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Practical information about living in Switzerland


Empa is happy to welcome you to Switzerland. Our aim is to help you gain the maximum benefit from your stay at Empa. We have compiled a selection of weblinks that may help you to answer your questions in regards of daily life in Switzerland. Please use the links to learn more about living in Switzerland - Dübendorf, St. Gallen or Thun. We wish you a wonderful time at Empa and hope you take advantage of all this time abroad has to offer.

  • Culture Shock! (PDF-File, 47 KB)
  • Expensive?! About living costs in Switzerland (PDF-File, 10 KB)
  • What you have to know about languages at Empa (PDF-File, 117 KB)
Table of contents
  1. Practical information about living and working in Switzerland
  2. Accommodation
  3. Mandatory Health Insurance in Switzerland
  4. Cultural Communities in Switzerland (mainly Zurich)
  5. Various religious groups in Switzerland
  6. Living in Zurich and Dübendorf
  7. Living in St. Gallen
  8. Living in Thun
  9. Further useful weblinks
1 Practical information about living and working in Switzerland










2 Accommodation   

For international guests employed by Empa for a limited time span, the Empa Guest House Management proposes accommodation in the guest apartments at Seidenstrasse in Dübendorf.
These apartments are located within walking distance from the work place. They are built as „Minergie“ standard (standard for low energy consumption buildings), ready-furnished and equipped, with a modern, comfortable living atmosphere. All in all, 116 rooms are divided into 40 apartments of diverse sizes.
Furthermore, the property with these guest apartments is situated near road and public traffic links. A tram links the station Seidenstrasse directly with the Zurich Airport, and from the railway station Stettbach nearby, the trains of the “S-Bahn” lines run to the Zurich city centre in shortest time. At the same time, the guest house is surrounded by nature and borders on a recreation area, inviting for a walk or a break.

Further information see here

Finding accomodation


Flat-sharing communities Switzerland

3 Mandatory Health Insurance in Switzerland

In accordance of the Federal Act on Health Insurance every person domiciled in Switzerland must take out health insurance with a recognized Swiss Healtch insurance company within three months of taking residence in Switzerland.

Exemption from compulsory health insurance is only granted to limited categories of persons (students, trainees, PhD-students and - depending on the country of origin - academic guests) upon request. However, their insurance in foreign countries must cover the requirements of the compulsory Swiss Health Insurance Act.

For EU-Citizens only: Please bring with you the European Health Insurance Card if available.

Employed at Empa-Location in Dübendorf

  • General information (in German and English) about the mandatory health insurance in Switzerland

Employed at Empa-Location in St. Gallen


Employed at Empa-Location in Thun


Price plans of Swiss health insurance companies
You will find some information and price plans of all Swiss health insurance companies by clicking the following links:


4 Cultural Communities in Switzerland (mainly Zurich)   

5 Various religious groups in Switzerland

  • Christian Churches (reformed, catholic, christ-catholic, free churches) in Switzerland


6 Living in Zurich and Dübendorf




7 Living in St. Gallen

8 Living in Thun


  • Childcare - Thun daycare centres for small and school age children can be found at indicated link



9 Further useful weblinks

Contacts within Empa   
You will find a great deal of information concerning your new workplace and about Empa on the Human Resources home page. To log in please type and enter your user name and password. Please see below a selection of important contacts. 

Empa, Human Resources

Swiss Dual Career Plattform


Die Eawag hat die Swiss Dual Career Platform zusammen mit der Empa, dem PSI und der WSL ins Leben gerufen. Die Plattform richtet sich an die Lebenspartnerinnen und –partner ausländischer Forschender, die neu in der Schweiz sind. Hier finden Sie Details.

Eawag has launched the Swiss Dual Career Platform in collaboration with Empa, PSI and WSL. The platform addresses spouses of foreign researchers who recently moved to Switzerland. More details.


This collection of links is the result of a project concerning the social integration of foreign researchers at Empa, which was realized in the course of 8 months by Beatrix Gutzwiller in 2010. Her work was sponsored by the association Fachverein Arbeit und Umwelt. The project goes back to an initiative of Empa's staff representatives (Personalvertretung).

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