As someone who has called Zurich home for more than a decade, I still find it fun to learn new things about this cosmopolitan city. There are some very interesting facts about Zurich, some you would not believe.
From the sublime to the amusing, here are 12 Zurich facts you might just want to tell your friends!
As you may or may not be aware, Switzerland is the largest city in Switzerland by population with approximately 429,000 inhabitants. And although Zurich is the financial capital of Switzerland, it is not the capital city. That honor goes to Bern, in the west of the country.
Switzerland has an abundance of water and this is very apparent if you walk around the city of Zurich. There are over 1200 water fountains (or “Brunnen” as they are called here) throughout the city, and in the majority of cases, you can drink from them.
So, why bother with a bottle of Evian water when you can bring your own bottle and fill up as you walk around this amazing city!
Yes, you probably know James Bond has his money stashed in Zurich, but did you really know why? Well until recently, Switzerland had some of the strictest banking privacy/secrecy rules in the world. And many a billionaire and criminal took advantage of that fact.
As a result, there are over 100 individual banks (not branches) in Zurich alone. Most of them are collected around the infamous Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich and many of them are small and private and certainly won’t let you in the door!
Although there are over 1000 museums in Switzerland as a whole, Zurich alone has over 50 world-class museums and 100 art galleries. So, if you are into culture, it is definitely the place to be in Switzerland!
There are quite a few impressive clock faces you will notice as you take a stroll down the Limmat river in the center of Zurich. From the Grossmunster to the Frauenmunster, they seem to be almost on every corner!
However, none are more impressive than the largest clock face in Europe on St Peter’s Church.
The famous Physicist Albert Einstein not only called Zurich home for a good many years, he was also one of the most famous students at the ETH, was a professor at the University of Zurich and then later at the ETH Zurich too.
Sure, he came up with his theory of relativity while working in the post office in Bern, but Zurich was a far larger part of his life.
Zurich has long been the home to many a famous artist, so perhaps it comes as no surprise that the Dada art movement began in Zurich. The movement began in Zurich over a century ago and the group used to meet in the Cabaret Voltaire in the center of Zurich. You can still visit the Cabaret Voltaire today and soak up the inspiration those artists once did. And there are also many other Dada places of interest, such as the Zunfthaus and the Odeon, you can visit while you are in town.
Who would have thought that one os Zurich’s most important pieces of art would be located right inside the headquarters of the Zurich police force! I bet you won’t get that in most cities.
The Blüemlihalle, or entrance halls to the police building house some of the most important frescos by Augusto Giacometti. He painted it together with other Zurich artists between 1922 and 1926, before it was home to the local police!
Muesli and specifically Bircher Muesli is an absolute staple on any Swiss breakfast table. And more recently, this healthy breakfast alternative has become popular all over the world. Even my sister in Australia has it most weeks!
But what most people don’t know was that it was invented in Zurich. What is even more interesting is that it was invented in 1900 for patients in a hospital and intended as a snack mostly had at night. The inventor’s name was Maximilian Bircher-Benner, and he was a Swiss Physician at the time.
And the name Muesli? Well, that’s quite simple – Bircher was his name, Mues means puree, and “li” is a common Swiss word ending meaning small.
Berlin used to hold the honor, but I think they got sick of the mess! Zurich’s yearly Street Parade is an insane Technoparade that is held on the streets along the lake of Zurich late in summer each year, since 1992.
Bring your earplugs, because the huge trucks that crawl along the streets are chock full of speakers that will blow your eardrums.
There are parties on and off the street all day and night long, with this being one of the biggest and craziest parties of the year in Zurich and Switzerland as a whole. Given how quiet the Swiss typically are, it always surprises me that such a thing exists!
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!