Sick of Zurich prices? Move to Olten, says local official

Sick of Zurich prices? Move to Olten, says local official

A Green Liberal politician has attracted attention online for his novel solution to the ongoing housing crisis in Zurich. His idea? People looking to rent a house or apartment in Switzerland should consider Solothurn's diamond in the rough: Olten.

Local official encourages people to ditch Zurich for Olten

Writing in, local Green Liberal Party cantonal councillor Christian Ginsig said “dear people from Zurich, countless reports about the housing shortage in Switzerland are currently rampant in the media. Come to us in Olten!” Ginsig, who has lived in Olten since 1998, said that the city should be given a chance to become a commuting hub for workers from Zurich.

For most Swiss, Olten is seen more as a punchline than a town of 18.000 people. Residents of other cantons tend to make fun of Olten as one of the dullest, featureless parts of the country that people only know because it is the main railway axis between Zurich, Basel and Bern. However, many have also argued that this reputation has made their rental contracts some of the cheapest in the country.

“Olten is often massively underestimated as a place to live. The city is in a great transport location with relatively cheap apartments,” Ginsig told ZüriToday. While he admitted that the town will never compete with Zurich for nightlife and things to do, he argued that it still has a lot to offer people looking to escape the sky-high prices in the Swiss metropolis.

Why should people move from Zurich to Olten?

In his piece, Ginsig listed the following benefits of living in Olten:

  • Public transport: it’s only 31 minutes away from Zurich Main Station by train.
  • Rental costs: you can often get a five-and-a-half-room apartment in the city for 2.000 francs a month.
  • Taxes: while the tax rate may be higher, the overall cost of living is lower than in Zurich.
  • Leisure: with the River Aare for walks and swimming and the local mountain, Born, for hiking - who needs the Uetliberg?
  • Restaurants: when you are done with the best pizza outside of Italy and a 15-franc cocktail, Olten has Wabi Sabi, Salmen, and what the councillor called “damn good bars.”

Whether or not people will actually ditch Zurich for Olten remains to be seen. Nevertheless, Ginsig told ZüriToday that he will continue fighting to make sure Olten gets the recognition and appreciation it deserves.

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