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Information on Desi and Indian Life in Switzerland, Europe and EU....from GaramChai Europe

GaramChai Europe >> Switzerland

Bollywood discovered Switzerland as an exotic place for its movies in the 1990s. At least since then well-off 'Indian' tourists travel there on their trip to Europe. But the picturesque country attracts not only tourists, but also migrants from 'South Asia'. In fact, it has one of the highest proportions of 'Indians' and 'Pakistanis' per head of population in the 'European' comparison, and the absolute number of 'Tamils' is even higher. The former figures might be due to the restrictive naturalisation rules, which make it very difficult to obtain the Swiss citizenship, the latter are the signs of the major 'Tamil' residence of asylum in 'Europe' .

Like in Germany and Austria the first 'South Asians' to come to Switzerland were students and freedom fighters. Günther and Rehmer (1999, 54-55) refer to a Pro India Committee and a magazine “Pro India” which existed in Zürich in 1912. This early presence of 'Indians' in Switzerland might explain that among the 'Indians' living in the country some are older than 65 years. Most of the 'South Asians' migrants are, however, in the working age of 20 to 39 years, and increasingly there are small children below 14 years. The single largest communities are 'Sri Lankans', who are predominantly 'Tamil' Hindus . continued

Indian Associations in Switzerland // Articles

Other Resources:

  • Switzerland + India: Presence Switzerland from Embassy of Switzerland in India. The emergence of the friendship between India and Switzerland formally started with the Treaty of Friendship and Establishment of 1948 and took place in various fields, such as development, economy, and culture. The exchanges between the two countries have since then increased and developed to new fields.
  • Ministry Of External Affairs, Government of India: Facts and Details on Switzerland. There are approximately 7,500 Indian nationals living and working in Switzerland.  In addition, there are about 2,700 people of Indian origin in Switzerland.  The major concentration of Indians is in Geneva, Zurich, Basel and Bern. Major Newspapers/Magazine/TV Channels : La Tribune de Geneve, Geneve; Le Temps, Geneve; La Liberte, Fribourg; 24 Heures, Lausanne, Tages Anzeiger, Zurich; Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Zurich; Basler Zeitung, Basel; Berner Zeitung, Berne
  • Embassy of India in Switzerland: Address. Kirchenfeldstrasse, CH-3005, Berne, Switzerland. Telephone (PABX) No.: 00 41-31-3511110, 3511046 & 3511357 (Commercial Wing)
  • The Embassy of Switzerland, New Delhi: Nyaya Marg, Chanakyapuri New Delhi - 110 021 (P.O. Box 392) Tel. (Board Lines): (+ 91-11) 26878372-4 Tel. (Trade & Commerce): (+91-11) 26878534
  • is an enterprise of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to inform Swiss living abroad about events in their homeland and to raise awareness of Switzerland in other countries.
  • Embassy of India Advisory for students: Indian students seeking admission in Hotel Management Schools in Switzerland may please note the following: The Swiss hotel school landscape is much diversified. You will find world leading institutions and poor teaching schools with barely any international recognition for their awarded degrees. Therefore it is absolutely essential that the student should verify the accreditation the hotel schools have. The hotel schools can be accredited by the Swiss authorities through the Universities of Applied Sciences system (which is the case for Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne) or through different private institutions, but amongst which the NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges) is the main international accreditation institution.
  • Swissnex Bangalore is an initiative of the Swiss State Secretariat for Education and Research of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Similar institutions are located in Boston, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Singapore. Its goal is to fully exploit the potential of cooperation between Switzerland and the respective host countries in the fields of higher education, research, technology, innovation and culture and to promote Switzerland as one of the leading countries in those domains.
  • Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) - Indian Business Promotion: Viewpoint and data on Switzerland. India's strength lies in quality value proposition, strong cyber law regime, experience of managing big projects and support from government. India has developed a strong capacity in ICT, capturing a large and growing share of world market for information and technology and software services. Switzerland is a very technology friendly country. This is particularly true for information and communication technologies (ICT). Switzerland per capita expenditure on information technology in 2000 was the highest in Europe at more than US$ 1,512. Swiss companies have been increasingly outsourcing their work from Indian companies and many of them have also entered into business partnership with Indian companies. Thus opportunity exists in the field of wireless communication, Internet technologies, converged area and cutting edge researches in the sector for Indian ICT industry.
  • KELI: A Socio-Cultural Organisation of Indians in Switzerland: It was a beginning at the end of the 90's when a handful of individuals with similar ideas and common interests joined together and founded KELI- a socio-cultural organization of Indians in Switzerland- with the intention of upholding the Indian values, International relationship and goodwill. KELI, as laid down in its constitution, is a non-profitable, nonsecterian, nonpolitical organization officially recognized and registered in Switzerland. All the activities of KELI are controlled and regulated by an elected, even member, executive body. KELI was officially inaugurated by Shri. M.R. Venu I.F.S. ( First Secretary, permanent Mission of India, Geneve) on 24th October 1998 in Zurich.
  • Swiss Indian Chamber of Commerce:
  • Swiss Hindu Mamanram: A non-profit charitable Organisation. From our beginning in Feb,1993 We have been serving our comunity in all over the Switzerland.
  • Cricket Switzerland Official site of the Swiss Cricket Association
  • SwissDesi - Indian in Switzerland: Discussion forum and portal
  • Krishna-Gemeinschaft Schweiz

