Category Archives: Zurich Living

Baby Showers At The Hotel Eden Au Lac In Zurich

Although baby showers are more specifically an American pastime, they are gaining in popularity in Europe, especially as the expat communities expand and bring their own traditions with them. If you are planning a baby shower for yourself or a friend, the Hotel Eden au Lac has just launched an offering specifically geared to making sure the celebration is a memorable one. The location itself is beautiful. The minimum number of guests is eight and the Hotel is offering: 

 

    • Private room with guaranteed exclusiveness especially booked for you, all the options for a baby shower party are given

 

    • Delicious homemade appetizers (finger sandwiches, cup cakes, scones, english cake, chocolate brownies, pistachio biscuits & muffins)

 

    • Fresh fruit juices, mineral water, soft drinks, tea and coffee à discrétion

 

    • 1 glas of prosecco per person

 

    • Cute decoration and entertaining games (ABC list, what size has Mom’s belly, etc.)

 

All starting from a very reasonable 49CHF per person. More details can be found in the brochure.

Enjoy Zurifest 2013

Call it Zurifest, Zurifaescht or whatever you please, Zurich’s tri-annual celebration is almost upon us and we present a quick rundown of what is going on and how you can join in the fun. It all kicks off on Friday July 5th at 17:00, with festivities running non-stop until midnight on Sunday the 7th. The highlight will, as always, be the the fireworks displays that take place from 22:30 to 23:00 on the Friday and Saturday. In between is a non-stop festival of fun and activity for all ages, all organised with the usual high standards of Stadt Zurich. Some of the highlights:

 

    • Mine train along General Guisan-Quai and Mythenquai
    • Night time gongola rides at Sechseläutenplatz
    • Family paradise creche
    • Latin show from Caliente
    • Tightrope walks between cathedral spires
    • High diving shows
    • Car and bike shows

I especially like the fact that Zurich is really committed to a round-the-clock festival so that families and party-goers alike can join in the fun. there is plenty to do for kids and once the little ones reach bedtime, it’s time for night owls to enjoy the Party Mile and market stalls. Tickets for premium seating are available where you can get good seats to watch the fireworks from Mythenquai. Tickets cost 45CHF per seat on the Friday or Saturday. Note that you are not allowed to bring your own food and drink. Our Tipp: Many employers who have offices in and around the Bellevue / Bürkliplatz area open their buildings to allow members of staff and their families to view the fireworks from the roof. It’s worth checking if this is available to you. All info on Zurifest 2013 is available in German from this site.

Curious About Courses?

What are you curious about? Have you ever found yourself going to work, going home, going to work, going home and repeating this pattern? That’s where Selina Man Karlsson found herself a few years ago and when her job situation changed, she realised she didn’t have much else besides work and that’s when she started being curious about life again. A whole new world appeared… Back in 2010, Selina set up Curious Courses which offers short taster courses to spark and feed your curiosity, giving people the opportunity to try different and new things. Over the past years, there’s been quite a variety of topics including photography, wine, meditation, cheese and writing courses to name a few. The idea is to try something out in an evening to see if it is something for you and if it is, you can pursue it further and if it isn’t, then you have had a nice night out, no harm done 🙂 She’s learnt that there’s something out there for everyone, whether you want to try something creative, want to improve your cooking or experience a new sport or an unusual hobby, there’s so many great possibilities out there, you just need to have a go. She’s noticed that the more curious we become, the more open minded we also become and life takes on a new shine. There are typically 2 – 3 Curious Courses per month with upcoming courses including Be your own boss, Ready Set Write, Access your confidence, Life Purpose Creation and more. On the 8th June in Zurich Seefeld, there’s a very special event; our first CURIOUS COURSES DAY! There will be a keynote speaker followed by 18 different topics under the themes Create, Grow, Care, Move, Taste and Discover. Each of the short courses will be 50 mins long and participants can choose up to 6 to attend. All participants will receive special offers from the speakers as well. It’s going to be a day of Discovery and exploration! Visit the Curious Courses website for more details Selina can be contacted on selina@curiouscourses.ch if you have any questions.

