La Chaux-de-Fonds launches Citizen Card app to help expats integrate

La Chaux-de-Fonds launches Citizen Card app to help expats integrate

Since the beginning of March, the Swiss city of La Chaux-de-Fonds has offered a new “Citizen Card” online app, designed to promote integration among holders of residence permits and other internationals resident in the city. In the future, the local council hopes to make the app the main gateway to accessing various public and private services.

Citizen Card app in La Chaux-de-Fonds

In a statement, officials in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Canton Neuchâtel announced that the launch of its new “Citizen Card” mobile app had been a success. Downloadable on mobile phones since March 1, the app was developed by the local council to be residents' and tourists' first port of call when getting to know the city.

Specifically, authorities hope the card will help “encourage participation, improve access to services, optimise information, strengthen the feeling of belonging and develop an understanding of the place” among residents. While both Swiss citizens and expats are free to download the app, officials noted that many of the services were designed with the city’s non-Swiss, refugee and asylum-seeker populations in mind.

Citizen Card gives information in 15 different languages

Currently, the resident's version of the app allows you to create an ID to access some local services. It also gives you information as to what attractions and events are happening in the vicinity, where the nearest public services are and when the city’s five museums, swimming pools and ice rink offer free entry to residents. 

Both visitors and residents can use the app to check out current events and buy “Bees” - a La Chaux-de-Fonds-specific form of currency considered legal tender in over 100 local stores. The app is currently available in 15 different languages, and more can be added if required.

La Chaux-de-Fonds officials hope app will cover housing and healthcare in future

What’s more, in the future officials in La Chaux-de-Fonds hope to make the app integral to how residents access public and private services. “Further developments should make it possible to study accessibility to the health, banking, judicial and social systems, as well as housing,” the council noted, though admitted that Swiss legal rules may make it difficult to implement the systems onto a single publicly run app, without changing the law.

The app will continue running until 2025, after which officials will decide whether or not to continue or upgrade the scheme.

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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