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Old 13.05.2015, 12:52
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Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

Can anyone please advise me on whether I can bring wall and ceiling lights and a washing machine and a tumble dryer from the UK and fit them easily in Switzerland? I know the plugs are different there and will need adaptors for the machines, but is there anything else I need to be aware of?

Are there any electrical shops near the borders (in EU countries) that might sell appliances with Swiss compatible electricals and is the import duty on them also 8%? I assume this will be better value than buying in Switzerland?

I also read somewhere that if you're furnishing a property from abroad, you can bring in up to 200 litres of alcohol- does anyone know if that is correct?

Also, are bed sizes (king and super-king) the same in Switzerland for getting linen there and are IKEA prices the same as EU countries/ UK?

Many thanks!
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Old 13.05.2015, 13:47
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

Unless you get a single-family house, having your own wasching maschine and tumble dryer here is not the norm. I think you would need some approval to install them in an apartment. Look around for threads about laundry and communal wasching schedule - they make for a light and enjoyable reading (from the outside).
Sure there are appliances stores across the borders in neighbouring countries, but wouldn't they be a bit hard to reach from Fiesch? That would hardly worth the hassle. Check out www.galaxus.ch for typical (that I know of) CH prices in appliances.
200l of alcohol? Are you really considering this figure? Wine is pretty decently priced here.
Ikea prices are much higher than UK. Check www.ikea.ch also for mattreses, duvets and pillows dimensions.

Be also prepared for some feathers' ruffling as you did not do proper forum research before asking. There are many people who shared here their experience of moving UK->CH or about shopping abroad. There are tons of information that you don't even yet know you need.

Best of luck with your move!
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Old 13.05.2015, 14:05
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

Thank you, this is very helpful. Apologies for any misdemeanours as it's my first time on a forum and I'm finding my feet, but I will try to find the information.

The building has a communal wash room but the apartment itself also has a small room fitted out for installing a washing machine. I didn't realise you'd need permission!

Regarding appliances, I had thought of picking them up in France or Germany on our way over, as we're coming with a van with our furniture. I anticipated it would be cheaper with the euro.
I thought wine was also much more expensive in Switzerland, though excellent quality of course. I had thought of stocking up in a French supermarket en route! I just need to find information on what we can bring in.

Many thanks again
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Old 13.05.2015, 14:08
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

Actually wine, because of the low VAT here, is pretty cheap although you'll get a bigger range in France. Denner is a low cost supermarket and they have a decent range at pretty low prices.
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Old 13.05.2015, 14:17
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

Bring on small items, like iron, ironing board, hair dryer, lamps, etc. When you move in, there is a special customs form you need to fill in where you declare what items you bring with you. As long as they are 6 months old, you will not pay the import tax (the 8% VAT) on them. So if you buy something on the way from France / Germany it's a good idea to remove the labels and packaging before entering the country; prepare an empty box for them in your van.
I wouldn't know if there are different limits on alcohol when you move in. Spirirts are the most expensive items here compared to the other countries.
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Old 13.05.2015, 14:17
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

When you arrive in Switzerland you can bring with you your personal belongings - tax and duty free including any alcohol you have.

You could ofcourse stop in France buy 200l of wine before you arrive - but when declaring at the border you'll have to be careful. The customs officers will get jolly suspicious if they open your van and see case after case of wine stacked. They may question whether this is your personal belongings OR wine that is subject to duty.

You may get away with it being "belongings" but they then may spend 4 hours going through your van checking everything - ensuring it matches the inventory you have completed and making you fill out every form them can find. And this is Switzerland - there are a lot of forms.

The general rule of thumb is "don't take the piss". If you stop and but a dozen bottles of champagne you're unlikely to have a problem, if you bring in 30 bottles of half drunk scotch you're not going to raise a red flag.

There is something to be said for arriving ahead of ALL your belongings - when I arrived I stuffed the car full of "first month" stuff - and then went back to get the rest 6 weeks later.
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Old 13.05.2015, 14:23
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

Thank you all for these answers, they're very helpful.

Any others welcome, especially about white goods and light fittings and whether UK ones are compatible. Thanks!
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Old 13.05.2015, 14:27
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

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Thank you all for these answers, they're very helpful.

Any others welcome, especially about white goods and light fittings and whether UK ones are compatible. Thanks!
Electrically they are compatible, but you can't find UK style bayonet light bulbs here so make sure you have screw fittings (or bring loads of bulbs). Re the washing machine you may need to fit a different water connector, but that shouldn't be too difficult.
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Old 13.05.2015, 14:30
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

Thank you again
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Old 13.05.2015, 14:31
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

We're still using our fridge we brought from the UK 12 years ago. Except for changing the plugs, there's no issue. The voltage and frequency of electricity is standard across (most of) Europe. We also have lights from the UK - the only issue there is that bayonet bulbs aren't easy to find.
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Old 13.05.2015, 14:58
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

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I thought wine was also much more expensive in Switzerland,
The confusion might be this, if buying wine//beers/ spirits from Supermarket, you will be amazed at how reasonable it is to buy by box of 6 wines, especially compared to UK.

