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Countries Information & Lifestyle
 Switzerland Switzerland

Country Information & Lifestyle

 Beauty cannot descibe the heart rending loveliness

Beauty cannot descibe the heart rending loveliness

Switzerland is densely populated and there are major differences between the geographical regions meaning that the climate varies greatly from one region to another. Depending on the area and time of year Switzerland experiences conditions reminiscent both of Siberia and of the Mediterranean.

There are three main regions, the Jura, Plateau and the Alps with 60% of the tourism in the Alps and the foothills with the Matterhorn located in Canton Valais.

Switzerland borders Germany to the north, Austria and the Principality of Liechtenstein to the east, Italy to the south and France to the west. The most widely spoken language is German with French, Italian and Rumantsch spoken in various cantons.

The culture of Switzerland is characterised by the diversity of its geography, its languages and religion, this is reflected in the literature, art, architecture, music and customs with the mountain culture different to that in the plateau.

Foods associated with Switzerland are usually cheese and chocolate. The most popular dishes of fondue and raclette, originally regional dishes and zurifschnatzlets -thin strips of veal with mushrooms in a cream sauce served with rosti are just some of the delights to try. The chocolate drink Ovomaltine (known in the USA & UK as Ovaltine) originates from Switzerland and enjoys an ongoing popularity especially with young people and it is often used on a slice of bread.

The Rutli, a meadow surrounded by forest, nestles on the shores of Lake Urner, the southern arm of Lake Lucerne and this is where the myth of the Rutli Oath began. The story tells of the summer of 1291 when men from the cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden joined together to found the Swiss Federation. Although there is no documented proof, a Letter of Alliance dated 1291 substantiates that people lived around the lake and discussed common problems and wanted a united strength to settle disputes.

The Lotschental in Canton Valais is famous for the Tschaggatta tradition, which takes place in February. Young, unmarried men and boys roam the streets of the villages of the valley wearing demonic masks and tunics made of sheep of goat skins and ringing bells. The name refers to the black and white colour of these tunics tschaggatta means piebald in the local dialect.

By tradition the Tschaggatta wear gloves smeared with soot and take the occasional swipe at anyone they met,(particularly young women)

The masks are hand carved and each one is different. They normally feature crooked teeth and bulging, uneven eyes. It is said that they reflect the untamed nature of the valley. They have also been interpreted as an expression of anarchy and rebellion in a peasant society that was largely dominated by the church.

The tradition stems from the time the valley was cut off from outside world in winter. Unlike other mask-related customs in Switzerland the Tschaggattta were never formally organised in any way. Processions have only been held on specific dates since the 1960s when custom looked in danger of dying out as young men left the valley in search of work.

Purchasing a Property

The sale of real estate to non-Swiss citizens is subject to several laws named "Lex Friedich" and each canton has a yearly quota of properties authorised for sale to non-Swiss citizens.

The goal is to control the purchase of properties in Switzerland by non-Swiss citizens. An authorisation to purchase must be obtained from the CANTONAL AUTHORITIES and from the FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE and POLICE through a NOTARY.

Non-Swiss may only buy one property of maximum 200 sqm of liveable space per family. The accommodation cannot be rented on an annual basis as an owner is supposed to use his property for at least three weeks per year.

Under Swiss law an owner or his family may occupy their apartment for up to six months per year, twice x three months.

No authorisation is required for the purchase of principal residence if the buyer has a permit of residence B, (except if the land has more than 1,000 sm).

EU citizens with a permit of residence B and all foreigners with a residence permit C can buy as many properties as they want, they are considered Swiss citizens.

Once you have chosen your property you need to complete a civil status questionnaire and complete a declaration of honour.

Your appointed attorney will assist you through all the formalities and you must then fill out a Power of Attorney which states the full name and address of the purchaser, the location and name of the property, the selling price, the price of the mooring place and price of the parking space.

You will need to hand over a signed copy of your passport and then the signature of the power of attorney and the copy of the passport must be legalised.

The attorney will then forward all the documents to the official Swiss NOTARY who will proceed to the signing of the DEED OF SALE and apply for authorisation to purchase on behalf of those who are not resident in Switzerland.

The administrative time to obtain authorisation is usually two to six months from the date of submission of the application. Once the authorisation has been received the NOTARY will duly record the deed of sale in the LAND REGISTER.

Fees & Taxes

The purchase fees amount to a total of Cantonal + Communal transfer fee.

Notary and registration 2.5%

All preliminary payments must be made to the Notary, i.e. the reservation deposit, into his clients deposit account.

National Defence Tax.

Land tax.

Tourist tax (1.75% of the estimated value of the property)
If a re-sale the property is subject to an appreciation tax, plus agents commission and any other costs.

Visas

Citizens of full EU members are able to live and work in Switzerland but must apply for Job seeking Permit that is issued by the Job Center or a Work Permit from your potential employer.

Citizens of the new EU countries require a residence/work permit even if the duration of their employment is for less than three months.

If you are from a country that is not a EU member you must obtain a work visa or permit to work in Switzerland. Nationals of certain countries can visit Switzerland for up to three months without a visa but you will need to be granted a work permit to take up employment.

Citizens from the American continent with the exception of Belize, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Peru, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand do not need a visa.

All other nationals will require a visa to visit Switzerland so you will need to contact your nearest Embassy/Consulate for further information.

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