Here’s an unsexy topic that usually doesn’t get mentioned very often next to beautiful Instagram pictures: bureaucracy. When you move for the first time to a new place, you think about the city having job opportunities or being beautiful, you hope there are nice people and that somewhere close there is nice nature, perhaps you check if there are a lot of places to travel to nearby – but you rarely think “Oh, I hope the bureaucracy works well there”. No, that kind of wisdom only comes several international moves later.
After Paris, where bureaucracy takes a life form of its own and impacts your life on a daily basis, you cannot help but become very sensitive and aware of the subject. So I cannot begin to express the joy I felt when I realized that Swiss bureaucracy functions AND actually tries to make my life easier.
First sign of that? The Welcome package.
After you register with the City of Zurich, you receive three things:
1. Information (in 15 languages) that directs you to the special website for those who are “new in Zurich”: https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/prd/de/index/stadtentwicklung/integrationsfoerderung/other_languages/en/new_in_zurich.html. Here you find all the information that you would usually have to google for several hours or scour from message boards.
2. Invitation to a “Welcome event”, where you get a free tour of the city and a welcome drink at city hall. There are seven of them happening in the year and you can choose which one attend, as well as the language of your participation.
3. A pharmacy slip to get free anti-radiation medicine in case there is a nuclear disaster nearby.. a kind of unexpected but caring gesture.
It’s like a care kit for newcomers – simple, useful and so, well, welcoming. Do other cities do this? This is my first experience like this.