However when you drink out, expect to pay for a glass what you pay for a bottle or perhaps twice what you pay for a bottle in a shop. Many wine drinkers look at the prices in the shops, as different wines come up at promotion prices each week. Denner also have promotions different days of the year when they reduce all wine by by 10 or 20%.

20 years ago spirits were expensive, but have come down.

look a the wein shop in denner.ch or coopathome.ch

I was taken aback at your first post bringing 200 litres & thought perhaps you had that in stock in the UK!
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Old 13.05.2015, 15:07
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

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I was taken aback at your first post bringing 200 litres & thought perhaps you had that in stock in the UK!
In my case, I didn't have quite 200l, but I did have a well-stocked cellar to import. It was only a minor hassle -- the biggest issue is that the alcohol all needs to be inventoried independently (you can't just write "200 bottles wine"). My removal company was familiar with the procedure and it was no problem.

From memory, you could not import open bottles (eg, remaining spirits). But I'm old, and my memory is foggy.
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Old 13.05.2015, 15:08
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

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There is something to be said for arriving ahead of ALL your belongings - when I arrived I stuffed the car full of "first month" stuff - and then went back to get the rest 6 weeks later.
Is there an advantage? We loaded everything we owned into a lorry, dropped the keys for our house which we had just sold through the letter box and drove here.

I don't think we could have made it any easier.
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Old 13.05.2015, 15:13
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

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Is there an advantage? We loaded everything we owned into a lorry, dropped the keys for our house which we had just sold through the letter box and drove here.

I don't think we could have made it any easier.
Very much so in my case - I was in a temporary flat for 1 month - while I found somewhere to live. It was bad enough repacking the "first month stuff" let alone having to do more. If I had moved over straight I would have bought stuff that I didn't need (Fridge, washing machine, dishwasher) which was sold back in the UK instead.

I also came over with lots of unfinished bottles of spirits - I was asked what I had - and showed them the inventory inclulding the section on alcolhol - they just waved me through.
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Old 13.05.2015, 15:15
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

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Very much so in my case - I was in a temporary flat for 1 month - while I found somewhere to live. It was bad enough repacking the "first month stuff" let alone having to do more. If I had moved over straight I would have bought stuff that I didn't need (Fridge, washing machine, dishwasher) which was sold back in the UK instead.
That's fair enough and a good point.

Moving once is enough. Although we did do it again a year after we moved here!
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Old 13.05.2015, 15:35
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

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Electrically they are compatible, but you can't find UK style bayonet light bulbs here so make sure you have screw fittings (or bring loads of bulbs). Re the washing machine you may need to fit a different water connector, but that shouldn't be too difficult.
ahem, I 'm too lazy to do the search but there was a thread some while back where somebody pointed out there are some shops here that do stock bayonet bulbs.

But of you've got space in the van, you can save yourself some hassle by bringing your own stock.

I don't have many bayonet lamps myself but for the ones I do I generally bring a handful of spares whenever I'm in the UK and remember (although mostly I forget).

Also, concerning white goods, most rental appartments here have fully equipped kitchens so there should already be a fridge etc.
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Old 13.05.2015, 15:38
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

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That's fair enough and a good point.

Moving once is enough. Although we did do it again a year after we moved here!
I basically packed up the UK - clearing a load of stuff and then boxing the rest up into storage. I took over what was going to be useful in the first month (the joys of a Volvo Estate with roof rack!!) and kept the rest in storage. This allowed me to get a better feel what needed to come over - and what could be sold. I then hired a trailer here - drove back, filled up, and returned. It doesn't work for everyone though.

As for stopping on the way over to do a big shop (back to the OP's question) - don't bother. The last thing you'll want to do is trek round a supermarket for an hour. You can buy food somewhere when you arrive and you'll be able to muddle through for a day or so without too many worries.
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Old 13.05.2015, 15:41
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

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20 years ago spirits were expensive, but have come down.
True, and there's much more choice too.
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Old 13.05.2015, 15:57
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

Thanks
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Old 14.05.2015, 16:19
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Re: Importing electrical appliances and alcohol

Beware with the washing machine. The problem isn't the voltage, but the current. Most UK washing machines will be single-phase 13-16 A. Single phase outlets in Switzerland are generally rated at 10 A. Depending on how your new place is wired, you're going to end up triping the fuses.
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