Switzerland is a country that resides in a mountainous location in Central Europe, between France and Italy. It is home to numerous lakes, villages, and high peaks of the alps. Switzerland is best known for its captivating mountain alps and aesthetic villages, hence making it a perfect place for a summer vacation.
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But just like other countries, Switzerland has their own culture and tradition, and the Swiss dearly upholds these cultures. So, as a visitor or someone who plans to work in the country for a while, you need to follow its norms, which are reflected in their dos and don’ts.
In this blog, we are showing you the list of dos and don’ts that the locals follow in Switzerland. You can follow these gestures and behaviors so you won’t end up isolating yourself when you are with the locals. Remember that in this situation, you are in living with other nationals. You need to adapt to their culture and tradition as much as possible. By knowing the basic does and don’ts, you can easily adjust to a new place without getting homesick.
How to Behave in Switzerland
To behave in Switzerland, you need to master the dos and don’ts first. Forget about the laws and regulations for now. You can study them later once you are in Switzerland. These dos and don’ts will guide you so you can better socialize with the locals without getting rude to them unintentionally.
Also, don’t forget that one way you can be comfortable living in one country is when you can completely mingle with the locals. If you know the dos and don’ts, you would also know what they prefer when it comes to different stuff.
Here is the list of the dos and don’ts for your reference.
Do’s in Switzerland
- Observe traditional Swiss greeting. A handshake will do for new acquaintances, but when you’ve met someone more than one time, you can kiss them lightly on the cheeks three times.
- Observe respectful greeting to everyone, may it be in a village, shop, or public places. They’ll make you feel welcome for as long as you’re respectful to them.
- Observe respecting elder people by giving them your seat.
- Observe punctuality in scheduled appointments.
- Observe proper dress code. Men are obliged to wear conservative yet stylish suits, shirts, and ties; while women on the other hand should wear formal dress and subtle accessories.
- Observe safe conversations. Talk about sports, foods, nature, and positive aspects of the country. Never open up a discussion about the military, politics, and other personal questions.
- Observe respecting the host of the house. Give the host time to organize things again by leaving early, and respect them by inviting them for a dinner at your house.
- Observe proper garbage disposal.
- Observe table manners. While eating, keep your wrists on the table and make sure your elbows are hanging from them. Also, you should not decline an invitation for a taste when handed something, and you should finish whatever’s on your plate clean. When you’re finished, put the knife and fork on the plate side by side to form a 5:25 clock position, informing the hostess that you’re done, and she doesn’t have to put you more food.
After having a quick read of the don’ts in Switzerland, here’s a list of the don’ts that Swiss people would find unacceptable.
Don’ts in Switzerland
- Avoid asking personal questions, such as age, salary, religion, family. Privacy is a serious thing in Switzerland.
- Avoid speaking loudly in public. Swiss has high respect for personal spaces.
- Avoid calling someone by their first names, unless permitted to do so. Use titles and surnames instead.
- Avoid rushing inside a train when people are still getting out.
- Avoid being late in scheduled appointments. Punctuality is a must in Switzerland.
- Avoid labeling Swiss people as Germans or French. Swiss people take pride in their small and beautiful country.
- Avoid tipping someone. Service charges are included in restaurants and hotels, hence do not feel obligated to tip anyone.
- Avoid giving white chrysanthemums and white lilies as gifts. They are for funerals.
- Avoid giving too expensive gifts and giving sharp things to someone you may know as a Swiss friend.
- Avoid joking about someone. Swiss people dislike people joking about them.
- Avoid breaking eye contact when speaking to someone.
- Avoid littering.
- Avoid chewing gum and cleaning your nails in public places. It is considered a rude and irritable act by the Swiss.
Just like other countries, Switzerland does have its own set of rules and guidelines in mingling with them. Swiss culture and tradition may sound strange, but they’re unique in their own way, and as a visitor, you should respect them.
Tips when going to Switzerland
To avoid culture shock, you should always have something to rely on—information. Having information that can back you up whenever you need to know something about Switzerland is a really big help. Before you go to this country, you should do your own research including the list of dos and don’ts in the country. After getting yourself familiar with these dos and don’ts, that’s the time you can learn the laws and basic rules and regulations. There’s a lot to learn especially if you are moving from one country to another.
Another tip is that don’t be afraid to socialize. You are not in Switzerland to isolate yourself. You need to step up and do something that will make your relationship with the Swiss people better. You have to exert an effort so you can be friends with some locals. You also have to allocate some time so you can study their norms.
When going to Switzerland, always expect to encounter new changes. You have to be ready and willing to adapt to those changes since you decided to go to another country. There’s no harm in it but you should embrace the change.