[Note, additional associations serving major cities of Basel, Berne, Zurich and Geneva can be found on individual pages]

Basel macht Appetit. Auf vielfältigste und köstlichste Art und Weise. Was für das einzigartige Kulturangebot gilt, trifft in besonderem Masse auch auf die Gastronomie zu. Die einzigartige Lage im Dreiländereck garantiert Ihnen Abwechslung und Spitzenqualität auf dem Speisezettel!   

Vegetarische Restaurants und Hotels in der Schweiz

News and Articles on Indians in Switzerland

  • Immigrant Hinduism in Switzerland: Tamils from Sri Lanka and Their Temples:Hinduism in Switzerland consists of a diversity of different groups and traditions. As in India and elsewhere none can claim to speak out for "the Hindus".
  • Switzerland: Latest destination for skilled Indians: The Swiss Alps have hosted many a song and dance routine, but it’s not just Bollywood that’s feeling the pull of that alpine attraction. There has been a growing interest among Indians to head to Switzerland and, not surprisingly, the number of visas issued in India by the embassy of Switzerland has been rising.
  • Switzerland beckons Indians: With their usual clockwork precision, the Swiss continue to market their country as a tourist destination, and during the lean summer times, India is a predictable target.
  • South Asian Christian Diaspora. Invisible Diaspora in Europe and North America
  • Switzerland: A Tamil asylum diaspora: Some references to Indians, who came. from Switzerland to Berlin.
  • Why Is Switzerland the Worldís Most Immigrant-Friendly Country?: Why was I surprised? Because itís relatively hard to become a citizen of Switzerland. But that was me thinking a path to citizenship and residency and work rights were a kind of logical package deal. And thatís wrong. So maybe Switzerlandís lack of birthright citizenship and relatively arduous naturalization process help explain their receptivity to immigration. I donít know. And I donít know about Swiss welfare eligibility rules either. (Anyone?) But it now strikes me that my initial surprise was probably misplaced.
  • Swiss Tamils look to preserve their culture: Tamils first came to Switzerland in the 1980s as refugees fleeing civil war in Sri Lanka and now make up a sizeable community in the country.
  • Hinduism in Switzerland: The 2000 census reported 27,839 residents of Switzerland self-identifying as Hindus (0.38% of the total population; 1.11% in Berne, 1% in Zurich, 0.27% in Geneva).
  • Swiss hospitality schools target Chennai students: Pimo Mazurczak, regional admission director for Glion and Les Roches, Switzerland said, “The traditional Indian view of the hospitality sector has undergone a huge change and graduates from our schools are in high demand in the travel, hotel, restaurant, cruise-ship sectors and even large corporate houses. We have found that Indian students educated at Les Roches and Glion find excellent career opportunities in India as well as in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North America.”
  • Campus Buzz. Switzerland beckons: Students in Calcutta can now be a part of the famed Swiss hospitality industry. The Les Roches International School of Hotel Management and the Glion Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland are offering students from the city a chance to join the rapidly growing global travel and hospitality sector. Representatives of the two hospitality schools have been visiting every year and, over the last four years, more than 150 Indian students have joined Les Roches or Glion to pursue an international hospitality management degree
  • India in Focus: The Swiss Government provides yearly fellowships for foreign students. Priority is given to applicants from a small number of countries, including India.
  • (Continued) McDowell (1996, 227) divides the 'Tamils' into two groups. The first smaller half is the immigrant population which arrived at the beginning of the civil war in Sri Lanka between 1983 and 1989. They successfully integrated in the economy, are no longer dependent on state transfers and are permanently settling in Switzerland. The second larger half is the asylum seeker population, which arrived after 1989 and is unable to integrate in the economy. They do not have a permanent permit of residence and live in the danger of deportation. The racialised and precarised population is thus carefully trying to keep its good reputation and distances itself from the asylum seekers. - People marked as 'South Asians' in Switzerland


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This section of will attempt to address some of the Frequently Asked Questions on Life in Europe that immigrants, visitors and others from different cultures attempt to address. If you have any additional inputs or wish to see more topics addressed, mail us at

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