Clichés make our lives easier. We are all familiar with typical national idiosyncrasies. However, people are often accorded characteristics that are completely inappropriate and far from reality.
Switzerland is a country that stands for wealth, cleanliness and a bourgeois attitude. It is also known for its cosiness, which is not least due to Schwiizerdüütsch. However, there is a huge difference between a Swiss coming from more rural areas, the relaxed cultural city of Basel or the cosmopolitan city of Zurich.
What is the typical native of Zurich like? Do they even exist?
We have got to the bottom of the typical clichés and examine how much they are true.
Zurich natives are straightforward, not arrogant.
The people of Zurich are often accused of this. This is no coincidence: Zurich is cosmopolitan, metropolitan, urban and is very different from the rest of Switzerland. It is comparable to Berlin and the rest of Germany – the Berliners are considered unfriendly and arrogant, just like the Zurichers. In both cities, however, it is simply a certain clarity that the inhabitants have adopted as their own. In Zurich people speak in a straightforward way and usually a little faster than is usually the case in Switzerland. Of course, this also includes the dialect, the famous “Zürischnurre”.
„Zürcher händ a grossi Schnurrä“ (en: Zurichers have big mouths) – That is what the locals say and that is indeed true. People in Zurich are simply convinced that they live in the best city in the world. They are aware of their uniqueness and do not feel the need to explain it in great detail. They are simply one of a kind, full stop. This self-image is often difficult to understand for newcomers. Yet behind it there is more straightforwardness than arrogance. Superficial friendliness, seems artificial and is foreign to Zurich. The people are honest, sincere and helpful.
2. The people of Zurich are not open
People from Zurich are nice and kind – to one another. As a newcomer, there is hardly any chance to make friends in this city. This is reported by many newcomers and expats. However, there is something behind this: the longing for true, deep friendship. For many people, friends are simply company and casual acquaintances – the main thing is that you will not be alone. But for Zurichers, it is all about making true friends – because they last a lifetime. And like all the good things in life, there a true friend cannot be found on every street corner. Conclusion: Of course, newcomers can also make friends with people from Zurich, but only if they take the time to do so. Yes, yes, the proper, punctual Swiss do not do things by halves – this cliché is really true.
3. Mir sind Züri!
Citizens of Zurich feel that they are first and foremost a part of a cosmopolitan city; this distinguishes them from people who are not concerned about where they come from. The people of Zurich are open-minded. Perhaps it is this self-confidence, in connection with a certain affinity to an appealing and cultivated outward appearance (more about this cliché later), that seems arrogant. If the Zurichers were to take themselves as seriously as assumed by outsiders, this arrogance would be ridiculous. But the people of Zurich can laugh at themselves. Irony is their strength and that includes self-mockery.
4. Zurichers do not like Baslers
It is well known that there is rivalry between the two cities. But whether it is Zurich against Basel or rather Basel against Zurich is not quite clear. Both cities are different and therefore not really to be compared. Nevertheless, a Zurich citizen will never move to Basel and vice versa. One might speculate that football is the root cause of this enmity. In the past there was great rivalry between the clubs FCZ and FCB , which has continued and has now shifted to the cities themselves.
5. Zurichers make fun of other dialects
Yes, this is true. There is no way to sugar coat this fact. Or, as the people of Zurich say: „Es git kei Klischee, es is wies isch!“ (en: There are no clichés, it is how it is!” Speaking of dialect and language, a typical Zurich peculiarity is the habit of ending each sentence with “oder” (en: or).
6. The people of Zurich are industrious and clean
This is also true. The Germans, who are always accused of exactly these traits, can take a leaf out of their book…
7. The people of Zurich are always neat and smartly dressed – almost too well dressed
Contrary to what you might think, this is not about showing-off. It is more about a nonchalant coolness that is misunderstood by non-Zurichers as arrogance. In other words: Just like in Berlin, one is rather casually dressed when one is on the move. It is all about casual elegance: designer pieces are only worn occasionally, while cool, unknown labels, hip designers from Zurich, streetwear instead of expensive suits are favoured. Hip and cool, yes, modern and chic, with pleasure. But brand obsession – not so much. Yes, people in Zurich pay attention to their appearance. They do think very intensively about what fashion they are going to wear. But without bragging. Because real Zurichers are above that..
8. Everything is expensive here
Zurich is undoubtedly the most expensive city in the world. There is no denying this. However, most people in Zurich are not so rich that they can afford to live in this expensive city. What can they do then? They stick together. Contrary to preconceived ideas, the people of Zurich are very supportive. Solidarity bargain hunters, to be exact. They advise each other when it comes to finding special offers, discounts and price promotions. Conclusion: A good life in Zurich is possible – even without being rich. All you need is a little wit and “a little help from a Züri-Friend.”
Achieve a perfect move to Zurich
Even if some clichés about Zurich may seem rather discouraging, every city has its pitfalls. Basel, too, is one of those places where you will find some typical features. All in all, Zurich is one of the most beautiful cities to live in Switzerland and, especially if you appreciate the advantages of the city, you will soon feel at home here. We want to facilitate the integration in this city by teaching Swiss German and especially Zurich German in a focused way in our course, so that you will soon feel like a native of Zurich. Why don’t you join the movement today?