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Old 04.12.2011, 00:12
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Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

Having recently (as in less than a week) moved to Switzerland with my gf, we immediately started searching for our new flat. We wanted something comfy, roomy and with a view one something green (anything would be an improvement over our last appartment/city).

Anyway, long story short, we came to search outside Zurich center since nothing seemed right there and visited two appartments in small villages around Birmensdorf. Getting car seems to be required now (for groceries) but we don't mind since the rent is more than affordable.

However, having read some posts here (not so many for these parts from what I've found), I was kind of having second thoughts. My gf hasn't yet found a job (she will be moving in on the 2nd quarter of the year anyway) and we feel that she needs to learn german in order to do so. I have read that people might not been very open-minded regarding non swiss-german speakers, and I was wondering if you can share your experience if you live around those parts.

I really loved the quiet and view we had from these appartments and I do not really consider searching elsewhere, but a heads up on what really to expect would be nice.


Thanks for your help!
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Old 04.12.2011, 00:33
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

Btw, I checked also information available for Birmensdorf but I was more interested in Aesch and Stallikon to be precise...
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Old 04.12.2011, 01:42
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

If its raw numbers you're after, the statistical website of the canton of Zurich is absolutely excellent - might be a bit dry but you'll find more information than you ever though existed. Quite hand for your sorts of problems is the "Gemeindevergleiche" tool:

http://www.statistik.zh.ch/internet/justiz_inneres/statistik/de/statistiken/daten/gemeindeportraet.html

You can compare any Gemeinde to any other. Or to the areas or the cantonal average. So it will tell you for example, that Aesch has a much higher percentage of SVP voters (43.2%) than the cantonal average of 29.8%. Stallikon on the other hand is only a little bit above average with 33%.

Not surprisingly, Aesch also only voted 10% SP - half the cantonal average at the last election.

but you also find other cool stuff. Like that out of the 1034 Inhabitants of Aesch only 273 also work there 424 commute away every day, 155 of which by train.

Interestingly the water usage per capita for Stallikon is nearly 1/3 below the cantonal average. Wonder what they do there... Maybe they don't shower much.
Oh and the percentage of foreigners in Stallikon is 17%, but only 10% in Aesch - both much lower than the 24% average of Zurich Canton...

Anyway, I think you get the idea. A bit of German might help I suppose. Lots of fun stuff to find out about little places in amazing detail!

Keep in mind though that this is just raw data and should be taken with a (big) grain of salt. If the local village hero competed in the Mr. Switzerland competition last year and now ran for parliament with SVP that would bring up their quota massively without the associated right-wing extremism.

Or if someone opens a cleaning business, the water useage data might suggest they actually shower just as much as the rest of us do, which we all know is just a hoax
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Old 04.12.2011, 09:37
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

We lived 15 years in a village near Birmensdorf. Expect your conversations with the locals to consist of "Grueze", "Danke, and "Aufwiderluege" for the first 10 years. Without speaking Swiss German and being an active member of a local club (which requires the former), your only in will be if you have kids who befriend other local kids. Then you may get lucky and be invited over by their parents eventually. Otherwise, enjoy the quiet, the scenery, and relatively quick drive into Zurich.
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Old 04.12.2011, 11:07
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

@tomberli: I had seen some stats indeed, but only the number of foreigners (which was 55 to 2000 inhabitants for Stallikon I think). However, you've provided with more which kind of gives some more information, thanks!

@Karl: To be honest, we weren't exactly very much into getting to know every neighbor even on our previous location (no language issues there), but I wouldn't want to face constant strange, pointing-fingers, unfriendly kind of behaviors. It seems weird/impossible to me that such things are possible, especially when we're so near a big cosmopolitan city as Zurich, but having read some posts here made me think a bit.

I'm currently also trying to see a very nice flat (the best I've seen on the internet) located in Birmensdorf (which would mean 'no car required', groceries and overall services at walking distance, train, etc.) but I think that it's on ground floor and the images provided are not exactly correct... We'll see...


Thank you for the comments, and keep them coming .
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Old 04.12.2011, 14:20
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

Depending on what you want your future to be like (marriage, kids vs. no kids etc.) I can highly recommend Urdorf (next to Birmensdorf). It has much more infrastructure and activities/clubs for kids, excellent train connections, a big Migros, English Pub, restaurants and fantastic outdoor swimming pool. Far superior to what Birmensdorf (or even worse, Stallikon) has to offer.
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Old 04.12.2011, 16:55
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

We've lived in Birmensdorf for the past 5 years and I find it really great. Quiet but yet still so close to the city. Also regular buses, even the night bus goes all the way to Birmensdorf Sternen (where we live). The night train runs to Birmensdorf also. Stallikon and Aesch have not so regular bus schedules and for us, being a young couple that is surely something to consider as a taxi from the city costs an arm and a leg !!!
If you're into nature it's also a bonus, also really close to Luzern now due to the new tunnel. Generally all the villages out here are scenic and quiet and really safe too.
We have a Denner and a Coop service station just down the road too and I'm not sure that Stallikon and Aesch have much in the way of a convenience store...
Kind of sounding like I'm trying to sell it up.... ah well, food for thought....

Good luck
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Old 04.12.2011, 17:15
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

@Karl: I didn't check Urdorf to be honest. Having searched a bit, there are not so many offers that match my criteria. Moreover, the proximity of the highway kind of scares me. We visited a flat last week that was far from the highway but could still hear it clearly... We also don't mind moving in 4, 5 years, when the children activities will kind of become an issue.

