Real Life. Real News. Real Voices.
Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.
Join HuffPost Plus

Basel Is the World's Least-Welcoming City for Expats

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

In Swiss cities, foreigners find it difficult to settle in, with Basel ranking last in the Ease of Settling In Index and Zurich being considered the most unfriendly city in the world.

Zurich, Switzerland, is the worst-performing city in the world when it comes to the friendliness of the local population, according to previously unreleased data from the third annual InterNations Expat Insider 2016 survey. With more than 14,000 respondents, it is one of the most extensive studies ever conducted to explore the general living situation of expatriates. In the overall city ranking, Basel, Geneva, and Zurich achieve rather average results. With Basel coming in a slightly above-average 12th place, it is the best-ranking destination in Switzerland. Geneva and Zurich rank 14th and 16th out of 35 cities, respectively.


Swiss Locals Make It Hard for Expats to Feel at Home
The Expat Insider 2016 survey finds that Basel is the respondents' least favorite city when it comes to the ease of settling in. The city in Switzerland's tri-border area ranks last out of 35 destinations in this index, with only 36 percent of the respondents saying that they feel at home in the local culture -- a rather low number compared to the worldwide average of 61 percent. Moreover, Basel also comes in last for finding friends, with another 36 percent giving this factor a negative rating.

However, Basel is not the only Swiss city that makes it hard for expats to settle down. Zurich ranks just before Basel and occupies a poor 34th place in the Ease of Settling In index. Zurich seems to be struggling with the lack of friendliness of the local population towards foreign residents, thus landing on 35th place in the Friendliness subcategory. Almost four in ten respondents (39 percent) think that the attitude towards foreign nationals leaves a lot to be desired.

Geneva -- representing the French part of Switzerland -- ranks second from last for finding friends, which means that three Swiss cities in a row occupying the lowest places in this category (Zurich comes in 33rd place). The cliché about the Swiss being the very opposite of warm and outgoing people does not seem that far-fetched after all.

Swiss Cities Offer High Quality of Life
Speaking of clichés frequently applied to Switzerland -- with Basel ranking second and Zurich coming in fifth place in the Personal Finance Index, this strong result with regard to the financial situation of expatriates does not come as a huge surprise. Over three-quarters of the respondents in Basel (78 percent) are generally satisfied with their financial situation abroad, and 24 percent couldn't even be happier about it.

Basel also does quite well when it comes to the local quality of living, ranking sixth right before Zurich, which makes it to a more than respectable seventh place in the Quality of Life index. Almost 95 percent of the respondents appreciate the peacefulness in Zurich and 97 percent feel positive about the quality of environment. Not one respondent rates the quality of environment very badly in any of the three Swiss cities.