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Social Customs in Switzerland

Social Customs in Switzerland

Social Customs in Switzerland

Did you know that it’s disrespectful to chew gum in public in Switzerland? Or that you should keep your volume down when speaking around locals?

Many social customs in Switzerland may surprise you. A lot of these social etiquettes are unique to the country, while some are quite common.

If you don’t want to get strange attention in Switzerland, it’s best to follow social customs. It’s also a great way to adapt to the Swiss culture and life.

Don’t move to Switzerland yet without learning these customs. Here are a few ones to help you get started:

Don’t Disturb People in Public

The Swiss are serious about peace and order in public spaces. To maintain this, they established a set of social rules to follow.

If you’re out in public, refrain from talking out loud. The Swiss don’t like loud people and have a low tolerance for noise.

Chewing a piece of gum may sound harmless, but it could get you mean stares from the locals. Swiss people see this act as rude, so it’s best not to do it in public.

Greet People With Respect

The Swiss don’t like disturbance, but they sure love warm greetings. If you spend some time strolling down the streets, you may notice that people greet each other.

You can greet everyone in English, but the Swiss will appreciate it if you greet them in their language. Try learning a few phrases before heading out on the streets.

When you’re introduced to someone, you may want to reserve a bit of liveliness for later. A light handshake will do. Make sure not to break eye contact while doing this. Otherwise, they might think you’re rude.

For other people that you’re well-acquainted with, greetings are more informal. Three light kisses on the cheek is acceptable.

Observe Table Manners

There are also dining etiquettes that you must know in Switzerland. You must observe these practices especially when you’re invited to a formal dinner.

If a local friend invites you to their home, take a trip down the store and get a gift. Get them something practical. Don’t buy a present at a high cost as it would make the host uncomfortable.

As a sign of respect, make sure to arrive early or on time. Don’t let them wait for you.

Speaking of waiting, if the family is still anticipating other guests, don’t start eating yet. Everyone must be at the table and dine together. 

While eating, don’t put your elbows at the table, only lay your wrists at the edge. If you’re done, put your fork and knife in a 5:25 position. This tells your host that you’re done.

Studying Switzerland’s social customs is important for you and the people you interact with. It shows that you value their culture and respect their personal spaces.

Knowing social customs can help you adjust to life in Switzerland. Look through more of our stories here at MSM Unify to learn more about Swiss culture.


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