Save 20% On Tickets To Swan Lake Reloaded

Tchaikovsky’s «Swan Lake» meets street dance. High culture and entertainment merge together to create an audio-visual synthesis of the arts. «Swan Lake Reloaded» breaks away from traditional ballet and takes the much-loved masterpiece into a new dimension – for the most spectacular dance show of recent times. The production combines the highly demanding choreography of a street dance show with classical elements. «Swan Lake Reloaded» premiered in Stockholm in December 2011 to great acclaim from critics and audiences alike. The show sold out for its entire run in no time, with over 40,000 tickets being snapped up. Now the production’s Swiss premiere is to take place at Zurich’s MAAG Halle venue in April. We are pleased to offer zuirichexpats readers a 20% discount on selected tickets. For further details on the discount, please consult this document. For further information: www.swanlake-show.ch 

St Patrick’s Day In Zurich

Nualan O’Brien is Irish and living and working in Zürich. She works for Sixtblog.ch We all know the festival, but do we know the man who gave his name to the date? And what did he do with the shamrock? St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. While he is called a Saint, he was never formerly canonised by the Catholic Church. He got sort of “voted” in as a Saint by the Irish through popular acclaim. As a result the 17th March is the unofficial global “Let’s celebrate Irishness” day- celebrated  all over the world from a week long festival in Dublin, Ireland, a dyed-green river in Chicago, USA and street parades in Sydney, Australia. While St. Patrick’s day is mostly associated with revelry:  Irish bars, drinking and dancing – the 17th of March or “St. Patrick’s day”  is a day which marks the death of a Scottish-born missionary called Patrick – who converted “pagan” Ireland to Catholicism. (And Ireland is still predominantly Roman Catholic to this day). While we all enjoy the festivities, our hard-working Irish missionary would no doubt not approve of the “Paddy’s day” rituals  which are mostly associated with this day. It is a coldy ironic “back, back to the start” kind of Cheryl Cole pagan theme going on. St. Patrick the man and the shamrock (387 – 461 AD):  St. Patrick was born in Kilpatrick, Scotland, 387 AD.  At the age of 14, he was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd sheep. During this time, he developed a strong faith in God – even though Ireland was a so-called “land of pagans and tribes”. He escaped aged 20 after God appeared to him in a dream telling him to leave Ireland by the coast. Being the persuasive fellow, he talked his way onto a ship and some sailors took him to Britain. Another dream told him that the people of Ireland were calling out to him to return to make Ireland holy. He subsequently became a priest, and then a bishop. He returned to Ireland in 433 where he and his disciples succeeded in preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many to Catholicism (and surviving death attempts).  St. Patrick was a missionary in Ireland for 40 years, until he died on March 17, 461. And the shamrock?  While the four-leaved shamrock or “clover” is often associated with the “luck of the Irish”, it was St. Patrick who used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the catholic concept of the “Holy Trinity”, namely the Catholic belief that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit – all in the one entity.  Along with the harp, the shamrock is now considered the national emblem and is used in many logos including aerlingus (the national airline carrier) and the Irish Tourist office. Legend has it that St. Patrick also banished snakes from the island of Ireland. But with Ireland being the lovely, friendly- but rather rainy and not terribly reptile-friendly place – that is debatable. As a good theologian would tell you, snakes are a symbol for paganism. And as the Irish – a nation famous for writers, musicians and entertaining folk generally would be inclined to say, “and sure – why let the truth get in the way of a good story?” Things to do in Zurich this St. Patrick’s Day  Live Music in Paddy Reilly’s  Talstrasse 82  http://www.paddys.ch/zuerich/index.php?section=home  Or Check out Zurich’s newest Irish bar  http://www.kennedys.ch/   Freischuetzgasse 14, 8004 Zurich , Switzerland  Other useful links.  The Irish Week long Festival  (www.stpatricksfestival.ie)

Introducing Classified Ads

As we have had a lot of requests to post or broadcast small ads, we are today trialling a new classified ads service on zurichexpats.com.  This is in beta at the moment so we are not charging a fee, but once fully live, ads can be added for just 5 CHF per month.\r\n  Ads are now fully live and you can post your ad for just 5 CHF per month! Posting an ad requires registration but you can browse the ads without registering.  So, if you have something you want to advertise or sell, please visit our Classified Ads Page. As we are testing this, we very warmly welcome any feedback either by email or in the comments.

The Zurich “Rental Vote”. What Does It Mean?

