Winterthur, the charming Zürich satellite

My whirlwind tour of Zurich had come to an end, it was time to go on to the next city, St Gallen for what I had arrived in Switzerland for. But before that, a short pitstop in a small town of Winterthur to catch-up with a friend. I was practically still in Zurich though, seeing as I arrived in Winterthur after barely 25 minutes on the train.

Winterthur is a city in the Zurich canton, and the sixth largest city in Switzerland, boasting of a great many amazing museums and a large number of service and high tech industries. The proximity to Zurich however and the growth of that city has meant that in recent years, it’s has gained a reputation for being a satellite city to Zurich.

Commuting from one city to another to work is an increasingly common occurence in urban environments. By most modern urban standards the 22 minute commute from Winterthur to Zurich is not long, its a very good amount of time actually. Commuting in many larger cities is sometimes much much longer and has gotten more intensive. The most extreme versions are the “super commuters” who travel for more than 2 hours a day. There are some in the United States who even fly in to work for 4 days of the work week and then leave for the weekend on the remaining 3 days of the week.

Winterthur is in fact the perfect satellite city. It has all the amenities you’d want from a city with the benefit of being semi-urban, quiet and peaceful. Rather charming actually.

There’s even a beautiful old town with a weekend market that sells local produce from the farms around the area.

And it has a customary beautiful church, as almost all Swiss cities do, at the centre of town.

It was built as a military base and therefore an important part of the defence of the Roman empire in the 1st century and only became a city proper in the 12 century. The unchanging part of its history has however been its consistent overshadowing by the much larger and more important city by the lake.

What this city does have, and can proudly claim is its collection of world class museums.

Many of these museums are world class because of the endowment, and loans of art works they obtain from the Gottfried Keller-Stiftung, an arts foundation based in Winterthur and set up to document the cultural heritage of Switzerland. The GKS purchaes art works from Switzerland and around the world and either loans them out to musuems or returns them to their proper owners and entrusts them to take care and upkeep the art works (paid for by the foundation of course). All in there are some 8500 art works and other objects housed in some 110 museums around Switzerland, valued in the range of 500 million to 1.5 billion Swiss francs.

Let’s keep this little gem of a city, our little secret…

Oh no!

I got lost in how beautiful the town was… can’t be late, that’ll be un-Swiss 😉



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