9 things expats in Switzerland need to know about in April 2023

9 things expats in Switzerland need to know about in April 2023

From Switzerland continuing to dominate the world headlines, to elections and the end of the ski season, there are plenty of important things happening in the alpine nation next month. To make sure you don’t get caught up in April showers, here are nine important things happening in Switzerland in April 2023.

1. The fallout from March: Credit Suisse and tanks to Ukraine

While Switzerland doesn't find itself in the international headlines that often, March 2023 felt like the exception. Case in point: March saw one of the largest banks in Switzerland, Credit Suisse, receive emergency loans after years of scandals which hurt the firm's credibility.

With Credit Suisse now set to be merged into UBS, April is likely to reveal more information about the bank’s future. For more information on how the scandal affects Credit Suisse customers in the short term, check out our guide.

Secondly, as the war in Ukraine continues, Switzerland has been caught in the crosshairs because of its refusal to send military equipment. Despite joining sanctions at the beginning of the conflict, the country’s strict policy of neutrality has not allowed it to send military hardware to Ukraine or allow any other European country to export arms made in Switzerland to the conflict, much to the disdain of European governments.

With protests for and against sending arms now a common sight in Bern, and the government now planning to send “decommissioned” tanks to Ukraine, the situation is likely to evolve as April goes on.

2. Elections in Geneva on April 2, 2023

On April 2, 2023, residents of Geneva will head to the polls to elect representatives for the Cantonal Grand Council and the Council of State - the parliament and executive branch in Canton Geneva. Much like the elections in Canton Zurich in March, commentators have said that the poll will be a good indicator of what will happen in the federal elections in October.

A poll by the Tribune de Genève found that public transport, the economy and housing remain the primary concerns for residents of Geneva.

3. Are your Swiss taxes in order?

By April 1, the deadline for filing your Swiss tax return will have just elapsed. Those who need to file a return - Swiss citizens and holders of long-term residence permits - will have to have sent off their return before the deadline, or request an extension.

Those who have applied for an extension have an extra few months to fill in their return, with deadlines ranging from September to November this year. If you need a hand with your Swiss taxes, why not consider the services of a tax advisor?

4. New Gubrist Tunnel in Zurich to open in April

For the long-delayed motorists of Zurich, the news that the brand new extension of the Gubbrist Tunnel will open in April would have been music to their ears. The infamously log-jammed tunnel is a vital artery for Swiss motorways and only has around 15 traffic-free days a year.

However, before we pop the champagne and look forward to travelling to St. Gallen, Bern, or Basel in record time, authorities have taken the opening of the new tunnel as an ideal opportunity to close and repair the older two tubes. Full operations can now only be expected in 2027.

5. April 17: Zurich to celebrate Sechseläuten

Sticking with Zurich, April 17 will see the return of perhaps the most peculiar weather forecast in the world: Sechseläuten. The famous tradition will be celebrated across the canton, as crowds congregate to burn the Böögg - a snowman whose head is full of explosives.

Legend has it that the longer the snowman burns without igniting the explosives, the worse the weather and summer will be. In 2022, the snowman’s sluggish time of 37 minutes 59 seconds was accompanied by consistent drought, heatwaves and glaciers melting during the summer - coincidence? I think not!

Here’s to hoping our pipe-smoking friend doesn’t take too long to explode this year.

6. End of the ski season in Switzerland

The changing of the weather will also spell the end of the winter season for most Swiss ski resorts. After a shaky start on account of the lack of snow in 2022, resorts enjoyed a reasonable ski season in 2022 / 23.

With many low-altitude areas already shutting up shop and preparing for the hiking season in the summer, high-altitude resorts deep in the mountains will follow suit by the end of April.

7. Barack Obama to visit Switzerland

Despite not visiting the country once during his eight-year stint as US president, Barack Obama is set to visit Zurich this April. The former head of state is expected to pack out the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Oerlikon, with an event that includes discussion, debates and a number of special guests.

8. Swiss workers treated to Easter holidays

After quite a long spell without public holidays, workers in Switzerland will be treated to a couple more days off in April. Good Friday (all except in Ticino and Valais) on April 7 and Easter Monday (all except Neuchâtel, Solothurn, Valais and Zug) on April 10 are public days off in most Swiss cantons.

As part of the religious event, people will be participating in some famous Swiss Easter traditions. Not sure what you fancy doing on your day off? Check out our guide!

9. Spring school holidays in Switzerland

Finally, for children across the country, April will see Swiss schools and international schools break up for Easter or spring. Some lucky students will have already gotten their break underway in late March, but most schools holidays will begin at the start of the month.

As a result of the holidays, airports in Switzerland are warning that they are expecting a record number of passengers, especially on the Easter weekend (April 7 to 10). A spokesperson from Zurich Airport told Blick that anyone planning to jet off to one of the top destinations from Switzerland this year should arrive at the airport between two and three hours before their flight.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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