We included Zug in our driving plans out of pure curiosity! Because Zug is the "richest" city in Switzerland! Switzerland is known for its wealth, and Zug is the richest of them all! So I was curious to see how the rich people live here, how is the environment, how is the accommodation, how are the prices? It was only a 27-minute drive from Lucerne (also known as Lucerne) to Zug, but we stopped at the rose town of Vigis on Lake Lucerne (I will also dedicate a travelogue to Lucerne and Vigis, so stay tuned). Vigis was so charming that we lost a lot of time! So it was already late in the evening when I arrived in Zug. But to be honest, the evening is also the most charming time in Zug! In this sense, we were in the golden hour of Zug!
Zug is the capital of the third smallest canton in Switzerland: the Canton of Zug! The canton of Zug is only larger than the cantons of Basel and Neu Appenzell. Zug is ideally located between Zurich and Lucerne, on Lake Zug, and almost equidistant from these two famous cities, one a 27-minute drive and the other 32 minutes! With an average elevation of 417 meters above sea level and a maximum depth of about 200 meters, Lake Zug is a long and narrow lake with a total length of about 9 miles and a width of about 2.1 miles. Among the many famous lakes in Switzerland Lake Zug should be said to be obscure! It has neither the grandeur of Lake Zurich, Lake Geneva and Lake Lucerne; nor the smallness and delicacy of Lake Interlaken and Lake Thun! (Lakes Lucerne, Geneva, Interlaken and Thun will also be featured), but it has nourished one side of Zug and nurtured one side of Zug's people! Therefore, it has a very important place in the history of Zug!
Zug has a very developed economy and is the richest city in Switzerland, bar none! Its gross national product per capita is well above the Swiss average and ranks first in the country. The canton sets its own tax rates, has a favorable tax policy for businesses, and its residents pay only 1/4 to 1/2 the personal income tax of other cantons, making it the lowest taxed canton in Switzerland. More than 30,000 companies are located here, and many of the world's most prestigious companies have their headquarters here.
The name Zug comes from a word used for fishing, and in the Middle Ages, Zug was a town with a fishing net that could be used for fishing concessions. The old town of Zug, which is built on a hill along Lake Zug, still retains the streets, patterns, buildings and churches formed during the Middle Ages. The city's streets are structured like a fishbone, with the main streets of the city running parallel to the contours of the mountain, and some of them running right across the lake.
The population of the city of Zug is about 30,000. The official language is German, but a native Swiss German called Alemannic is also spoken.
Until the 19th century, Zug was mainly an agricultural production area. 1834 saw the first cotton mill in Zug, which joined the industrialization of Europe. 1866 saw the construction of the first condensed milk factory in Europe, which was later integrated into Nestlé. After World War II, thanks to Switzerland's neutrality and thus escaping the Second World War, Zug developed rapidly and gradually became a Swiss national as well as international financial and trade center.
Legend has it that counts from kyburg founded the city of Zug in the early 13th century, and the 52-meter-high clock tower in the city dates back to that era. The clock tower started as an entrance to the old city walls, but over the centuries it grew taller and more elaborate, eventually taking on its present form, with windows floating out of the building and a soaring, four-sided sloping roof pointing to the sky. From the top of the tower, you can see the distinctive old town, the majestic Zug peak and the glistening Lake Zug. In 1574, the huge clock was built, giving the tower its name. Underneath the main clock there is an astronomical clock with four hands, which indicates the day of the week, the phases of the moon, the changes of the months and leap years. The Old Town is also home to the late Gothic Town Hall, built in 1505, and St. Oswald's Cathedral, completed in the same era.
At the foot of the clock tower in ZugIntermezzoAccess to the interior of the clock tower can be obtained by borrowing a key from the restaurant or from the reception desk of the nearby municipal police station (one person's passport is required as collateral). Inside, you can see the movement of the four-sided astronomical clock, which dates back to 1574, and take a break at a height of 52 meters with a breathtaking view of the Zug region.
After visiting Zug, I realized that Zug is one of my favorite small Swiss towns in Switzerland. Switzerland has good mountains and water, there are more than 1,500 lakes alone, and lakes and mountains are already a common sight. Zug is neither the highest peak in Europe (Jungfrau) (Jungfrau will also be featured in the travelogue) as unique natural scenery, nor like Zurich (Zürich) is an international financial center, it is like most of the small cities in Switzerland is not very well-known, quietly located in the lakeside, by the mountains and water, the city and nature coexist in harmony, the people are rich but not ostentatious. In this way, Zürich is universal and representative of Swiss cities.
