Metropolis Means Business
gloomy global economic prospects, Zurich remains a bargain for international
business ventures and is exceptionally equipped to ease the business
visitor’s sojourn, unveils Shalini Mundhra-Rathi
camera, action! If youre wondering, whether this is Bollywood,
Mumbai? Think again. Hills, lake and blue-and-white trams. You got
it. Switzerland it is. Whether its the famous Bern clock,
Zurich airport, casino of Interlaken or the streets of Lugano, all
have been captured on celluloid for the Indian audiences several
times over. The Indian film industry is such a familiar sight here
that they are almost an integral part of the sights and sounds of
Switzerland. Each one of the tourist chariot operators in Bern will
tell you which film their chariot has featured in. I remember this
one time walking into a Swiss restaurant in Gstaad (another hot
favourite locale with Bollywood directors) and being asked by the
stewardess there if I was part of the group that keeps singing and
dancing every now and then! When I said I was from India but not
part of that troupe, in a very conspiratorial tone she asked, They
always say they are shooting for a feature film. Is that true?
one thing is for sure. All the singing and dancing against this
exotic backdrop by the Bollywood actors have had hordes of Indian
tourists, particularly honeymooners, headed to Switzerland over
the last few years. It is, thus, difficult to think of Zurich as
a booming metropolis; it looks more like a medieval town that has
somehow found itself in the 21st century. But with a population
of over 360,000 and thriving business and entertainment districts,
it is without doubt Switzerlands most bustling city. Controversy
over money-laundering and Nazi gold, the recent bankruptcy of SwissAir
and shake-ups in financial services caused Switzerland to lose some
of its sheen. But it remains an extraordinarily successful economic
entity for its size. Greater integration into the European Union,
without the disadvantages of actual membership, will ensure that
Zurich remains a key centre of business.
to the latest Globalisation Index, a joint product of AT Kearney
and Foreign Policy Magazine, Switzerland is in second place after
Ireland and just ahead of Singapore, who is in third place. The
extent to which the Swiss economy is globalised is reflected in
the fact that every second a Swiss franc is earned abroad. Despite
a global economic outlook, paradoxically enough, until recently,
it was highly improbable if not outright impossible for foreigners
to join the board of Swiss companies. Many pundits, in fact, have
attributed the collapse of SwissAir to lack of a multinational board
even as the air carrier headed towards a more European presence.
Most traditional Swiss companies are family-run businesses with
a strong culture. However, a lot of that is changing with time.
part of its development and foreign trade policies, the State Secretariat
for Economic Affairs (SECO) has a specifically defined policy towards
the emerging markets and markets in transition in the global economy.
A Mauritius-based Swiss Technology Venture Capital Fund (SwissTec
VCF) has been sponsored by SECO, to focus on selected industries
in a number of countries of the Indian Ocean rim; its first and
so far only target country is India. It has contributed an initial
capital of USD 12 million to the fund for investment in India. Realising
the potential of the Indian software industry, a few years ago,
Swiss minister for Economic Affairs, Pascal Couchepin even made
several visits to India to lure the Indian software companies to
set up base in Switzerland.
influx of international companies into Zurich has had a huge impact
on the city, transforming it into a more lively, friendly place.
Many leading US companies such as General Motors, Dow Chemical,
Hewlett Packard, Philip Morris and Procter & Gamble, have chosen
Switzerland as the centre for their international activities. It
comes as no surprise that Switzerlands economy is so strong.
