Zürich Hackathon 2014/FAQ

On April 24th we had a Google Hangout Info session: Wikimedia Hackathon 2014 which you can watch in this video:

Emergency Phone Number: +41 79 8646121 (Manuel)

Getting aroundEdit


Zürich AirportEdit


IATA Code ZRH. Map

Directly under the entrance hall is the train station located. Take the stairs down. Half way, on the first basement floor you will find ticket machines if needed - remember we will provide you with tickets from May 8th to 12th.

Take any train on platform 3 or 4 - they are all south-bound, brining you to the main station of Zürich (1st or 3rd stop, depending on train type).

Zürich Main StationEdit

Parts of Zürich Main Station


The main station is one of the hubs of public transport in Europe. Either if you come via Zürich Airport, from any other airport or by train from any other European destination you will go through this station.

There are direct connections to Basel (1 hour, 4 trains / hour), Paris (4 hours, 1 train / 2 hours), Vienna (8 hours, 1 train / 2 hours), Milano (4 hours, 1 train / 2 hours), Budapest (11 hours, 2 trains / day). Most German and French cities can be reached via one change in Basel Bad. Bahnhof or Basel SNCF. All major Swiss cities can be reached twice an hour directly.

The easiest way from Zürich Main Station to the Youth Hostel is by taking any train on platform 51 or 52 to Zürich Wollishofen. But there are also other options - like tramways to Zürich Enge and then further by bus, or a tramway to the lake and then a ship.


The station has currently four areas: Map

  • platforms 3 - 18 - main hall overground - regional / long-haul trains
  • platforms 21 - 22 - Bahnhof SZU underground - commuter trains
  • platforms 31 - 34 - Bahnhof Löwenstrasse underground in construction
  • platforms 41 - 44 - Bahnhof Museumsstrasse underground - commuter trains
  • platforms 51 - 54 - Bahnhof Sihlpost overground - commuter trains - right next to the main hall
view from main hall to platforms 51 - 54

To get from the main hall (where you are likely to arrive) to Bahnhof Sihlpost just walk to the underground passage in the middle of the platform and follow the signs (to the right, if you look towards the main building / end of tracks). The passage ends right in front of the platforms 51 - 54.

If you hold a frequent traveller pass of any of the Railteam partner railways (eg. DB BahnCard 100, DB BahnCard Comfort, ÖBB ÖsterreichCard 1st class, ÖBB Vorteilscard Club) you can use the SBB Lounge.

Public Transport TicketsEdit

We will provide all of you with public transport tickets for the City of Zürich for May 8th to 12th. They are valid in all public tansport (ZVV and SBB):

  • train
  • tramway
  • bus
  • ship (only public transport by ZVV)

The ticket will be provided on a personalised letter which needs to be printed and brought along. Therefore we will send it as a PDF before you leave, so you print it at home and don't need to buy any tickets when you arrive in Zürich Airport.

The ticket is only valid with a passport or ID card having the same name as indicated on the ticket.


Trains are also in Google Maps but to calculate the easiest way from one point to another use these websites. They both incorporate the data of each other, so just choose whichever site you like better:

Android: Öffi is the must-have app for almost all public transport networks in the world - SBB Mobile

iPhone: SBB Mobile

Windows Phone: SBB Mobile

Train MapEdit

A quick overview over the current public transport situation and punctuality can be found on this map:

  1. click on a train to see its stops and timetable
  2. click on a station to see timetables and trains approaching


S commuter trains, operated by ZVV (Zürich public transport - bus, tram, S-Bahn, boats, cable cars)
R regional trains, operated by SBB (Federal Railways)
IR InterRegio, operated by SBB (Federal Railway)
IC InterCity, swiss high-speed trains (200 km/h), operated by SBB (Federal Railway)
ICN Intercity-Neigezug, swiss high-speed tilting trains (200 km/h), operated by SBB (Federal Railway)
EC EuroCity, international trains operated by various railways
ICE Intercity-Express, german high-speed trains (320 km/h), operated by DB (German Railway)
TGV Train à Grande Vitesse, french high-speed trains (320 km/h), operated by SNCF (French Railways)
RJ Railjet, austrian high-speed trains (230 km/h), operaded by ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways)

EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse FreiburgEdit

IATA Codes BSL / MLH / EAP Map

As some people arrive in Basel:

The Basel Airport has three nationalities and is separated symmetrically in the middle into the EU and Swiss area. You can see that in the name and IATA codes.

For the easiest transport to the Youth Hostel in Zürich take the right exit (coming from airside) in the baggage claim area to Switzerland.

Bus line 50 Basel SBB <-> EuroAirport

Outside the Swiss terminal side is a bus stop of bus line 50 runs frequently between the airport and the Swiss station Basel SBB. Map

Tickets can be bought at the machine at the bus stop, there are two machines for CHF and EUR. If possible better book your ticket from home via the SBB website (see section "Timetables" above) because there you can book a single ticket from the airport to Zürich while the machine at the bus stop only sells tickets for the Basel public transport, requiring you to get another ticket at the station for your onward journey. The SBB website sells tickets online without registration, just a credit card is needed. You need to print the ticket on paper.