Zug is such a Swiss city. It has a long history, with the remains of human activity on the shores of Lake Zug dating back to the Paleolithic period, more than 14,000 years BC. Archaeologists believe that the lakeside settlements of the time lived on nomadic hunting. The lake not only provided water for living, but was also a place for ancient people to catch fish. By the Neolithic period around 4000 B.C., the population of the lakeside settlement grew to a certain size and a settlement was formed. In the later Bronze Age and Iron Age, there have been places for human survival and living around the Chugach Lake. By the 13th century AD, the city of Chug began to appear in the documentary record.
Like many European cities, the prosperity of the medieval period laid down the urban structure of the old town of Zug. The old town is harmoniously blended with the landscape and nature, and everywhere you walk, the scenery is just at your fingertips, everywhere looks like a pottery-glazed painting. Through the overstreet buildings and streets, you will see the mountains cascading in the distance upwards and the turquoise lake downwards from time to time.
Our guesthouse was located on the Chugach Mountain, and after settling in, we couldn't wait to get down the mountain. As the car drove slowly down from the mountain, we had a bird's eye view of the city, with houses cascading down and wooden sloping roofs flushed with deep red, reflecting the turquoise of the lake, with both red and green colors crisp and clear. The sun was shining and the various colors were a layer of translucent, like a glaze. When you get to the water's edge, the lake pushes out in an unobstructed view, with layers of mountains on the opposite side of the lake, from the beautiful and soft hills near, to the tall and magnificent snow-capped mountains in the distance. Wooden trestles jutting outward punctuate the deep and shallow reflections on the lake. Looking back, the city is on the hill, and the beige stone walls are reflected in the lush old green of the trees, with playful rooftops sticking out of the green furry skyline from time to time, cutting into the clear blue sky. There are clouds in the sky, floating like smoke, so beautiful that you can't bear to blink. Such a landscape painting is not static in Chug.
In a small town like Zug, the city is booming and the old town is still well preserved. In addition to this development, the Swiss do not fish for the natural world, but try to preserve it and live in harmony with it. Despite the construction of new urban areas, the canton of Zug still retains almost 36% of its agricultural land, about 38% of its forest cover and only about 24% of its building land, including houses and roads. The remaining 2% is made up of rivers, glaciers or mountains. Based on the old city, the new city of Zug gradually expanded northward, creating an urban commercial, financial and industrial area adjacent to and independent of the old city. The new city has many modern buildings made of reinforced concrete, as well as high-rise buildings. For example, the railway station in Zug is a new building that was built in 2004. The station is an important transport station and serves as a hub connecting Zug with the Swiss cities. With a floor area of 6,500 square meters, the station has a simple form with fine Swiss-made details and nodes. It is worth noting that the lighting is by the famous artist James Turrell and that the building was awarded the Brunel Award in 2005.
Many of the buildings in the new city of Zug are the headquarters of Swiss, European and even global companies. At the same time, many wealthy people have registered their addresses in Zug in order to obtain a legal and reasonable tax avoidance. Switzerland itself is also a relatively low-tax country in Europe. For example, in Germany, taxes account for nearly 40% of the average resident's income, while Switzerland accounts for about 20%, much less than Germany. Different tax policies reflect different governmental philosophies. In Germany's high-tax system, the government provides more services, for example, child care is very cheap and some dental treatment is included in health insurance. In Switzerland, on the other hand, child care is very expensive and dental care is not included in health insurance. Even within Switzerland, the tax policy varies from canton to canton, with taxes generally higher in French-speaking areas than in German-speaking ones. Zug, on the other hand, is a city whose development is distinguished by its low taxes, which attract a large number of companies and people. This, on the one hand, injects vitality into the old city and, on the other hand, increases the total amount of tax revenues.
The excellent Swiss public transport also creates opportunities for small towns like Zug. Zug is located on the southern side of Zurich, with the southern line of the canton of Zurich bordering the northern line of the canton of Zug. Thanks to Switzerland's excellent public transport links, Zug can be reached by train from Zurich in half an hour. From the Zurich train station, you will drive south along the long and narrow Lake Zurich, which is pleasantly scenic. Along the way, you pass through a place called Rapperswil, which means City of Roses, and then stop for a moment in Barr, where you enter the canton of Zug. In this way, Zug becomes a satellite city of the cosmopolitan city of Zurich. It is still very convenient for companies to locate their headquarters in Zug, not only because of the relatively low price of land for the construction of headquarters buildings, but also because of the tax avoidance. People working in Zurich have a convenient commute to and from Zug, and with lower housing prices than in Zurich and attractive tax policies, people want to live and work in Zug. In addition, Zug has a beautiful lake and mountains, and the old town has all kinds of commercial and catering infrastructure, which makes Zug an ideal place to work and live.
