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Old 14.08.2019, 21:51
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Where to live in Canton of Schwyz? Best schools?

Hello everyone,
My family (husband and two kids) and I are moving from the US to Canton of Schwyz. We unfortunately don’t speak German or Swiss German well. My husband will be working full time and I will be at home with the kids. It will be helpful for him to be near good transport (train) to other parts of Switzerland and the airport, but he won’t be commuting daily to a specific location. I’d like to live in a vibrant town with everything you need within walking (or biking) distance. Although I do love the mountains (hiking and skiing) I’m generally a city person and love urban environments. I’m looking for a town with great parks and outdoor space as well as food shopping options, farmers markets, etc. What towns in the Canton of Schwyz do you recommend? Why do you like it?

Another very important part of where we live are the schools for our children. Our kids are age 4 and age 6. I’m currently reading “Going Local” to understand the local schools in Switzerland. I do partly understand that there is less variation between schools in Switzerland. That said, does anyone have recommendations of specific schools in Canton of Schwyz for age 4 (pre kindergarten) and age 6 (1st grade/primary)?

Thank you in advanced!

K
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Old 14.08.2019, 22:06
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Re: Where to live in Canton of Schwyz? Best schools?

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Canton of Schwyz.
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I’m generally a city person and love urban environments.
One of these things is not like the other...


OK, being serious:

From the way you write, it sounds like you know very little about Schwyz. If you are not tied to a geographic location, might I ask why you are looking to live there?

The answer to that question will help us give you more relevant advice.


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By the way, if the answer to the above is tax rates, only the Höfe villages really apply. Bezirk March is low(ish) but not really a show stopper... and the rest of the canton is not all that tax attractive.

Unless you have negotiated Pauschalsteuer, of course. In that case, the world - or rather the whole canton - is your oyster. (ETA: the Op mentions her husband working, so not on Pauschalsteuer. Never mind.)

Last edited by meloncollie; 15.08.2019 at 10:18.
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Old 14.08.2019, 22:16
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Re: Where to live in Canton of Schwyz? Best schools?

Einsiedeln might meet your needs. It's a bustling smallish town with a growing expat community that mixes with the locals. The climate is a bit cooler than in the lowlands but the area is stunning and Swiss traditions are still maintained and celebrated. The monastary is the highlight of Einsiedeln but don't think that everyone is deeply religious. In addition, the train connections are quite good to Zürich.

Most people I've talked o quite enjoy their life in Einsiedeln since it's so different from the modern but bland towns along the lake of Zürich.
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Old 14.08.2019, 22:54
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Re: Where to live in Canton of Schwyz? Best schools?

As someone who lives in the most cosmopolitan, urban part of „Canton of Schwyz“, I would suggest living as close as possible in Zurich city to Zurich main station and getting a car for transport to Schwyz as needed. Schwyz is a rural canton and you will find life considerably harder than in Zurich if you don‘t speak German. Train links within the canton aren‘t great either. In rural parts of Switzerland the Postbus is the main mode of public transport.

Zurich will offer most of what you are looking for, as far as it is possible in Switzerland. I don‘t think you‘ll find farmers‘ markets as you know them anywhere here though.
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Old 15.08.2019, 03:51
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Re: Where to live in Canton of Schwyz? Best schools?

Apologies. I said “advanced” and I meant, “Thank you in advance!” My four year old was bugging me to play tennis with him so I was rushed in posting. My post may sound ridiculous (I prefer cities and I will be living in Canton of Schwyz?!). I was attempting to give background on what I generally prefer. That said, I am excited to live in a smaller town. To note, we aren’t choosing to live there for tax reasons. It’s mostly for visas reasons.
Thank you for the town/village suggestions in Canton of Schwyz!
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Old 15.08.2019, 09:20
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Re: Where to live in Canton of Schwyz? Best schools?

A key question is how long you are planning to stay in Switzerland. If you are only planning for a year or two, perhaps an international school or English speaking kindergarten may be best. If you plan to move for the long term, then a local school will definitely be good.

Another issue is how rich you are - if money is not a problem, then you might want to continue an international education for the kids if the end goal in 12 years is an English speaking university anyway. If cash is tight, then definitely a free local education will be helpful, but do not underestimate how different the Swiss system is to the educational experience they will have had to date in US. Moving from a native speaking education environment to being taught in a language which you do not speak at all will require some significant adjustment on their part and a lot of love and support on your part.
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Old 15.08.2019, 10:13
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Re: Where to live in Canton of Schwyz? Best schools?