Switzerlands 1999 estimated gross domestic product (GDP) is
395 billion Swiss francs (US$ 272 billion) generating an income
per inhabitant of 51,164 Swiss francs (US$ 35,303), placing Switzerland
at the top of the developed economies. The 20th century saw the
rise of IT, optics, electronics, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
Besides, the citys academic institutions are noted for their
has a strong financial-services sector too, particularly private
banking and insurance. The Swiss stock exchange is hoping to grab
a larger share of pan-European trading, as indicated by its venture
with London-based Tradepoint to create a new virtual exchange, Virt-X.
reputation for sophistication and efficiency becomes apparent upon
arrival at Zurichs Kloten airport, located approximately 10
km north of the city. Despite the number of people who passed through
the terminals, a mere 10-minute train journey and you arrive into
the centre of Zurich. Taxis are also readily available at the airport,
but they are very expensive and the transport system is so efficient
that they could easily be avoided. Within the city, the clattering
trams ease short distance travel. This pristine, small city is very
easy to negotiate on foot as well. Amenity-wise, Zurich definitely
holds its own against other regional capitals. Zurich is an international
conference hub, but it does not take long to realise that Zurich
has far more to offer.
the last decade, Zurich West has emerged as an upmarket nightlife
district. Only a few years ago nobody wanted to walk the streets
after dark, but today it has been revamped with incredible success.
There is no longer anything remotely threatening about it. Among
the many new offers in Zurich West is the Schiffbau-Hall,
a former shipbuilders shed. This place is back to full bloom.
combination of the shores of Lake Zurich, the Limmat River, the
old town, villas and gardens make Zurich a sublime and diverse city
to visit. The Swiss obsession with cleanliness makes this a litter-free
city. It is best to start sightseeing in the old town where all
the major attractions can be found. The charming pedestrian streets
of this quarter contain beautiful courtyards, guildhouses and fountains.
Built between the 11th and 13th centuries, the Basilica Fraumunster
has spectacular stain-glassed windows by Marc Chagal. Close by is
Zurichs oldest church, St Peters. Most of the buildings
in the old town are from the Renaissance and Baroque periods and
the finest of these are probably the Town Hall and the Zunfthaus
sur Meise museum, famous for its collection of Swiss porcelain.
Another of the citys jewels is the world-famous Opera House.
Dont leave without taking a stroll along the shores of Lake
Zurich. The lake is 27 km long and, during the summer months, it
is a very popular spot for picnics and swimming.
variety of scenery in Zurich will catch you unawares. At times,
it will strike you as a rowdy, throbbing major city, at others -
especially in the Old Town - you will find the narrow alleys peaceful
and leisurely. For those who are here, the city still remains its
usual vibrant, exhausting, sometimes peaceful, and endlessly fascinating
five-star business hotel is situated in the residential area, away
from the hustle and bustle and yet close to the city centre. But
its USP is, undoubtedly, the magnificent panoramic views it provides
of the lake, city and Alps. The resort offers free shuttle buses
to and from the city centre.
room (forest) - CHF 420.00 person/night
room (forest) - CHF 270.00 person/night
room - CHF 490.00 person/night
room - CHF 345.00 person/night
Baur au Lac
to the same family since its opening in 1844, the hotel resides
in its own private park on the shore of the lake at the upper end
of fashionable Bahnhofstrasse. It boasts 125 luxuriously appointed
rooms, three restaurants, bar, various banquet facilities and a
new fitness club.
room - CHF 460.00 person/night
room - CHF 340.00 person/night
unique, five-star hotel, in eight historic buildings in Zurichs
historic centre, is famous for its restaurants and bar with live
jazz. The Widder Hotel is only 50 metres off the famous Bahnhofstrasse.
The alluring conjunction of ancient and modern - of enduring architectural
charm and sophisticated technologies for guest services - results
in a magical atmosphere.
room - CHF 490.00 person/night
room - CHF 345.00 person/night
first-class hotel in the heart of the city, is a walking distance
to the Bahnhofstrasse and the main train station. Guestrooms are
fully air-conditioned and equipped with voice mail and data ports,
colour-TV, minibar and hairdryer. The hotel has two restaurants,
one bar and a health club.
room - CHF 300.00 person/night
room - CHF 150.00 person/night
in two famous after-work parties in Zurich:
Restaurant & Bar
41, 8001 Zurich
01 227 19 19, Fax: 01 227 19 27
the spacious Art Deco Carlton restaurant on the Bahnhofstrasse,
the chef has a talent for giving a modern twist to the culinary
art. The wine menu, which has been awarded an accolade by the Wine
Spectator, features no lesser than 450 wines. The cocktail bar is
a stylish place to enjoy an aperitif. Day and Time: Every Tuesday
after 6 oclock.