The high quality of life in Zug is an important part of its urban appeal. Local dining in Zug promotes locally sourced food. The cheese salad, for example, is not a vegetable salad with a sprinkling of cheese powder or a few slices of cheese, but a whole dish of good cheese. The cheese is cut into the shape of fettuccine, tossed with a dressing, and served with lettuce and tomatoes. For the cheese-loving Swiss, this is a great treat. For immigrants who don't like cheese, there is also the delightful local veal, served with golden potato pancakes, fresh beans, carrots and white radishes, fresh and authentic. Zug is a local producer of cherry wine and has been an excellent source of brandy since ancient times. The local special dessert, cherry wine cake, is very famous. A round cake wrapped in sliced almonds and sprinkled with white powdered sugar is divided into a diamond-shaped lattice. Sprinkled with the right amount of cherry wine before serving, there is some unevenness and halo, the fragrance is pungent, and a spoonful of the cake is scooped into the mouth and melted, with the lingering flavor of cherry wine in the mouth. After the busy life, people often enjoy the food and wine at the lake and enjoy life.
Also worth mentioning is AeschbachChocolate, which was introduced in 1972, is now an important member of the Swiss chocolate family.AeschbachIn the beginning, the factory successfully combined the cherry culture of the canton of Zug to amaze Switzerland, and later launched the "gold coin chocolate" which is now popular all over the world.
Since it was a weekend when we arrived in Zug, the Zug Lake was extremely busy and the restaurants were almost full! Especially the open-air restaurants and bars on the lake were overcrowded! The men were all dressed in suits, and the women were mostly in professional attire, and it was clear from a glance that they came directly from work to the lake to party and spend time. They say that hard work makes you rich, but in my opinion, the Swiss are not hard-working at all! They are very leisurely, relaxed, in a glass of beer, in a cup of coffee, in the unconscious, the world's money in their pockets! This is the highest level of money making!
Lake Chugach is also a place for swimming, diving and boating in summer and is a part of people's lives, and the lake is not mechanically captive because of the need to preserve nature. People also take care of nature in the process of enjoying it. When the weather is good, locals will drag their families in their swimsuits to sunbathe on the grass by the lake, or have a picnic. From time to time, people climb onto the diving board and take a dive into the lake. The divers have different postures and the people watching them laugh. There are swimmers in the lake, and there are also people playing with boats, windsurfers, sailboats and yachts, sharing the water and sky with fish, water ducks and swans. Looking into the center of the lake where the water is deep, many white sails rise and leisurely adjust their direction of travel with the wind. Most of the time, the boats, the lake, the mountains and the sky look like a still picture, with only people moving on the water. Occasionally a speedboat swept by quickly, causing a splash of water. The municipal support and management of the lake is also very complete, for safety, there is a protective shallow water area for children, and lifeguards are also sitting on the shore. After relaxing, there is also a shower and a changing area provided by the city for people to take a shower and change clothes.
Perhaps an ideal state of living would be to own a home on the mountain side of Lake Chugach with a small dock for your own home. The dock has tracks that lead to the boathouse. During the week, the boat is parked at home, and on weekends or when the weather is nice, the boathouse is opened and the family pushes the boat down to the lake and enjoys life by swimming or diving or sunbathing.
Today, Zug is like such a postcard we remember seeing, overlooking an old town by the mountains, bathed in the soft light of the setting sun, the lake shimmering and the church steeples drawing a towering skyline. Not far away there are modern complexes that come to life. Amidst the lake and mountains, there is a poetic medieval city on one side and a modern new city on the other. Nature, history and modernity are intertwined.
There's also a zoo on Lake Shore Drive in downtown Zug! A variety of cute little animals can be seen, including snow cats, red African birds, reindeer and other rare animals. In the small zoo, the accommodation of various animals is restored to the maximum natural conditions of their habitat.
Zug, represents a development model in which the city does not pursue scale and speed, where history and modernity coexist well, and where the natural environment is utilized and protected. It conveys an attitude to life, quiet yet dynamic, enjoyable yet restrained, nostalgic for the past and looking to the future!
Zug, the city may be small, but the energy is huge!
Travels in Zug, Northern Europe 2022.06.14 Denmark