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Old 21.03.2019, 14:32
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Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

Hi everyone.

I have just joined the forum, having decided to take a job offer and move to Switzerland in June. The office will be in Zug (no surprise). I have 4.5 years old who currently is in very costly private nursery in London.

I have been reading different threads in this forum, which have helped me a lot to have a better understanding of what to expect (and not) in Switzerland.

However, some of the threads are very old, or at best, goes back to mid/late 2018 – so I thought to ask the questions which have been bugging me and see if I can use the experience of members here.

My first concern is where should we look for place to live. Wife is insisting to live in Zurich, as she is concerned about access to shopping centres, restaurants, and the buzz. But we both know that unlikely we will get a value for money on housing, and commute will be an issue too. My initial thoughts are somewhere (preferably a house) between Zurich and Zug, so we (especially wife) can visit Zurich being around shops/brands and restaurants, and I would be close to office. I understand that we can more or less expect the same green lands in Switzerland as we see in North West London. However, it seems in some areas you will need to drive to another town to have dinner in a restaurant. Also, some areas seem to be in higher grounds, making it difficult to commute during winter. I would prefer to avoid too high hills as I cycle few days a week to work, and ideally would want to do that all week, weather permitting, on a more or less flat grounds!

Then another concern will be school. From what I have understood so far, my son should start sometime in August (compared to September in UK), so I am a bit worried if we will manage to find a bilingual school in close proximity, to allow as smoothly transition as reasonably possible for him, to communicate in English and start learning German. Should I consider private school in the beginning for smooth transition, or I am just being too worried about him?

Many thanks
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Old 21.03.2019, 14:41
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

A short opinion.... arrive and live in Zurich. As long as you are relatively close to the main railway station, and your Zug office is within easy reach of Zug bahnhof, you should be looking at around 50 mins to 1 hour commute on public transport each way each day. By this, I mean, say within 15 minutes of the station by tram, which covers most of Zurich city.

If buzz is important to your wife, there is most in Zurich, little in Zug, and approximately none in any small towns in between. Someone else will no doubt be along shortly to tell you that Zug has plenty of buzz but I will respectfully disagree. You have to think about your wife in this move, trust me. If, after a year, you want to move to Zug, no one is stopping you.

Have you both been out to Zurich and Zug to see the lie of the land and get a feel for it?

Regarding your cycling question, the route Zurich to Zug is not great for cycling unfortunately, although it is doable.

Schools, there are plenty of relevant threads, use the search button again first.

I have lived in Zurich and commuted to Zug for several years, it is quite doable as long as each side is close to the station.
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Old 21.03.2019, 15:19
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

Take your wife and son and fly over for a Weekend. Walk around Zurich. Take a Train from Zurich to Zug (fast Train one way). walk around Zug. Take a commuter Train (not a fast Train) i.e. the S24 and get off at Thalwil at least. Walk around. Rent a car and drive around Zug on the nice day. Then decide where you will want to live. Then check www.homegate.ch for Options. A house will be very difficult unless your pay is very high. Don't move before your wife is willing to move. Call the bilingual Schools and ask if they have still availabilities (I doubt it).


Sorry if this sounds rather harsh but why anyone with a family would accept a Job in Switzerland if you have never been here withouth visiting first is beyond me!
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Old 21.03.2019, 15:30
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

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I would prefer to avoid too high hills as I cycle few days a week to work, and ideally would want to do that all week, weather permitting, on a more or less flat grounds!
Move to the Netherlands, then, such terrain is not to be found here.

Tom
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Old 21.03.2019, 15:36
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

We have different taxes depends on where you live (this will change even Zurich city to Zurich airport). Rents are also according to the taxes you pay. Example high tax area has less rent and other way around. In my view Zug has very less taxes as compared to Zurich city.
You should check taxes on comparis.ch website is available in English.
https://en.comparis.ch/steuern/steuervergleich/default

Regarding the school. My son studies in SIS (Swiss international school) which is a German and English school (two days German and two days in English). If you want to send your child to public school, send any one they are almost same (all of them are very good).

In my view, you should live near to your child’s school.
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Old 21.03.2019, 15:49
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

Taxes are a component but unless you are a very high earner, are somewhat offset by higher rental prices in zug vs zurich. At least, that is how it used to be.

Worth doing a computation though, if you are earning say > 140k. And yep, central zurich is higher than the surrounds.
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Old 21.03.2019, 20:08
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

Hello,
My advice to you is to live in Zug as they have low taxes in that Canton and to send your child to the local school. Their education is better than in a private school (my opinion as a teacher). You have to wait, however, until your kid is 6 if I remember right. We went to Zug from London (we are French) about 7 years ago. The company paid for a relocation company but frankly they not very useful. I found myself accommodation. Speaking some German was useful. The best thing we did was to stay in the Canton of Zug. We sent our daughter, who was four at the time, in a private school but it was very costly and really not worth it. I would not recommend any international or British schools in this country. Their so called inspections are a farce. This is of course our experience and opinion. Good luck with your project.
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Old 22.03.2019, 14:47
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

I would look at both Thalwil and Horgen. Thalwil has the best rail connections to both Zurich and Zug (its about 10 minutes both ways on the Zurich-Luzern train) and is popular with ex-pats from the UK & Ireland. Both Thalwil and Horgen also have good state schools and great access to the lake for summer swimming. While taxes will be higher than Zug, both Horgen and Thalwil will have lower taxes than other towns in Zurich.

