7 things expats in Switzerland need to know about in November 2022
With the clocks turned back and the leaves turning a pleasant brown, it is clear that autumn has arrived in Switzerland and winter is already looming large. As we bid a fond farewell to a warm October, here are seven things that expats and internationals need to know about in November 2022.
1. Deadline for changing health insurance in Switzerland
By now, basic and supplemental health insurance providers in Switzerland will have sent their customers' updated premiums for next year. In 2022, this letter through the post will not be welcomed by most, as the government has already confirmed that health insurance premiums will rise by 6,6 percent on average in 2023.
That is why, according to price comparison site Comparis, more people than ever are looking to switch insurers to get a better deal. Luckily, there is still time to change insurance provider, as insurers must receive word of your cancellation by the end of November at the latest.
2. Swiss parliament returns and November referendums held
The cost of health insurance is also top of the agenda for Swiss politics in November. While no national referendums are planned for the month, cities, cantons and local councils (Gemeindes) will be voting on local issues on November 27. Among other regional referendums, Canton Zurich will be voting on a proposal to reduce annual health insurance costs by up to 1.000 Swiss francs a person.
After the votes, November 28 will see the start of the latest parliamentary session in Bern. Measures to combat the rising cost of living are expected to be discussed, followed by votes on overruling cantonal minimum wages and further scrutiny of the Federal Council’s energy-saving plan.
3. Monkeypox vaccine roll-outs in Switzerland as second COVID booster campaign continues
From the beginning of November, people in Switzerland will be able to receive a vaccination against monkeypox. 40.000 vaccine doses have been purchased by the government, which will be issued to cantons to roll out to the wider population.
The live vaccine, based on a version of the smallpox vaccine, will be given to people deemed to be at “high risk” - gay, bisexual and men who have sexual relations with other men are the groups most affected by the disease. However, health authorities were quick to say that anyone who has been in close, “personal” contact with someone with monkeypox is at risk. For more information, please consult the government website.
In addition, more people in Switzerland will be booking a second COVID booster vaccine. Anyone aged 16 or over is able to book an appointment four months after their last COVID jab or confirmed COVID diagnosis. All bookings are processed by cantonal vaccination websites.
4. Time to change to winter tyres
As the weather gets colder and the snow starts to fall, drivers in Switzerland will be starting to put on winter tyres in preparation for the slippy conditions on roads and motorways. While there is no legal requirement to use winter tyres in Switzerland, authorities do require that you “maintain control” of your vehicle at all times - pretty tricky to do on a mountain road in midwinter on summer tyres.
Those with winter tyres should be putting them on from mid-October to November, part of the so-called October-to-Easter rule. While you can change and store the winter tyres yourself, many people in Switzerland choose to store their winter tyres at car dealerships, garages and tyre shops, so be sure to book an appointment with them if you want to make the switch.
5. Christmas markets in Switzerland begin
To many people’s joy - and other people’s dismay - Christmas has arrived in Switzerland once again. While some cities and companies have been cutting back on Christmas staples to save energy, like the supermarket Coop giving up Christmas lights, many areas will be pressing on with their annual markets.
From charming gifts to warm chestnuts and glühwein, Christmas markets in Switzerland are truly a sight to behold. If you can’t wait till December, many markets will already open their doors in November. Some of them are:
- Baden Christmas Market, November 4 to December 24
- Lausanne Christmas Market, November 17 to December 31
- St. Gallen Christmas Market, November 24 to December 24
- Winterthur Christmas Market, November 24 to December 23
- Bern Christmas Market, November 24 to December 30
6. Swiss ski resorts to open in November
While this may change - as many Swiss ski resorts are postponing their opening times due to a lack of snow - November will also see the start of the ski season in Switzerland. From November, high-altitude resorts like Zermatt (November 1) and Schliterhorn (November 5) will be opening their doors, with some like Saas-Fee having already opened on October 29.
If the weather cools down, reporting by SRF has suggested that, with the end of all COVID restrictions, ski resorts are in for a record year. Whether you are headed out on a hike in the mountains or preparing to carve up the slopes yourself, we hope that you have fun.
7. Switzerland to compete in Fifa World Cup 2022 in Qatar
While it may not have sold as many tickets in Switzerland as previous World Cups, and with fan zones across the country closing due to energy costs or in protest against Qatar's human rights record, nevertheless, the Fifa World Cup in Qatar will be getting underway in November of 2022. Switzerland is in a very tough group with Cameroon, Serbia and the giants of Brazil. The alpine nation's group-stage matches will take place on November 24, 28 and December 2.
If Switzerland makes it through the group, they are likely to face a match with either Portugal or Uruguay. Whether die Nati produces an astonishing run form - like the one that saw them get to the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 and knock Italy out of automatic qualification for the World Cup - or fizzle out, everyone in Switzerland will be cheering the players on at the least. Hopp Schwiiz, Hop Suisse and Forza Svizzera!