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Winterthur (pronounced: Ger. /vɪntərtur/, Eng. /vɪntərtʊər/) is a city in the canton of Zurichmarker in northern Switzerlandmarker. It has the country's sixth largest population with an estimate of more than 100,000 people. In the local dialect and by its inhabitants, it is usually abbreviated to Winti. Today Winterthur is a service and high tech industry centre, but many people make use of its proximity to Zurich, which is only 18 minutes by train.

Winterthur is connected to Germany and Italy by direct trains and enjoys excellent links to Zurich Airportmarker. It is also a regional transportation hub: the A1 motorway from Genevamarker through to St. Margrethenmarker connects in Winterthur with the A4 motorway heading north toward Schaffhausenmarker and the A7 motorway heading close to the Swiss-German border at Kreuzlingenmarker. There are also roads leading to other places such as Turbenthalmarker. The Station of Winterthur is one of the highest frequented Stations of Switzerland. FC Winterthur is the local football side.


During Roman times the city was known as Vitudurum. The counts of Kyburg founded the city in 1175. The charter included extensive privileges for the town. In 1264 the Habsburg family inherited Winterthur. They sold it to the city of Zurich in 1467.



Winterthur is located at an elevation of . The city is located in a basin south and east of the Tössmarker river. The Eulach, a little river, flows in the middle by the city, because of this the town is called "Eulach-City". Zurich lies about twenty miles southwest of Winterthur.

Winterthur has an area of . Of this area, 27% is used for agricultural purposes, while 41.4% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 30.8% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (0.8%) is non-productive (rivers, glaciers or mountains). housing and buildings made up 21.9% of the total area, while transportation infrastructure made up the rest (9%). Of the total unproductive area, water (streams and lakes) made up 0.6% of the area. , 27.6% of the total municipal area was undergoing some type of construction.


 the population of Winterthur is 100,000.  the population was 96,462, of which 23.1% are foreign nationals.  the gender distribution of the population was 48.6% male and 51.4% female. Over the last 10 years the population has grown at a rate of 10.4%. Most of the population ( ) speaks German  (83.0%), with Italian being second most common ( 4.9%) and Albanian being third ( 2.0%).

The age distribution of the population ( ) is children and teenagers (0–19 years old) make up 20.9% of the population, while adults (20–64 years old) make up 62.6% and seniors (over 64 years old) make up 16.5%. There are 42028 households in Winterthur.

 there were 26,134 Catholics and 36,557 Protestants in Winterthur. In the 2000 census, religion was broken down into several smaller categories. From the  , 44.4% were some type of Protestant, with 41.1% belonging to the Swiss Reformed Church and 3.3% belonging to other Protestant churches. 28.5% of the population were Catholic. Of the rest of the population, 7.3% were Muslim, 10.2% belonged to another religion (not listed), 4.8% did not give a religion, and 11.3% were atheist or agnostic.


The "Stadtrat", the local executive conseil, covers 7 members. Actually are three of them out of the Social Democratic Party , including the townpresident, and one member per party of the Greens, EVP, FDP and CVP.

In the 2006 local election the most popular party was the Social Democratic Party which got 19 out of 60 seats. The other parties who got into the legislative were: SVP (11 seats), FDP (9), CVP (6), Green Party (5), EVP (5), glp (2), EDU (1), AL (1), SD (1). Next local elections are in 2010.

In the 2007 federal election the most popular party was the SVP which received 27.7% of the vote. The next two most popular parties were the SPS (23.2%) and the Green Party (14.4%).


Bird view in 1850
Economically, Winterthur was one of the homes of Switzerland's rail industry and an industrial centre. The rail industry and other heavy industry have largely disappeared. Amongst the most significant companies was Sulzer Brothers, today's Sulzer Ltd., Sulzer AG, commonly abbreviated to Sulzer. Textile production declined even earlier on. Also the Rieter company come from Winterthur.

Switzerland's largest bank, and one of the world's large banks, Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS), since 1998 UBS AG, was also founded in Winterthur.

Among other commercial organizations, Winterthur was home to Switzerland's largest insurance business "Winterthur Insurance". Until 2006, the company was the largest in Switzerland and was in Europe's top 10. On January 1, 2007 the Winterthur company was officially acquired by the French AXA group and is now known as AXA Winterthur.