Club & Restaurant
Pelikanstrasse 18, 8001 Zurich
01 225 33 33, Fax: 01 225 33 15
the best known club in Zurich, it was recently elected one of Europes
top 10 locations by an English fashion magazine. Queuing is simply
part of the pleasure! The club also has a bar and restaurant. Day
and Time: Every Thursday after 6 oclock.
services will take you out from the bustling city centre to the
tranquil countryside in no time at all. Taxis are very expensive.
Central Zurich, at any rate, is compact enough to cover on foot.
The citys public transport system, however, is very efficient,
particularly the tram service which runs from 5.30 am up until midnight.
All tram stops have ticket machines. You can buy a day ticket for
CHF 7.20, which can be used for unlimited use on city trams, buses
Summer: 25°C - 30°C
Winter: 5°C - 15°C
Holidays - January 1, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May 1, Ascension,
Whit Monday, August 1, December 25, 26.
- Swiss Franc
- one of Europe’s most beautiful shopping streets
is home to Europe’s only shop specialising in items from the middle
ages (‘Medieval’, Spiegelgasse 29)
Zurich is a highly popular business destination, the city also has
a lot to offer in the after-six hours. Bahnhofstrasse - one of Europes
most beautiful shopping streets - is considered a must see with
its elegant fashion emporiums, department stores, retailers selling
high-quality shoes, furs, accessories, porcelain, jewellery, watches
and more. Not to mention its banks and pastry shops. When it comes
to fashion, Zurich is always up-to-date: Versace, Armani, Valentino,
Krizia, Lagerfeld or Mugler, all the big names have a presence here.
In the Old City to the left of the River Limmat, on Rennweg, Strehlgasse,
Augustinergasse, St Peterhofstatt and Munsterhof, there are many
boutiques and antique dealers. Langstrasse seems downright Mediterranean,
and offers every hearts desire at a more moderate cost. For
seekers of rarities, curios and nostalgic items, the Saturday flea-market
on the Burkliplatz (May-October, 6 am-3.30 pm) is at par with the
ones in Paris and London. The curio market on the Rosenhof, which
is held on Thursdays (10 am- 8 pm) and Saturdays (10 am-4 pm) becomes
a veritable cornucopia of manufactured, hand-crafted and chance
antique shops in the old town invite onlookers to peruse old books
and magazines. Cheeky boutiques offer outrageous and far-out fashions,
while accessories are on sale in countless little shops.
4, 8001 Zurich
01 251 66 69, Fax: 01 251 66 81
world-famous, traditional dining restaurant is a popular haunt of
celebrities and corporates alike. The menus include a wide selection
of local as well as international specialities complemented by a
classic selection of wines. Along with the cuisine, you also get
to feast your eyes on original works by Picasso and Chagall.
28, 8001 Zurich
01 227 70 00, Fax: 01 227 70 07
in 1898 by Ambrosium Hiltl and completely renovated in the intervening
period, this vegetarian restaurant is a mecca for all lovers of
vegetarian cuisine. Feast on the citys largest salad buffet
with over 40 varieties, an Indian buffet and freshly pressed fruit
148, 8008 Zurich
01 421 50 50, Fax: 01 421 50 55
feast for the eyes? Not quite, because this restaurant is pitch
dark. Eat here and you put yourself entirely in the hands of the
blind personnel, who will guide you around. A completely new sensory
experience! Make sure you reserve in advance.
15, 8032 Zurich
01 266 97 97, Fax: 01 266 97 98
will find this gourmet restaurant in the upper price category at
the FIFA headquarters. Enjoy the fabulous cooking of top chef Jacky
Donatz while you soak in the panoramic views of the city.
4, 8005 Zurich
01 258 70 71, Fax: 01 259 70 71
restaurant is part of the new Schauspielhaus complex in Zurich-West
and was built in the form of a glass cube with the historic Schiffbau
hall as a backdrop.