From Basel SBB take a train to Zürich, they run frequently (1 hour, 4 trains / hour). Map


Youth HostelEdit

see http://www.youthhostel.ch/en/hostels/zurich



  • court yard with wifi
  • billiard table
  • bar
  • dining area - can also be used outside dining times for meetings etc.
  • lounge
  • three workshop rooms
  • one big hall with pin boards and flip charts - can be used with several groups at the same time
  • washing machine and tumble dryer
  • TV
  • power plug adapters (deposit needed)


The Youth Hostel will provide all the catering between May 9th and May 11th. The accommodation includes breakfast, so for any additional days you have booked you will get breakfast but will have to take care of the other meals by yourself.


We have arranged that the YH will put English labels to all food so you will know if there are any special ingredients - like the type of the meat, cheese or flour.

Vegetarian / Kosher / Halal:

The food is not kosher or halal by definition but there will always be vegetarian food plus the dishes are labeled, so you can figure out what is suitable to eat.

As much as possible all dishes will be vegetarian and there will be side dishes with meat, so every participant can combine the food as they like.

Other dietary restrictions:

If you need vegan, gluten free or similar, please drop me a mail.

Coffee Breaks:

There will be a table in the main hall with fresh fruits, chocolate bars, crisps, nuts, soft drinks and coffee. It will be filled up all day and also available at night.


All rooms have lockers for every guest. You need a 2 CHF coin as a deposit - insert on the inside - close and lock and take off the key. When opening the locker again the 2 CHF coin will be released.

All rooms have individual keys (magnetic cards) which we will hand out to each guest, so the rooms should be reasonably safe as well. Not to mention that crime rates in Switzerland are low in general.

Is there beer on tap?Edit

Yes, at the bar next to the dining / lounge area, available all day.


The Youth Hostel has a washing machine and a tumble dryer.



English is widely spoken in Switzerland. Every student learns English in school and especially in the cities you can get along with English everywhere.

As Switzerland has four official languages and areas where these languages are spoken exclusively (German/Alemannic, French, Italian, Rumantsch) English often serves as the lingua franca in Swiss coporations or associations (eg. Wikimedia CH).


French is one of the official languages of Switzerland, 23% of the population are native french speakers. Zürich is centered in the German-speaking area of Switzerland though, so not everyone is able to speak French there but the odds are good to find people on the street being able to help.

Swiss French has some particularities:


German is one of the official languages of Switzerland, 65% of the population are native German speakers. Zürich is centered in the German-speaking area of Switzerland, so German is the main language used there.

Beware that spoken Swiss German is actually Alemannic, so even German native speakers often don't understand it, if they are not from Switzerland or the bordering areas. Written Swiss German is standard German.


Italian is one of the official languages of Switzerland, 8% of the population are native Italian speakers. Zürich is centered in the German-speaking area of Switzerland though and given the overall low number of Italian-speakers it is possible but not very likely to find Italian-speakers on the streets.


What is the cost for the accommodation? Do I have to pay in USD?Edit

We made our calculation in USD for better conversion of different currencies and hence sent you a mail indicating how many USD you have to bring for paying your accommodation at the reception.

You can pay in either CHF, EUR or USD. Here are the prices:

Bed / Room Type CHF EUR USD
4-bed 50 CHF 40 EUR 55 USD
2-bed 70 CHF 60 EUR 75 USD
2-bed single 130 CHF 110 EUR 135 USD

Prices are per bed and per night, including VAT, CO2 and Tourism Tax.


There are ATMs near the Wollishofen station and at Morgetal, 300 m away from the Youth Hostel.

Zürcher Kantonalbank (300 m away at Morgental)

Albisstrasse 36
8038 Zürich


Credit Suisse (300 m away at Morgental)

Mutschellenstrasse 197
8038 Zürich


Postomat (near Wollishofen station)

Albisstrasse 10
8038 Zürich


Can I pay with my credit card?Edit

Credit cards or electronic cash cards (Maestro / VPay) are common in Switzerland. Not all small shops or restaurants have a card terminal, though. As long as you go to big shops or restaurant you should be safe. The restaurants normally put stickers on their front door indicating the cards they accept.

In Europe the cards use cryptographic chips and PIN. US cards instead mostly still rely on the magnetic stripe and signature.

Can I pay with Euros?Edit

This is mostly possible but at a bad conversion rate. The recommended way is to withdraw some money from the ATM once you arrived in Switzerland - it is normally the most convenient and cheaper way to get local currency.

