After 142 years, Switzerland will say goodbye to the white phonebook

After 142 years, Switzerland will say goodbye to the white phonebook

After 142 years, the company that makes the white phonebook in Switzerland has announced that, from 2023, the service will be only available on the internet. localsearch said that fewer people want their mobile phone or landline listed so publicly, for fear of attracting unsolicited advertising calls. 

Switzerland's white phonebook to become online-only

Speaking to Le Matin, localsearch announced that it would no longer be printing white phonebooks. The equivalent of the "white pages", the directory of phone numbers has been published in Switzerland for 142 years. The first phonebook was published in Zurich in November 1880 with 98 entries and no phone numbers listed. The white pages reached its peak in the 1990s when an average 4,2 million entries were included each year.

“With the advent of digital technology and the increase in unsolicited advertising calls, fewer and fewer people want their telephone number listed in a public directory and prefer to decide for themselves who can have it,” localsearch told Le Matin. The company also found that fewer people are choosing to have landlines, and even fewer people choose to register their mobile phone numbers in the phone directory.

Yellow phone directory in Switzerland to live on

From 2023, therefore, the company will only publish the white pages online. Families or individuals who aren’t as computer savvy can download the phone directory entries for a certain number of relatives for free, which they can then print.

However, the company clarified that while the “white pages” (private phone numbers) may be confined to the history books, the "yellow pages" (professional phone directory) will live on. From 2023, localsearch will publish the Localcities GUIDE - “a printed directory of professionals, municipalities and associations in the region”, with contact details for local councils (Gemeindes), numbers for departments of the Swiss government and a calendar for the Swiss school holidays.

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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