Thursday, May 06, 2010

Dear Frau: Where should I live in Zurich?

Welcome to another edition of Dear Frau. It's kind of like Dear Abby, except with an international twist. If you have a question, be sure to contact the Frau and maybe your little Frage will be in the next Dear Frau.

Dear Frau,

I'm moving to Zurich with my husband in August. My husband and I will be working in Adliswil (very close to Kreis 2). If you have any tips on cool areas to look for an apartment that would be very handy.



Dear Homeless,

Wilkommen! First off, it’s great that you are looking ahead of time. Finding an apartment in Zurich is not for the faint of heart, as vacancy is usually less than 1% and it’s not unusual for 600 people to show up for one little apartment open house.

Never fear. You will find something. Everyone does. Homelessness is not a problem in der Schweiz.

As far as “cool areas” in Zurich, that depends on your definition of cool. The Frau doesn’t pretend to be cool, after all, she lives in Canton Aargau, 15 whole miles west of Zurich (can you imagine living that far out?!), and goes around town with a little orange IKEA cart filled with plastic bottles.

But some people she knows are cool so here’s what she’s learned:

If cool means “exclusive,” like it does for one of The Frau's Swiss friends, you’ll want to be seen in Zurich’s expensive Seefeld area, which is on the lake on the “gold coast” side.

If cool means “old money”, like it does for many Zurichers, you’ll want to be seen on what is known as the Zürichberg, the area up on the hill near the zoo where many mansions have views of the city and the lake.

If cool means “walk to work”, then The Frau would live in Kreis 2, which you mention is close to your place of employment. It’s on the “silver coast”, but only Swiss people care about all that gold anyway.

If cool means trendy, The Frau would live in the industrial area turned art district, Kreis 5.

If cool means living in the old town, The Frau would live in Kreis 1/Niederdorf. (Note: old towns usually come with church bells and clock towers. The Frau speaks from experience).

If cool means living with a bunch of French expats, then check out Dübendorf. You wouldn't know it by the name, but this place is jumping with Frenchies. Oui, oui.

For more info on districts in Zurich, click here.

Ok Zurichers, it's your turn. If you’re cool (or even if you’re not), then please help the homeless. Are you happy with your locale? If you could live anywhere in Zurich, where would you live?


Deborah said...

Love where we are at! We lucked out and are in Kreis 2, in Enge, close to Museum Rietberg area. Apartments aren't the easiest to come by and the rent is higher than other parts of the city, but if you want green space and to be close to the action...Enge is the place to be.

Chantal said...

Hi Deb,

Thanks for sharing. I have another friend that loves being near Enge too, who supposedly lives on one floor of a mansion that was divided into apartments. It sounds wonderful!

Deborah said...

That isn't at the Hurlimann mansion, is it? I keep wondering what is inside there now. Cool building.

Anul said...

I live in Adliswil and I love it! It is probably as expensive as the city, quite transport convenient, calm and green. Very 'cool' to us.

I used to be in Kreis 3 and happy about it, but apartments in the city are never easy...

Chantal said...

Deb, I don't know. Haven't gotten invited over yet...

Anul, thanks to chiming in. Yeah, it's hard to get away from expensive almost anywhere in Switzerland. Sometimes I look at the housing ads for entertainment because prices of houses that are literally in the middle of nowhere cost a couple million and its kind of funny. In a twisted kind of way.

London City Mum said...

In the years gone by, I had friends who lived on their boat on the lake.
Cannot recall where exactly, but I did think it was the coolest place ever to reside and nothing since has ever quite matched it.

Okay, I was also a very impressionable teenager at the time.


mrschlosser said...

I'm fond of Kreis 3 in (Wiedikon) as well as Wollishofen. Wiedikon was great in terms of public transportation to get you everywhere and Wollishofen is a real gem with the lake near by.

Kelly Jarosz said...

We love our neighborhood, Hottingen - between "exclusive" Seefeld and "old money" Zurichberg. But I would recommend the reader look into Enge for proximity to work and the city.

Chantal said...

Moral of the story: it's hard to find a bad place to live in Zurich!

Kathy said...

I live in Seefeld but like Hottingen more. My advice: take your time and find the neighborhood(s) you really like before you decide. Moving is expensive and a monumental pain.

Chantal said...

Kathy, that's a great point. Move where you want to be from the beginning! Dealing with one rental contract is enough! Especially with huge deposits, cleaning costs, and huge advance notices necessary to move.

Swiss (Mister and) Miss said...

Hi, Homeless.

My fiance and I live in Kreis 1. We've been here for a year, but now it's time to move on. We're looking to move ASAP, but by Swiss time clocks that probably means sometime this summer...

If you're interested in checking out our place (2 bedrooms, one of which we use as an office/guest room, living room, dining room, kitchen with dishwasher, bath with clothes washer and dryer), please leave a comment with some contact information. If you're not in Zurich yet, we could send pictures...

Best of luck on your hunt, and I hope it's okay to turn "Dear Frau" into a marketplace!


Romy said...

Dear Homeless - working in Adliswil? It wouldn't be for ZIS, would it? Feel free to send me a message at if yes! (I work there, and live in Adliswil too.)

Romy said...
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Romy said...
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Romy said...
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Chantal said...

Swiss Mister and Miss, don't mind the marketplace as long as what you're "selling" is related to the post and it is!

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Unknown said...

Hi there - we currently live in Freiburg, DE and love it. However my husband just got a job in Zurich and were wondering if it would make sense to move. Right now my husband has a home day in Wednesday and spends Monday and Thursday night in the city. We're Looking for a green, family friendly place with open-minded people close (not more than 25 min max ) from Zurich HB. We're
Not really city people but I also love living close to other families with kids. Does anything new like this exist? Any tips or ideas? Thanks everyone!

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Robert F. said...

No such thing as gold or silver coast in Zurich. We refer to the gold coast when speaking about the villages outside the city boundaries, even while on the same lake sidd

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