General TopicsEdit

Where can I get groceries and supplies?Edit


The main chains in Switzerland are MIGROS and coop, both visible with their orange logos. The quality is high but also the costs. The price level in Switzerland is generally much higher than in the rest of Europe. Both MIGROS and COOP are cooperatives, originally established to supply the farmers and workers in the villages. MIGROS still sticks to their tradition of not selling any alcoholic beverages, as part of their mission was to help to curtail alcoholism.

Nearest shops:

  2. MIGROS Takeaway
  3. coop
  4. MIGROS at main station
Chocolate in swiss supermarkets

If you want to buy chocolate get Frey chocolate from MIGROS. It is their own brand, really good and reasonably priced.

There are three types (sizes) of MIGROS shops: M (small grocery store with mainly food), MM (food and household-supplies) and MMM (food, non-food, clothing, sport equipment).

Coop is by the way a long-term MediaWiki user for 400 users in all their IT departments. It is hosted in their headquarters in Basel but used by all IT staff all over Switzerland.


List of emergency services:

Morgental Apotheke - nearest 300 m down the street from the Youth Hostel

Albisstrasse 44
8038 Zürich
+41 43 3998866


  • Mon. - Fri. 08:00 - 19:00
  • Sat. 08:00 - 17:00

Bahnhof Apotheke - main station, daily 7:00 - 24:00

Bahnhofplatz 15
8001 Zürich
+41 44 2254242


Bellevue Apotheke - daily 0:00 - 24:00

Theaterstrasse 14
8001 Zürich
+41 44 2666222


Emergencies / HospitalEdit

In emergency call 112 (landline or mobile - free).

See-Spital - nearest

Grütstrasse 60
8802 Kilchberg ZH
+41 44 7166161


Universitätsspital Zürich

Rämistrasse 100
8006 Zürich
+41 44 2551111


Can I drink my beer outside on the street?Edit

Sure, why not, as long as you behave.

Local SIM CardsEdit

The most spread mobile phone radio standard is 3G / UMTS. Fallback is GSM / EDGE on 900 MHz / 1.800 MHz. Mobile prices are (as everything else) quite high in Switzerland but quality and coverage are excellent. Train tunnels are equipped with nano cells which allows a seamless use of streaming services throughout train trips.

Swisscom NATEL easy smart

SIM Card: 19,90 CHF incl. 20 CHF credit

  • SMS: 0,15 CHF - max 2 CHF / day
  • Data: 2 CHF / day

Swisscom Product Page


May can be very good and mild but sometimes it is rainy. The average temperature of the last 30 years in May is 13,5 °C. This year spring was very early and warm after a very mild winter.

A one week forecast can be found here:

According to the climate outlook the week 18 is cold and week 19 much warmer.


Switzerland has laws protecting non-smokers. Smoking is forbidden in closed rooms if they are public or work places. Smoking outside or in specially marked smoking rooms is allowed.

At the Youth Hostel you can either smoke in the court yard or outside the basement workshop rooms.

  • FAQ on the smoking laws provided by the Swiss Confederation:

Club MateEdit

Yes, we have ordered that.

Mountain DewEdit

Yes, we have ordered that. There is no Mountain Dew in Switzerland (I guess not in most of Europe) so we had to buy 192 cans (minimal amount for extra shipment), so please help us to drink it all up.

Based on feedback we got on this announcement we canceled the order.

Beer / Alcoholic BeveragesEdit

You can get alcoholic beverages at the bar in the Youth Hostel, at any restaurant and in regular shops (but not in MIGROS - see above). There are no restrictions in buying / consuming alcohol.

Other places to eatEdit

Sihlstrasse 28
an all vegetarian buffet. excellent food and reasonably priced for Zürich. they weigh your plate after you fill it up. price may vary between ch 10 - ch 30 depending on how much you put on your plate.

Wallisellenstrasse 11
an excellent indian restaurant. prices are closer to a regular Zürich night out. price may vary between ch 35 - ch 60 per person.



only those near the Youth Hostel are listed


250 m down the street from the Youth Hostel

Evangelisch-methodistische Kirche Zürich 2
Mutschellenstrasse 188
8038 Zürich


  • Fri. May 9th 15:00 - 17:00
  • Sun. May 11th 19:00

350 m down the street from the Youth Hostel

St. Franziskus Kirche
8038 Zürich


  • Sat. May 10th 18:00
  • Sun. May 11th 9:30 + 11:15


Freigutstrasse 37
8001 Zürich
Jüdische Liberale Gemeinde Or Chadasch
Hallwylstrasse 78
8004 Zürich


  • Fri. May 9th 18:45 Ma'ariv le Schabbat
  • Sat. May 10th 10:00 Schacharit le Schabbat
Israelitische Religions- Gesellschaft Zürich
Manessestrasse 10
8003 Zürich


Merkez Moschee Zürich Zentrum
Kochstrasse 22
8004 Zürich

further mosques in the Zürich area: http://www.moscheesuche.de/moschee/stadt/Zuerich/42543