For members


Everything that changes in Switzerland in June 2023

From rent increases to an outdoor smoking ban in Geneva, these are the events that are planned in Switzerland in June 2023.

Everything that changes in Switzerland in June 2023
Will the upcoming summer be as hot as in 2022? Photo: Galvão Menacho on Pexels

June 1st: many rents to rise sharply 

With the benchmark mortgage rate rising on June 1st many landlords will be able to increase rents.

The benchmark mortgage rate increases to 1.50 percent, which means landlords will be able to raise rents by 3 percent. the government said.

Currently, 54 percent of rental contracts in Switzerland are based on that rate, but regionally, the percentage is even higher.

In the Zurich area, for instance, as well as in central Switzerland more than 60 percent of rental contracts are based on a 1.25-percent reference rate.

READ ALSO: How do you know if your Swiss rent is too high — and how can you challenge it?

June 1st: No outdoor smoking in Geneva

In order to “provide a healthy environment,” smoking will be prohibited in certain outdoor spaces in Geneva from June 1st, the canton announced.

The new regulation forbids smoking within nine metres around playgrounds and schools.

The same smoke-free distance will apply to outdoor swimming pools, and outdoor spaces of bars and restaurants.

Smoking will also not be allowed at public transport stops, including in waiting areas.

READ ALSO: Geneva bans smoking in some outdoor areas

June 12th: Swiss air traffic to experience disruptions

NATO will be conducting extensive air force exercises from June 12th to 24th.

While these manoeuvres will take place on the German air space, the proximity to Switzerland means restrictions could be placed  on flights to and from Zurich airport.

This could result in flight delays and even cancellations. 

NATO planes over Germany will impact Swiss air traffic. Photo by THOMAS COEX / AFP

June 14th: Feminist strike

As part of a global movement, women across the country will march to highlight the gender bias that is widespread in Switzerland, especially regarding work and childcare conditions.

They will campaign for fewer working hours at the same pay; abolition of the three-pillar pension system in favour of a single pillar; paid parental leave of at least one year, as well as other demands detailed here

This annual event began in 2017, with women in various countries, including Switzerland, rallying for equal pay, as well as other gender and trans-gender rights.

Women will demonstrate throughout Switzerland on June 14th. Photo by Lou BENOIST / AFP

June 18th: Referendums

In the first of three referendums scheduled for 2023, the Swiss will cast their votes on three issues.

The first one is Covid Law. Even though the last health measures were lifted more than a year ago, voters will have to decide on various federal provisions  — especially pertaining to border measures in the event of a pandemic, the protection of vulnerable people, and the promotion and development of treatments for the coronavirus.

The second issue is related to climate, particularly the target of zero greenhouse gas emissions in Switzerland by 2050, thanks to funding of 2 billion over 10 years for the replacement of fossil fuels. 

The third issue Swiss voters will have to weigh in on is that of taxation of international companies.

Negotiated by nearly 140 countries around the world, the reform of the tax on profits of multinationals aims to establish a minimum rate of 15 percent on international corporations — higher than Switzerland’s current tax rate.

The Local will explain each of these issues in detail.

June 21st: First day of summer

The (mostly rainy and cool) spring will give way to the summer season.

Meteorologists don’t yet have an accurate forecast for the next months, but those who still remember the extreme, drought-causing heatwave of 2022 are hoping this summer will be more pleasant, weather-wise.

There are the public holidays in June in your canton:

  • 8th: Corpus Christi, national except AR, BL, BS, BE, GE, GL, NE, SH, SG, TG, VD, ZH
  • 23rd:  Independence of Jura, JU
  • 29th:  St Peter and St Paul,  GR, TI

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For members


What changes about life in Switzerland in May 2023

From large-scale military manoeuvres to two long-weekend public holidays, this is what is happening in Switzerland in May.

What changes about life in Switzerland in May 2023

Labour Day

Like many other countries, Switzerland is celebrating Labour Day on May 1st (which has nothing to do with the Labor Day in the United States, which falls on the first Monday of September).

In Switzerland, it is also known as International Workers’ Day and May Day, and is mostly marked by trade unions and left-leaning groups.