Also, don't worry about a smooth transition for your son. We moved from London to Zug when my daughter was 3 and she's now 5 and speaking fluent Swiss German and loving kindergarden. Kids pick up languages so quickly at that age and adapt right away. I remember our daughter's first day in nursery and the girls just started speaking German to her and she had no problem.
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Old 26.03.2019, 18:36
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

Thanks so much for your comments. Apologies for not getting back earlier, as I was away finalizing the terms for the job.

I do appreciate your views, they are really helpful in this chaotic world of internet and sporadic views from people around you. We have been in Switzerland before, I have visited Zurich and Lugano for business, and Zurich and St Gallen for holidays. But surely these visits would never give us a workable view for living there. When you are on business trip or holidays, you look at things differently, or not look at all.

We have decided to visit Zurich and Zug for few days. Take the train, and go around. Hopefully book to see some properties in both locations, and explore as much as we can.

Also thank you for your comments on Schools. My heart is with state schools, but having only one child, we are feeling a bit scared with a new environment, friends and another language.

I have couple of questions on some comments which I will ask separately.

Many thanks again
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Old 26.03.2019, 18:40
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

Thanks. Does it mean she picked up the language in Kindergarten? I also get from the other message, that school start age is 6? which means my son should go be going to kindergarten for another two years...and I should really be thinking about the cost of kindergarten. Believe kindergarten was French for your daughter then, and I have to look for English ones?
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Old 26.03.2019, 19:37
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

My daughter went into nursery (called Kita here) as my wife was working as well. She learned Swiss-German (or should I say Züri-Deutsche) in the nursery and is now in kindergarten where she also speaks Swiss-German with the other kids and the teacher. The kids do 2 years' of kindergarten, from 4-6, and then they go to official school. Kita's are expensive and we paid CHF 120/day which works out at around CHF 2,600 per month. It is tax deductible however. Although expensive, I think it has been a great investment as our daughter has many Swiss friends and speaks the lingo which should help her to integrate into society and have a social circle which is so crucial from a young age here.

Good idea to come over for a few days. The weather is getting really nice and it's great to walk around outside and see both cities. Good luck with the decision.
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Old 26.03.2019, 19:39
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

Good to hear that you will a visiting trip. It won't answer all your Questions but it is a good start.


Your daughter is of School age (Kindergarten is part of the mandatory schooling). So if your wife does not work and you only Need to free Hours you won't pay anything in a state run Kindergarten. Which one she will attend will be decided by the Government (usually the one closest). If you want an English one you will have to pay. If you want her to attend a local School, send her to a regular Kindergarten as well. This will give her time to learn the language and get to know some of the Children who she will go to School with. It's a perfect age to start as they pick up a new language quickly.


Good luck with your move!
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Old 27.03.2019, 18:34
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

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access to shopping centres, restaurants, and the buzz
Zurich simply won't compare to London for this. Now you can go to Zurich in order to get as much of this as possible but comparisons may come up short... to use some English understatement. It's still a nice place with stunning scenery, with four pronounced seasons including a glorious summer which beats London so there's lots to enjoy... but a bit less city buzz so bare this in mind, it's a quieter place with other enjoyments.
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Old 28.03.2019, 11:31
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

Hi

Have you considered to relocate with a relocation company ?

One year ago I had the same porblem, so I decided to choose a relocation comapny which helpd me a lot. I told them what I was looking for and they found the perfect place for me close to Zurich. I think they had an office in Zug and Zurich....
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Old 29.03.2019, 12:04
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

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Hi

Have you considered to relocate with a relocation company ?

One year ago I had the same porblem, so I decided to choose a relocation comapny which helpd me a lot. I told them what I was looking for and they found the perfect place for me close to Zurich. I think they had an office in Zug and Zurich....
Hi. Relocation is another topic for us. We have to go through everything and decide what we should send down to Switzerland, as for instance we hear furniture is much more expensive in Switzerland. But I think we will surely use a removal company. Can you please let me know which company you used?

We bought brand new car back in mid 2018, under finance, which we have to return and take the early repayment penalty, and buy another car in Switzerland, as there seems to be no way we can take advantage of import duties exemption applicable to one car...
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Old 29.03.2019, 16:53
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

I vote for Sihlbrugg. Has lots of life (i.e. all kinds of entertainment including being close to the KitKat club, a once famous French restaurant), bowling alleys and car dealers for a new car. Cycling to Zug is relatively easy as is cycling to Zurich. Lots of gasstations for petrol and that evening snack. And a McDonalds for the little one.