Ok, given the scant information you've provided:

Without German you will have a softer landing in the Ausserschwyz villages. None fit the picture you paint, but Wollerau (Höfe) probably comes closest. Lachen (March) probably comes in second closest to your description among the Ausserschwyz villages.

But be aware: These are villages. Make no mistake. You will not find your urban, cosmopolitan, hip lifestyle. You will find a nice Schwyzer lifestyle, the lakeside villages all have amenities, you will simply need to adjust your expectations. Most Ausserschwyzer Dorfli are now bedroom suburbs for Zürich city.

If you are into something farther out and not a Zürich suburb - yet - Einsiedeln, as mentioned by Olygirl, is a lovely village. I know there are fellow expats living there, but be aware of how important it is to integrate or at least blend in. In all the time I spend in Einsiedeln - and it's a lot - I've rarely run into anyone willing to speak English outside the Monastery tourism spots. The folks you will need to interact with day to day tend to want you to speak German. There is a great deal of Eidgenoss pride; you would need to start learning German as soon as you arrive. I love Einsiedeln, by the way. I'd move there in a flash if I ever could find a house.

Schwyz, the cantonal capital, is still a village in spirit. Again, definitely not the hip cosmopolitan vibe you are looking for. My impression is that it much more Eidgenoss, it's truly Innerschwyz.

If you are looking for more of a resort feel, Gersau and Küsnacht am Rigi might be worth a look.

None of the Innerschwyz towns have great commuter transportation links to major cities. Sure, you can get there from here (mostly ) but I wouldn't rely on public transportation. Heck, even in my village I need a car, given where I need to go and what I need to do. If you are trying to live car free and still commute to Zürich city and beyond, Ausserschwyz is your best bet, Einsiedeln will be a longer commute but at least it's only one train change.

And again, only Höfe villages are truly tax attractive.

But then, you are coming from the US - are you 'US Persons' in the IRS sense? If so, get tax advice. You might find that low tax rates do not benefit you much when you look at the total tax paid to the US and CH.

---

Honestly - not knowing why you are focusing on canton Schwyz... If you really want a more cosmopolitan lifestyle, with easy commute either by public transportation or car to Zürich and beyond, if low taxes are important... why not look at Zug?
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Old 15.08.2019, 10:16
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Re: Where to live in Canton of Schwyz? Best schools?

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I’m generally a city person and love urban environments. I’m looking for a town with great parks and outdoor space as well as food shopping options, farmers markets, etc. What towns in the Canton of Schwyz do you recommend? Why do you like it?
You need to change (or lower) your expectations. Swiss towns don't really have those lovely big parks seen in U.S, French and U.K. cities. There's not the space nor the cultural history that brought them in existence.

Farmers markets exist on a small scale (Zurich is the exception) but instead you can buy local farm produce directly from a lot of farms (they have little shops attached or honesty boxes).

My favourite shop in canton Schwyz is Bettio's in the Seedam Center, Pfaffikon. It's small but it has so much!
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Old 15.08.2019, 11:03
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Re: Where to live in Canton of Schwyz? Best schools?

For the best shopping, transport, restaurant and entertainment options I would live in Pfäffikon.

The train station is a regional hub with direct trains to the airport. There is a village supermarket, discount supermarket, cheese shop and two butchers and bakers. As well as that there is the largest shopping mall in the area (which is tiny compared to American ones). There are a couple of nice restaurants on the lake, two Michelin starred restaurants in walking distance, other restaurants, a few bars and a casino. Also plenty of countryside readily accessible and some nice walks. Some people don’t like it, as it looks quite industrial as you drive through it on the main road, but there are nice places away from the road. By local standards it is highly international and has a number of international firms and hedge funds based there, so English is more readily accepted than other places in Schwyz. It is still a world away from Zurich in terms of things to do, diversity and English speaking.

Having said that, Lachen as already mentioned, is a nicer, prettier town with a great ambiance. It’s also on the lake and is only 8 minutes by train from Pfäffikon. Wollerau is prettier than Pfäffikon, but is away from the lake and takes a connection to get onto the main train line. There doesn’t seem to be much going on there either from my experience.
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