@Chrisso: Well I would love to find something nice at Birmensdorf, as it would solve the small issues that we have now and would still be a better option than the center (for us). The nightbus surely is a plus too... I found three places that I would like to visit next week. I hope I'll find time though (starting my new job on Monday kind of makes it seem difficult).
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Old 04.12.2011, 18:55
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

Stallikon does not have a shop (anymore/yet).
The last one closed down about a year ago or so.

There's:
- a bakery
- a post-office
- a butcher (renowned for quality, though)
- a blacksmith (yeah, really)
- a restaurant
- not much more (don't know the specifics about Kindergarten/Primarschule)

The bus-schedule on the weekends is a bit thin, yes.
But at least, there's a night-bus.
Regular service during peak-hours is excellent, though IMO.

I wouldn't worry about being or feeling unwelcome. At least, not more than in any other town.
Tax-rate is one of the lowest and the town recently moved up a big notch in the "Weltwoche" "best town to live in"-rating.
Mostly because it's so close to Zurich, has low taxes and housing is still sort-of affordable for families.
You'll find plenty of expats.

IMO, a short commute is worth a lot. Especially, if the rent is still affordable.
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Old 04.12.2011, 18:55
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

Generally speaking Switzerland is a friendly place and I don't think you'll get much finger pointing going on just for not speaking the language. As with everywhere you can be unlucky and move into a building with the odd idiot (normally pointing out rules and rubbing your nose in it) but normally people keep themselves to themselves.

I'm not so far from Birmensdorf/Stallikon and you should be fine there. Stallikon I believe recently received some mentions about being the best place to live in Switzerland, but I don't remember why.
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Old 04.12.2011, 20:18
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

I have lived in a small village (not near Birmensdorf) for 14 years & found people to be friendly. Many people like to practice English. My Hoch Deutsch (now) is OK but I do not have much Swiss German.

Bin "per du" with many people including most of the Gemeinderat.
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Old 04.12.2011, 20:51
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

Well, this is all very good news. I saw an ad for renting the space where the small shop used to be (still visible on Google stree view ). Anyway, this is great info, thanks a lot!

I guess I'll check the flats I have listed in Birmensdorf and decide then.

Anyway, my non-swiss german is good enough for me to communicate with the kreisbuero and the bank, so I guess I'll be fine; as for my gf, well that will surely give her one more reason to speed up the learning process .


Thank you all for your valuable comments!
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Old 05.12.2011, 09:50
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

Are you two a young couple without children? Do NOT move there. It is very, very quiet and very boring. Your GF will have nothing to do all day while you are at work. It is not all that convenient to get into the city either. Try harder to find a place in Zurich proper.
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Old 05.12.2011, 11:28
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

My family have lived in Urdorf for the past two years. I do think though that if we didn't have two small children though we would have been in the city.
That said, it's a great location to get into the city. Four trains an hour or a short drive.

It is a nice area and it's lovely in the summer. Urdorf has an excellent lido and so does Birmensdorf.
My wife speaks German which helped with the integration (left up to me we would have had no chance, my language skillz are shiesse!), plus, the kids are always a good way to meet folk.
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Old 05.12.2011, 11:39
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

Hello, may I suggest you also look at Mettmenstetten/ Knonau area. They have the small village feel, but with great rail connections to Zurich, Zug etc.
Good luck with the move
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Old 05.12.2011, 11:41
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

Have you tried Wettswil or Bonstetten? Although quiet little towns, I find the people very open and friendly (although I do have kids and can speak the language so I'm sure that helps). I always hear lots of English, Spanish, German etc. We've lived in several different places, but this area is by far the best in terms of friendliness and open-mindedness.
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Old 05.12.2011, 11:53
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

Quote:
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Are you two a young couple without children? Do NOT move there. It is very, very quiet and very boring. Your GF will have nothing to do all day while you are at work. It is not all that convenient to get into the city either. Try harder to find a place in Zurich proper.
About " Your GF will have nothing to do all day while you are at work. "

I am sure we boys could help out
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Old 05.12.2011, 20:20
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

I live in Birmensdorf, and a really good friend lives in Stallikon. Both excellent, quiet scenic places. My German is basic and I haven't had any drama as far as unfriendliness or blending in. If anything, not being in downtown Zurich makes me try harder when I am at the post office and gemeinde, so living here has helped my German.

I wouldn't live anywhere else but Stallikon if I didn't live in Birmensdorf. I love how quiet and forest-y woods-y it is yet still only 15 mn from Zurich.

Services wise, like another poster said, there is no store left in Stallikon but there is a post office. if you live in Stallikon you either wind up going to Bonstetten, Birmensdorf or Zurich Triemli for grocery shopping, which can be a PITA on weekends or at night. The Birmensdorf Coop is open until 8 pm tho. Stallikon has super low taxes and some magazine just voted it one of the nicest places to live in Zurich canton.

Like another poster said, mettmenstetten and knonau are cute too. The nice thing about being in this area is that it is a good commuting distance to either Zurich or Zug.
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Old 05.12.2011, 21:46
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

Well, as far as being bored is concerned, we will be at 25, 30 mn from Zurich so she can always go there rather easily. Leaving in a distant Kreis would have the same effect, wouldn't it? And eventually she will get a job.

Regarding the shopping issue, we will certainly get a car, so that kind of solves it.

Quote:
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About " Your GF will have nothing to do all day while you are at work. "

I am sure we boys could help out
That would a waste of your time. Probably better off sticking to your faithful PALMela Anderson
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Old 12.12.2011, 10:14
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Re: Living in a small village near Birmensdorf (ZH). What is it like?

Actually Birmensdorf has an amazing outdoor pool. It's lush with many pools, a slide, diving pool, volleyball pitch and other games, gardens and even a BBQ area.
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