Links and Webpages
We tried to collate the most relevant travel information for you below, further information can be found on:
https://www.ch.ch - A page describing life, laws and all administrative aspects of Switzerland.
https://www.myswitzerland.com - Switzerland’s Tourist Office
https://www.sbb.ch - The Swiss Federal Railway Services
Currency and Payment
Switzerland uses the Swiss Franc. The exchange rate is normally around 0.83 € (so 1.10 CHF = 1.00 €). Credit Cards as well as Maestro are widely accepted, even more so than in e.g. Germany or France, and contactless card readers are standard. Instead of Google or Apple Pay, the national solution TWINT is used to pay with your mobile phone.
We’d recommend you withdraw a small amount of cash from a Post Finance or Kantonalbank-ATM after arriving in Switzerland, and otherwise pay with your card - the fees for this are lower (if any) than what you would pay in an exchange service. Shops usually don’t have a minimum order value to use electronic payment. While a lot of shops even accept cash Euro-payment, their exchange rate is often higher than using any of the options above.
Switzerland is not cheap - but there are a few rules of thumb you can apply that can help you with spending considerations. Prices aren’t too different from e.g. Germany or France, electronics are often even cheaper (mind the different plug, though!). But the moment meat/dairy or human service comes into the equation, you are paying for an elevated income structure and stricter farming regulations. Tips are not usual and certainly not a must in Switzerland. If you want to show gratitude, you give a maximum of 10% extra, or round up in steps of 5 Francs.
Of course Switzerland is famous for having four official languages. Our native languages are German, French, Italian and Raetho-Romanic. In all openness, your average Swiss will speak one, maybe two of them. You will however be surprised that most people will answer you fairly fluently in English. Especially Zug is home to a high number of expats, that work for the multinational corporations’ headquarters in this Canton. So don’t hesitate asking for directions or getting service at a restaurant.
Switzerland has one of the strictest traffic laws globally. So please avoid speeding, illegal parking and inform yourself ahead of travel on www.ch.ch about rules and fines, which are considerably higher than in other European states.
Travelling and Customs
Switzerland is not part of the European Union, but Schengen. That means, travelling from a Schengen state (e.g. all neighbour countries) does not require you to bring a passport. You will however have to ID yourself if required, so please take either your driver’s license or your ID card with you.
As Switzerland is not part of the EU, you may also appreciate the duty-free offers at the airport. However, please check for the maximum allowed amounts ahead of your purchase. Equipment donations or similar with a value of more than 300 Swiss Francs must be declared at customs. Also, take special note about our restrictions on importing meat (maximum of 1kg per person). More info at https://www.ch.ch/en/how-clear-personal-goods-purchased-abroad/
The Canton of Zug charges 100 Swiss Francs (plus cleaning effort) for any kind of littering (yes, also for a single cigarette bud). Just don’t. Also, you can’t put your trash in just any neighbourhood bin. You have to fill special taxed garbage bags for this. For small garbage, please use public garbage bins only, or dispose of it in the hall or your hotel. There is no deposit on plastic bottles or cans.
Ah, Switzerland’s famous Mautsystem…! At the time of writing this, the highway vignette costs 55 Swiss Francs (around 50€) valid for the current year and can be bought at most gas stations before entering the country. Otherwise, there are booths before you arrive at border control. We recommend you get yours early: otherwise border control will sell you one during entry, too - along with a fine of about 200 Swiss Francs.
Switzerland has an excellent public transport network, delays are comparatively rare and there is even a guarantee that you will always catch your last scheduled connection at night. Also, you don’t pay more for express trains compared to commuter- or regional trains, pricing only calculates by zones you are passing on your way and can be compared to other neighbour states’ pricing per kilometer. The quickest route between Zürich and Cham is about 30 minutes, and costs around 25 CHF. In the interest of the environment we are of course happy if you come to us by train - please check www.sbb.ch in case of any questions.
Roaming / Internet
Switzerland is unfortunately not part of the Roam Like At Home agreement between EU states. We recommend you check your providers’ roaming package offers to avoid hefty roaming charges. Trains in Switzerland do not necessarily offer free Wifi, due to the good coverage even in rural areas.
Wild camping is not allowed in Switzerland. While there are official caravan grounds around 25 minutes by foot from the hall, we are exploring options for you caravan junkies. Let us know early if you want to come with your caravan.
Health Insurance and Services
Switzerland introduced the European Electronic Health Insurance card, and basic medical care is covered by other European Health Insurances included in the same agreement. However, in Switzerland it’s at the doctor’s/institutions discretion whether they send the bill straight to your health insurance provider, or give it to you so you figure out reimbursement yourself. Health service bills usually have a fairly long payment term, giving you the opportunity to get the money before having to cover the bill.
Swiss Type-12 power plugs have three pins. A Euro-plug (with two pins) will fit the sockets, but for example the German “Schuko”-plug does not. There is a Interdiscount (electronic supply store) close-by that sells adapters if you don’t have one with you. We will only have a very limited stash of adapters and Schuko-outlet strips at the party.
Different from Demodays, we won’t be able to host barbeques right in front of the hall. However the Lake Zug is five minutes away, where you can find nice barbeque spots in the park. The Youth Hostel also has a fire hole which can be used for barbecuing. Important in any case: Please fully clean up after yourselves, remove any trash and kill the flames. Usually, there should be garbage bins right next to the spots.
To us, the most important thing is that everyone is having fun - including kids that may be brought along, or teenagers interested in our work. We should state that visiting a demoparty with children should be carefully considered. It is loud, noisy and flashy, there is expensive equipment from both visitors and organizers and alcohol is being served from the afternoon until night time. If you are underage but are actively competing, let us know in case you are worried your entry will only be shown once you had to leave, and we will try and work something out for you.
One way or the other, we will enforce the following rules:
|Age-group||Entrance||Alcohol||Ear protection||Entrance Fee|
|0 - 8||only with a parent present||not being served||over-ear protection mandatory||Free, no vote|
|8 - 12||only with a parent present||not being served||in-ear mandatory||Free, no vote (unless holding a ticket)|
|12 - 15||until 21:00, only with a parent’s permission||not being served||in-ear recommended||full fee|
|16-18||until 21:00, until 24:00 only with a parent’s permission||no hard alcohol||in-ear recommended||full fee|
If you plan on bringing your children but don’t own protective gear, please let us know ahead of time so we can lend you some. If parents or spouses are interested, we may also seek for partnerships with local indoor-playgrounds and babysitter services. We can also point you towards other activities in the neighbourhood, to give your kids some time to explore and enjoy Switzerland, too. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Dial the international emergency line (112) and you will be connected accordingly. Otherwise:
Fire Department: 118
Rega (Mountain Rescue - you won’t need it, but we couldn’t resist): 1414