Hot weather in Switzerland fuelling rise in neighbourly disputes, AXA finds

Hot weather in Switzerland fuelling rise in neighbourly disputes, AXA finds

With the heatwave in Switzerland reaching its climax, Swiss insurance providers have reported that when temperatures rise, so do tempers. A new study released by AXA noted that social and neighbourly quarrels in Switzerland peak during the hottest parts of the year, with residents of some cantons more likely to complain than others.

Hot weather heats up neighbourly disputes in Switzerland

Speaking to 20 Minuten, a spokesperson for AXA explained that cases of “social quarrelling” and neighbourly disputes are on the rise in Switzerland at the moment. Such incidents include children making too much noise, neighbours pruning or planting trees that obstruct people’s views, grilling or smoking below the windows of another apartment and using kitchen or bathroom appliances after 10pm.

AXA noted that while most Swiss people tend to launch complaints about their neighbours between March and June every year, the hot weather significantly impacts the number of conflicts that arise, regardless of the time of year. By contrast, very few people tend to complain about anti-social behaviour in December and when temperatures drop.

However, the insurance firm noted that cases of neighbourly disputes have declined by 19 percent in 2023 compared to levels seen in 2021. Laurent Bühler, a lawyer who works for AXA, noted that the end of the COVID pandemic had its part to play. “This development is evident as people spend less and less time at home and may be less aware of the disruptive aspects," Bühler explained, adding that " we are not yet at the level [seen] before the pandemic." 

Western Swiss canton's residents most likely to complain

This year, while the number of disagreements about tree planting and grilling has declined, conflicts relating to housing and construction have increased by 10 percent compared to last year. “Living space is becoming increasingly rare and therefore more sought after. This inevitably leads to friction,” Bühler explained.

In terms of which region’s residents tend to have the most strained neighbourly relationships, AXA noted that people in Cantons Valais, Vaud and Bern are the most inclined to argue and complain about their neighbours. By contrast, those living in Cantons Zurich, Aargau and Thurgau are the least likely to complain.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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