It is not, however, a public holiday throughout Switzerland— it is celebrated in some cantons but not in others:

READ ALSO: Here are the Swiss cantons where May 1st is a public holiday

Swiss government to simplify access to medicines

Due to concerns about the shortage of certain medicines in Switzerland, the government is intervening. 

The Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) wants to facilitate the reimbursement of medicines produced in pharmacies in order to combat bottlenecks.

It will urgently amend the Ordinance on Health Care Services (KLV) and the List of Medicinal Products with Tariff (ALT).

The FDHA has also decided to regulate the remuneration for the partial dispensing of medicinal products in short supply. These changes are intended to improve the supply of medicines in a shortage situation and ensure appropriate patient treatment. The changes will come into force on May 1st.

“The amendments to the CLI and the ALT supplement the measures already implemented to strengthen the security of supply of medicines,” said the FDHA.

“If a shortage arises for a medicinal product on the speciality list (SL), pharmacies can charge compulsory health insurance for preparations made from a medicinal product on the SL or its active ingredient.”

As The Local has been reporting, dozens of medications have either been in short supply or missing from Swiss pharmacies.

The shortage has affected medicines that can be bought both with and without doctor’s prescription, as well as those only used in hospital settings to manage pain.

Among the meds that are difficult to find right now are Paracetamol pain killers; anti-inflammatory, Aspirin-based drug Aspegic; antibiotic Amoxicillin; Epipen self-injectable adrenaline pens used in cases of severe allergic reactions; anti-anxiety medicine Temesta; as well as children’s cough syrups.

Army training alert

From May 1st to May 9th, the Swiss army will conduct a “large-scale” exercise in French-speaking Switzerland, so don’t be concerned if you see tanks and other military equipment in that region — and it’s all for a good cause.

“This exercise will generate motorised formation movements, helicopter overflights, as well as movements on Lake Geneva and Neuchâtel,” according to the Defence Ministry.

“The disturbances will nevertheless be reduced to the strict minimum necessary for the conduct of the exercise.”

A Leopard 2 army tank.

Swiss soldiers (here on a Leopard 2 army tank) will participate in a military exercise in May. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

MPs convene for special session

From May 2nd to 4th, the National Council, the lower house of the parliament, will meet to discuss several issues which MPs were not able to debate during the regular Spring session.

Among them, deputes will discuss how to better develop the circular economy in Switzerland —  the principle which involves sharing, reusing, repairing, and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible, instead of throwing the out to purchase new ones.

Another topic to be talked about is the de-mining of the former ammunition depot in Mitholz, in Bernese Alps.

After exploding in 2018, the residents were told they would had to leave the village in 2025, so that explosive material could be safely removed. 


This event on May 7this a perfect example of both grass-roots democracy and Swiss folklore: citizens flock to a town square to vote on a variety of issues by show of hands in an open-air assembly.

This centuries-old tradition is still practiced in two cantons: Appenzell Innerrhoden, where it is scheduled for April 30th, as well as Glarus, to be held on May 7th.

READ ALSO: ‘Pure democracy’: What is Switzerland’s Landsgemeinde (open-air assembly)?

Ascension Day

Thursday May 18th will mark the Ascension Day, which is a national public holiday in Switzerland.  

While the following day, Friday the 19th, is not a public holiday — that is, stores and most other businesses operate as usual — schools and some offices remain closed until Monday.

READ ALSO: When are the Swiss public holidays in your canton in 2023?

Whit Monday

Following closely after Ascension is Whit Monday, a religious observance also called Pentecost, taking place on May 28th. 

It is national holiday, except in the cantons of Neuchâtel, Soloturn, Valais, and Zug.

Also in May: remaining Swiss ski resorts close

While most resorts shut down already, some, located at high altitudes, remain operational.

They will, however, officially end their ski seasons in May:

May 1st: Gemsstock – Andermatt

May 7th: Titlis – Engelberg; Diavolezza/​Lagalb; Glacier 3000 – Les Diablerets; Engstligenalp – Adelboden

May 14th: Crans-Montana