We’re lucky where we live in Basel. We came across our apartment in a very fortuitous way and having seen the best part of ten before that I knew it was the one. I managed to convince The Golden Shrimp and now almost a year later we’re both still really happy with it. But in Switzerland there are a few more factors involved in picking a place to live than maybe in other countries.

One of the big factors is laundry. The Swiss prefer a system of communal washing machines, so an apartment block will have one or two for all the inhabitants. It works differently depending on the building. We have six apartments in our block so we have one day a week when we can do our washing (no washing on Sundays). We got Wednesdays when we arrived. Which is pretty good when you think about it. If you get Friday or Saturday and you’re away for the weekend, you miss your weekly laundry! But once a week is a good rate. We’ve heard horror stories of people only getting one day in every twenty three! I don’t have twenty three sets of clothes! And how do you wash twenty three of everything in one day? Madness. But generally it works out and everyone abides by the rules. As I said we’re lucky.

Another important factor is neighbours. The anti-social laws here in Switzerland, as outlined in our tenancy agreement are all-encompassing. Everyone has heard of the “no noise after ten” rule. There are also rules about what you can and can’t do on Sundays, how you should “air” your apartment weekly, when the best times to (not) hoover are etc. Of course the people who really enforce these laws and building rules are your neighbours. Therefore good relations are necessary and beneficial. Again we’re lucky but at the same time we haven’t been tearing the place up every evening. Our only comment so far was from a neighbour below us who remarked that I have a “heavy step” and if I could walk a little lighter that would be appreciated.

This may all seem to you a little over the top. A little too regulated for your liking but the key thing to remember is that 98% of people actually follow the rules. Therefore the rules work and are there for a reason. We don’t hear our neighbours at night, people wash their clothes on the correct day, Sundays are peaceful and calm and to use the old cliche, “everything runs like clockwork”. I’d take that any day.


One response to “Swiss-ness

  1. That sounds like hell to me although there is some attraction to peaceful Sundays.

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