Zurich considering giving up its Christmas lights to save energy this winter

Zurich considering giving up its Christmas lights to save energy this winter

In an attempt to save power this winter, the Swiss city of Zurich is considering switching off its famous Christmas lights. This is part of a number of measures being considered by cities across the country, before the official nationwide energy strategy is put into action.

Swiss cities to work together to save energy

"The goal is for the cities across Switzerland to act in a coordinated manner as far as possible," noted cantonal councillor for Canton Bern, Reto Nause. Speaking to NZZ am Sonntag, he announced that cities across the country are now looking into ways to support the government’s plan to save energy, particularly as the threat of blackouts still loom large over Switzerland.

"The plan is to lower the room temperature in all public administration buildings as a first step," Nause announced. 20 minuten reported that many cities are also considering lowering the water temperature in indoor pools, the heating in public transportation, and, crucially, Nause said that he is “discussing in the association of cities whether to limit the Christmas lights or to do without them altogether."

Zurich considering forgoing famous Christmas lights

When asked by 20 minuten, the city council of Zurich said that it was examining whether Christmas lights can be reduced or even dispensed of entirely this winter. Milan Prenosil, President of the Zurich City Association, said that while the “Lucy” fairy lights on Zurich’s main streets are considered integral to the economy at Christmas time, harsh measures have to be considered in order to save power.

Current proposals include limiting the operating time of the lights during the morning and evening. "If retailers were to voluntarily do without their shop window lighting, it would have more than just symbolic significance," Prenosil assured. 

As the major Christmas lights, such as those on Bahnhofstrasse, are organised by international companies and not the city, the council (Gemeinde) is not allowed to take the lights away and can only ask the organisers to switch the lights off. However, if the third level of the government’s plan is put in place, that would give the city council the power to remove the lights unilaterally.

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...

Read more



Leave a comment