On a more serious note, i can recommend Crown Relications.
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Old 29.03.2019, 17:00
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

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Hi. Relocation is another topic for us. We have to go through everything and decide what we should send down to Switzerland, as for instance we hear furniture is much more expensive in Switzerland. But I think we will surely use a removal company. Can you please let me know which company you used?

We bought brand new car back in mid 2018, under finance, which we have to return and take the early repayment penalty, and buy another car in Switzerland, as there seems to be no way we can take advantage of import duties exemption applicable to one car...
I know how exhausting a relocation can be, but everything has its end. The company which helped me a lot called Schmid Relocation it is located in Zug and Zurich.
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Old 29.03.2019, 23:16
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

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Move to the Netherlands, then, such terrain is not to be found here.

Tom
Got to love Tom's remarks!
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Old 30.03.2019, 07:40
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

So my background:


7 (or so) years living just outside of the 'city' of Zug, in Walchwil. Moved from London, married with a 4 year old. I have worked in Zurich, but have worked in Zug for the last 5 years. My wife initially didn't work, but now works in Zurich.


When we first arrived it was true that areas with the lowest tax had the highest rental and vice versa, but this isn't necessarily the case anymore, especially comparing Zug (Canton) to Zurich. My company is moving from Zug to Zurich in a year and I have been looking for something comparable to what we have here at a similar price and it's impossible. (So basically I would have a double hit: much higher taxes and invariably more rent, if I want something comparable)


So Zug or Zurich?

1. A big consideration is if your wife will be working or not? If not, Zug can feel very isolating, unless your wife is very 'outdoorsy', in which case there is a lot she can experience

2. For bringing up kids, I would always go for Zug, which feels more child friendly. (Although this is my subjective feeling, as I have never lived in Zurich)


3. Travel to work is a very big consideration. My commute is an absolute joy and I'm grateful every day. My wife, on the other hand, complains all the time about the commute


4. House or apartment? Unless you are earning 'big bucks' any houses will likely be in 'the sticks' and, if in 'Zurich', will make your commute misery and will likely be no closer than Zug from 'the big smoke' (Remember that Zug to Zurich is only 20 minutes on the train)

5. Cycling? If you are in Zurich, forget it. (Perhaps doable from the west side of the lake? Thalwil etc? Someone will need to advise!) Zug, however, would be perfect. I often cycle around the lake to get to work and back. (40 clicks, flat, beautiful views)


Don't underestimate the tax savings between cantons, which could fund several very nice holidays a year. Also, have you considered Luzern? It's a beautiful city, much larger than Zug with more of what your wife might want and a much easier commute to Zug and not too bad to Zurich.


Anyway, hope this was helpful, but please feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions.


Nick
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Old 30.03.2019, 08:46
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Re: Moving from London to Switzerland - Advice on housing and school

COMPLETELY AGREE with this suggestion!

Switzerland is not England and Zurich and Zug are not at all like London.

If you are looking for something like England and something like London, then you and your family are not ready for a move to Switzerland. Forget the job and stay in London.


If your move here is going to be successful, your whole family has to buy in to the move and to do that you need to really research, discover and explore Switzerland and what life would be like here.


We moved from London in 2011 and it was the BEST thing EVER for our family! Admittedly, our situation is quite different, but we are ALL SO HAPPY that we moved here and we could never ever move back to London!

Just things to REALLY consider here:
-Taxes (your location does make a HUGE difference)

-School and school location (and I agree you should live near the school - it will REALLY help your child adapt and develop friendships. Also, important is the school's proximity to your work. If you want to be involved with your child's life, then you should be there for the various school events and an hour commute will not make this easy.


-Activities that you like - biking, swimming, tennis, football, etc... use these to help drive your location. (the less driving the better as far as I am concerned...)


Personally, EASE of COMMUTE is super important. There are lots of really nice places around ZUG and once you move here you will find your own community and activities and a lot of your life will revolve around your child and the activities that you as a family choose.

My family? Our activities are ice hockey (now in a BIG WAY!), tennis, biking, paddleboarding, swimming and skiing.

All the best!

-D





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Take your wife and son and fly over for a Weekend. Walk around Zurich. Take a Train from Zurich to Zug (fast Train one way). walk around Zug. Take a commuter Train (not a fast Train) i.e. the S24 and get off at Thalwil at least. Walk around. Rent a car and drive around Zug on the nice day. Then decide where you will want to live. Then check www.homegate.ch for Options. A house will be very difficult unless your pay is very high. Don't move before your wife is willing to move. Call the bilingual Schools and ask if they have still availabilities (I doubt it).


Sorry if this sounds rather harsh but why anyone with a family would accept a Job in Switzerland if you have never been here withouth visiting first is beyond me!
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