Zug, Switzerland | Expat city guide

Zug, Switzerland | Expat city guide

Need some information while in Zug? Our expat city guide has lots of useful facts, info and tips for locals, expats, students and tourists.

Zug city guide

Capital of the Canton of Zug, the city of Zug is known worldwide for its beautiful scenery and commercial prowess. The city has a fascinating history and has several unique aspects to its culture that lend itself to an incredible experience for anyone visiting.

Zug has a truly international feel to it, hosting the headquarters of several international companies and boasting a rich, diverse community bursting with culture. Tourists and locals alike can marvel at the beauty of the city and its surroundings and can experience some of the local traditions and specialities.

A short history of Zug

Archaeological evidence has shown that human have existed in and around the area Zug since 14.000 BC. However, written evidence is only attested as early as 858 AD, in which King Louis the German gifted a farm to Zurich’s Fraumünster convent. At around this time, the area belonged to different landlords, like the House of Habsburg. The town itself was probably founded by the counts of Kyburg.

Around 1200 AD a wall was built around the area and the settlement slowly grew into a town. The town was bought by King Rudolf I of Germany in 1273 and thus became an important administrative centre and market town.

The Swiss Confederation

In 1352, the town of Zug and its Outer District (the towns and villages surrounding the city) were admitted into the Old Swiss Confederacy after Zurich besieged the city due to its Habsburg connections and threat to the security of the city. Zug surrendered, however, little changed and the town remained under the nominal control of the Habsburgs.  

The city was forced to leave the confederacy by its Habsburg rulers in 1355, however, it was eventually recovered. Zug was eventually relinquished by the Habsburgs, who were contented with collecting an annual payment from the city, and exempted it from the Holy Roman Empire’s jurisdiction. Zug and its Outer District expanded to include a number of small villages and municipalities.

Zug joined the Swabian League against the Duchy of Austria in the battle of Sempach, which ended in a decisive victory for the cantons in the league. The town shared in Confederate victories over the next century and continued to expand. During the Reformation, Zug remained Catholic.

The city booms

When the French invaded in 1798 and started the Helvetic Republic, the Canton of Zug was dissolved and the Canton of Waldstätten was instituted in its place. The city of Zug was made its capital, until the Act of Mediation in 1803, when the Canton of Zug was restored.

The city’s industry remained largely agricultural until the early 19th century, when an entrepreneur built a cotton mill in the city. Following this, more and more industries started in Zug. The city gradually developed into a centre for national and international commerce, banking and business, not least due to a particularly attractive tax policy. The city is now home to a number of international companies.

What to do in Zug: Sightseeing and activities

Need some inspiration for some things to do in Zug? Check out our list of must-see and must-do things in the city.

Take in the city

Zug is specifically known for its architectural and natural beauty. One of the best places to truly experience this is the Landsgemeindeplatz (town square). The popular square is located on the waterfront and is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Not only is the square surrounded by shops and outdoor places to eat, but it is also the setting of various concerts and markets. It even hosts Zug’s famous cherry market.

Multiple heritage sites can be found throughout the city. The old centre of Zug is also a good place to see some sights, including the town hall and the Zytturm (clock tower). Nearby the Zytturm you can find the Gasthaus Rathauskeller, a beautiful restaurant serving delicious high-end food.

Lake Zug

If you find yourself in Zug, or even Schwyz or Lucerne, make sure you take a visit down to the local lake. Lake Zug is the tenth largest lake in Switzerland, and aside from the numerous activities you can partake on and around it, such as boating, cruising, hiking, swimming and cycling, the lake offers some unparalleled views of the surrounding hills and mountains.

Another place you can go to get your fill of adventure is the Zugerberg, Zug’s local mountain. Aside from recreational activities, nature lovers can find beautiful natural landscapes and habitats on the mountain, as well as unbeatable views.

Located just five minutes from the lake is Zug Castle. One of the city’s most iconic landmarks, the castle used to be the seat of Zug’s ruling families. The castle now houses a permanent exhibition on the cultural history of Zug.

Museums, museums and more museums

Like almost every other Swiss city, Zug has no shortage of museums. Art aficionados can take a trip to the Kunthaus Zug, for beautiful pieces of art from world-renowned artists. The museum is famous for its Viennese Modernist works. History buffs can visit the Kantonales Museum für Urgeschichte, or the Museum of Prehistory, for a collection of archaeological artefacts and exhibitions. Another incredibly interesting museum is the Afrika Museum, which houses an unrivalled collection of items from Africa.

Getting around in Zug

Zug has a wide array of options when it comes to public transport. The city is well connected via train, bus, metro and boat.

Annual events in Zug

Check out these annual events in Zug’s annual calendar!

Zug Sports Festival

This sports festival that touches down in Zug invites you to watch on as hundreds of athletes come to take part in various sporting events, from football to ballet. The festival also encourages you to get involved too.

Cherry season

The Canton of Zug isn’t known as the “cherry canton” for nothing. Every year, the cherry bell (Chriesigloggä) is sounded, letting the people of Zug know it’s time to go cherry-picking. The first day of the season also sees the opening of the Chriesimärt (cherry market), which runs for several weeks.

Zuger Seefest

The Lake Festival takes place on Lake Zug every year, and attracts over 20.000 visitors. The festival boasts lively bars, delicious food and the most spectacular fireworks display you have ever seen, all set against the backdrop of the beautiful Lake Zug.

Jobs in Zug

Zug is a desirable destination to work, not least due to various international companies being headquartered in the city. Check out our selection of jobs.

Housing in Zug

While living in Zug may be expensive, the high standard of living makes it totally worth it! Check out our listings for apartments.

Video footage of Zug

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