Winterthur has an unemployment rate of 3.13%. , there were 594 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 97 businesses involved in this sector. 11603 people are employed in the secondary sector and there are 717 businesses in this sector. 39982 people are employed in the tertiary sector, with 3570 businesses in this sector. 47.9% of the working population were employed full-time, and 52.1% were employed part-time.


The entire Swiss population is generally well educated. In Winterthur about 70.7% of the population (between age 25-64) have completed either non-mandatory upper secondary education or additional higher education (either University or a Fachhochschule).

The town is renowned for its institute of higher education Technikum, which is the largest school of technology in Switzerland. The institute has recently teamed up with schools from Zurich and is now known as Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften (ZHAW).


Winterthur is a node of the Swiss train-net and also of the S-Bahn Zurich. All express trains who drive in the direction to St.Gallen, Konstanz or Romanshorn pass the mainstation. There is also a EuroCity to Munich which stops in Winterthur. Additionally 11 S-Bahn-lines and 5 nightlines stop there. 122'000 passenger are frequenting the place each day. Beside the mainstation there are nine more trainstations in Winterthur.The local public transport is runned by Stadtbus Winterthur with twelthe town bus lines and five regional bus lines,


The city church of Winterthur, a local landmark
Winterthur's chamber orchestra, Orchester Musikkollegium Winterthur, which also plays at the Zurich Opera is exceptional. Between 1922 and 1950, the philanthropist Werner Reinhart and the conductor Hermann Scherchen played a leading role in shaping the musical life of Winterthur, with numerous premiere performances emphasizing contemporary music.

The city hall Stadthaus, in which the concerts of the Musikkollegium take place, was built by Gottfried Semper.

Musikfestwochen, in late August and early September, sees Winterthur’s Old Town taken over for live music of all kinds, in the street and bars as well as in concert venues.

The "Albanifest", the largest annual festival in a historic town in Switzerland, is named after St Alban, one of the city's four saints, is held here, over three days in late June every year. Although a recent creation, the festival celebrates the granting of a charter to the town in 1264 by Rudolf of Habsburgh on the 22 June of that year, which happened to be the saint's day.

The church of St. Laurenz in the city centre dates from 1264, the town hall was built in 1781, the assembly hall in 1865.

In 1989, Winterthur received the Wakker Prize for the development and preservation of its architectural heritage.


Winterthur is not known as a classic tourist hotspot, as other destinations in Switzerland.As a result Winterthur does not offer a wide range of hotels to choose from.

Nevertheless Winterthur is mentioned in most tourist guides for its numerous museums, many of which offer world class art. The most famous are:

  1. Oskar Reinhart Collection 'Am Römerholz'
  2. Oskar Reinhart Collection am Stadtgarten
  3. Kunstmuseum Winterthur
  4. Villa Flora
  5. Fotomuseum Winterthur
  6. Technorama

Winterthur in 1642


Winterthur's gastronomical scene has evolved significantly over the past 10 years. Following the trend of the locals to dine out more frequently and the rising desire for exotic food, Winterthur offers a wide range of restaurant types. Although the classic cool restaurant type, very popular in other destination, has not yet caught on, some restaurants as the “National”, the vegetarian “Tibits” or Switzerland’s first “Wagamama”, try to fill the void.

A very distinctive venue is the “Club zur Geduld”, unfortunately for tourists, a members only restaurant/bar modeled after the classic English gentlemen clubs, located in the heart of the old town. Just a few steps away you will find another Winterthur classic, the wine club “Meinweinkeller”, which invites everybody to wine and dine on Thursdays in a beautiful 17th century townhouse.

On the outskirts of the city you will find arguably the best restaurant, “Taggenberg”, offering modern cuisine. Not far from it is the 16th century “Schloss Wülflingen” which is currently being renovated.


  1. Neu Zuricher Zeitung 4 July 2008 edition accessed 14 August 2009
  2. Swiss Federal Statistical Office accessed 4 September 2009. The english page incorrectly identifies local center parties as CSP.
  3. Swiss Federal Statistical Office accessed 14-Aug-2009
  4. Statistics Zurich accessed 4 August 2009
  5. Musikkollegium website

External links

  • – Official Webpage of Winterthur
  • – Official Webpage Economic Development Region of Winterthur
  • – Musikkollegium Winterthur
  • - Homepage of Winterthur's city Orchestra
  • - Homepage of Winterthur's wine club

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