When people decide to move to Zurich or arrive here there is one thing that most notice right away — it’s expensive. the city is consistently ranked amongst the most expensive in the world. This is not just a fact for expats, but for many Swiss and longterm residents of the city as well. Recent reports about the Bahnhofstrasse have shown that even for old and established businesses the rents have become hard to pay. On Sunday November 25th residents of canton Zurich were asked to vote on a new initiative backed by the Zürcher Mietverband (ZMV — Zurich Renters’ Association). The high influx of people to canton Zurich from the rest of Switzerland, Europe and elsewhere has seen rent prices shoot up, especially in the Limmat city. At present there are two central issues responsible for high rent prices in the city and canton of Zurich. First, there is a very high demand for flats in Zurich. Second, any new and newly renovated flats have been designed for the upper price segment. If one looks on Homegate.ch one will find just under 250 flats in the city of Zurich that are at least 1.5 rooms large and under CHF 2000/month, whereas flats with at least 1.5 rooms and a price starting of CHF 2200/month delivers 675 available flats in the city of Zurich. The two people’s initiatives (Volksinitiative) that were put forth would have required landlords to openly present the rent conditions and price the previous renter paid to new tenants without their explicit request. This is meant to hinder cases like that of Maite Torrente, who took over a lease after subletting the flat and saw the rent go from CHF 1532/month to CHF 1744/month even though the interest rates went down this past year. After having a lawyer get involved the rent was lowered to CHF 1478/month. The ZMV and many others believe that this is unfair and that it should never get to the stage where lawyers are needed in the first place. Furthermore, many looking for flats and the ZMV argue that with the housing shortage many potential tenants are afraid of asking for information because they are so desperate to get into a flat that they don’t want to “start any trouble.” According to Walter Angst from the ZMV tenants have 30 days after signing a lease contract to request any information regarding the previous terms of rent and to request rent reductions. With the two initiatives landlords would need to present that information before hand and thus the onus would be taken off of tenants to defend themselves against unfair rent increases. The initiatives clearly accused Landlords of withholding this information from new tenants. In a recent article in the Tages Anzeiger, it was reported that many tenants from the same house or settlement will not be approved to switch flats, should they be seeking a larger flat or just to move to a flat with a better view, because they have a good idea of what the rent was and/or should be, and will easily spot if the rent has been raised by too much. Landlords are of course allowed to raise their rents, however, this is also controlled. Principally a new building should have no more than 4.25% gross rate of return and older buildings no more than a 2.75% net rate of return. At present if a tenant believes they are being gouged, it is their responsibility to approach the landlord or rental agency and get the arbitration office involved. If the arbitrator cannot help the two sides come to a settlement them further legal procedures may be necessary, however, most landlords will choose to settle outside of court. This takes time and costs money. The first of the initiatives “Rechtschutz für alle (Mietgericht gebührenfrei)” would have made this free for tenants, for which reason the Canton of Zurich has encouraged constituents to vote against the initiative. Zurich voters followed the advice of the canton and votes 60% against the initiative “Rechtschutz für alle (Mietgericht gebührenfrei),” which for the cash strapped canton was a blessing On Wednesday November 21, the ZMV issued an open letter inviting the HEV (Hauseingentümerverband: Home owners association) to meet for a roundtable and work on creating a label of “fair landlords”. The goal of such a label would be that landlords and agencies renting out flats will freely and openly show their tenants, especially new tenants, all of the documents regarding the costs of the building, former rent rates and to freely pass on reductions in interest. It is exactly this that the second ballot item on Sunday also aimed to address, though not with a label, but through making it mandatory. The HEV response was that the ZMV should have suggested this earlier and that they would also like to see a label for good renters. The open letter does make one wonder if there was fear by the ZMV that the issue would not pass the vote. For future renters, the second initiative passed with a 52% majority, however, the new law will not come into effect until November 2013. For their part the people of Zurich tamed the real estate shark (Immo-Hai) without asking the state to bare the costs and have set the ball rolling to ensure that the renting scene in the canton becomes more favourable for those seeking new lease objects. The threat that was put forth by the HEV that voting yes would cause a split between tenants and landlords was unfounded, as the yes simply takes the onus off renters to make sure they are not being taken advantage of. Landlords maintain the right to make a profit and to choose their tenants. At present the best way for renters to protect themselves is by joining the ZMV, which provides legal advice and assistance when dealing with landlords. Christian Langenegger Marathon Sprachen Am Wasser 44 8049 Zürich www.marathonsprachen.com