Recommended reading in German

In the last five to ten years, countless guides to "life in Switzerland" have been published specifically for a German audience. Many of these publications attack stereotypes on both sides and use exaggeration to comic effect. In some cases, however, they deliver core messages that can be extremely helpful in terms of avoiding some of the major pitfalls in everyday life or at work.

  • Thomas Küng, in collaboration with Peter Schneider: Gebrauchsanweisung für die Schweiz [Instruction manual for Switzerland]. Pieper Taschenbuch, Munich 2008.
  • Bruno Ziauddin: Grüezi Gummihälse. Warum uns die Deutschen manchmal auf die Nerven gehen ["Hello rubbernecks." Why the Germans sometimes get on our nerves]. Rowohlt Taschenbuch, Reinbeck bei Hamburg 2008.
  • Susan Sitzler: Grüezi und Willkommen. Die Schweiz für Deutsche ["Grüezi" and welcome. Switzerland for Germans]. Ch. Links Verlag, Berlin 2004.
  • Thomas Kölliker: Was Deutsche nicht hören wollen und Schweizer nicht zu sagen wagen: Kulturelle Unterschiede am Arbeitsplatz leben [What Germans don't want to hear and the Swiss dare not say. Experiencing cultural differences in the workplace]. Orell Füssli, Zurich 2012.

Recommendation

In his 2010 publication "Swiss Watching," English-born Diccon Bewes, who is based in Bern, describes his life and experiences in Switzerland. This book has also proved popular with Swiss readers.

Keen to find out more?

If you are interested in exploring the topic of cultural integration beyond simply reading about it on your own, you are welcome to come along to the following events and workshops such as "Wie ticken die Schweizerinnen und Schweizer?" (in German), "Explore your cross-cultural competence" or "First steps in in intercultural learning". 

For more information about these or subsequent events, please see our list Workshops, Courses, Events.