A survey published this week shows high levels of trust and generosity towards neighbours in Switzerland.
Published by the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute, an offshoot of Migros, the survey reported that three quarters of those surveyed felt very safe where they lived and practically no one reported being dissatisfied with their relationships with their neighbours.
67% were happy to help out if their neighbour had run out of a food item or needed to borrow a tool. 48% were happy to water neighbours’ plants and 26% occasionally looked after their children or pets.
Overall, 81% of Swiss are happy with the level of contact with their neighbours, while 16% would like more connection and 2% less.
Broadly, there are four kinds of neighbours in Switzerland. Those who are distant and rarely engage – this is the largest group (47%), a that group prefers to be left alone and to not bother others. If they need something, they get by by themselves. However, they are available if necessary.
A second group is driven by curiosity. This group (30%) is interested in stimulating encounters that expand their horizons.
A third group (14%) likes to make connections and seeks close friendly harmonious relationships among a homogenous group of people that shares a similar set of values, lifestyle and outlook.
Finally, there is a group (9%) that is attached to certain values and seeks to live among those that share the same ideas. But rather than close relationships they prefer to keep a respectful distance and favour considerate interaction.
There are also some regional variations. Those in French-speaking Switzerland prefer more neighbourly contact than their German-speaking compatriots.