The canton of Aargau has a lot to offer – in addition to many family-friendly municipalities, it is also at the forefront in terms of cultural activities. Good transport links to Zurich and lower property prices make the canton very attractive. But what’s the best place to live in Aargau? We take a close look at the three municipalities of Wettingen, Aarau and Baden, and compare them.
The population of all three municipalities is very similar. Aarau has the highest population with 21,500 inhabitants, followed closely by Wettingen with 20,800 and Baden with 19,300.
However, the differences in population density are much larger. Wettingen has 1,961 people per km², but Aarau has only 1,744 and in Baden the density is only 1,467 per km². In comparison, the city of Zurich, for example, has a population density of 4,521 inhabitants per km², making it much denser than all three municipalities.
Baden is in the lead in terms of transport connections. From there, the Interregio takes only 16 minutes to reach Zurich main station. And Wettingen is only 19 minutes by S-Bahn from Zurich. From Aarau station, Zurich main station can be reached in 24 minutes with the IC or 29 minutes with the Regio-Express, depending on the connection.
Many schoolchildren and students commute from Brugg via Baden to the cantonal school in Wettingen or the university in Zurich. Baden also impresses with its great night bus connections (all villages in the Baden/Brugg/Zurziebiet area). Bus connections in general are good in Wettingen, Baden and Aarau (running every seven or 15 minutes).
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Wettingen is generally very family-friendly and has good schools with a wide range. Kloster-Kantonsschule und Fachmittelschule is very popular due to its lovely location.
Tägipark shopping centre is very well known, and the Tägi includes indoor and outdoor swimming pools and an ice rink in winter (many sporting activities such as ice hockey, swimming competitions, volleyball, etc.). It also has the Familypunkt club and a gymnastics and sport club, which are popular.
Baden’s advantages include its variety of leisure activities for families and children. There is a town library and various educational offers (schools, Kantonsschule Baden, Forum, private schools, etc.). The municipalities of Dättwil, Meierhof, Kappelerhof and Rütihof also offer various children’s and youth activities: https://soziokultur.baden.ch/quartiere.html/495
Aarau offers more than 32,500 jobs. The largest employer is the cantonal administration. There are also many small and medium-sized companies in the private sector. Internationally renowned companies, especially in the areas of health, finance and medical technology, are also based in Aarau.
About 2,400 companies are based in Baden, one of the dozen most attractive business locations in Switzerland. The high-tech energy, industrial ICT, health/wellness and medical technology sectors are particularly well represented there.
Percentage of foreign citizens
At 27.7% in Wettingen and 27.0% in Baden, the percentage of foreign citizens is very close. Aarau has a significantly lower percentage at just 21.1%.
In 2017, the housing stock in Wettingen consisted of 10,357 apartments and 1,865 family homes. The share of family homes was around 15.3%. In Aarau, 11,702 apartments and 2,047 family homes were counted. The share of family houses was therefore somewhat lower at 14.9%. It is slightly lower in Baden at 13.9%, with 10,346 apartments and 1,671 family homes.
Many young adults from the neighbouring municipalities like to move to Baden and its vicinity. Dättwil in particular has grown in recent years. Meierhof is also set to undergo expansion. Baden has a spatial development concept: https://www.baden.ch/de/stadt-behoerde/stadtentwicklung/projekte.html/996/news/3897.
Wettingen is considered slightly less expensive than Baden. If you are looking for cheaper housing, you will find it in Wettingen.
Baden is a paradise in terms of cultural and leisure activities. Cultural activities are generally very important in Baden. Particularly well known are Werkk cultural centre, Royal, Stanzerei, Nordportal, Kurtheater Baden, the casino and the Trafo and Sterk cinemas. There is also a calendar of cultural events: https://dein.baden.ch/de/eventkalender-kulturagenda. Other great events include the annual Fantoche and the Badenfahrt (the next one will take place in 2023). The old town of Baden and its surroundings offer many restaurants, cafés, shops, museums, clubs and bars. These are generally always well attended. Triebguet is a popular location in summer. There are also many concerts in venues such as Royal and Nordportal. Jazz is well represented too (Prima Vista Bar). And there’s a fresh market every Saturday.
Wettingen has a Cultural Commission. The members of the Cultural Commission ensure that cultural events are promoted and that different cultural fields are offered. Culture in Wettingen, however, is rather ‘classical’ (monastic orchestra and New Year’s concerts). However, there is a theatre company, and there are some well-known galleries and cinemas. Yet Wettingen is generally better known for some of its restaurants and its green surroundings. You shouldn’t miss the annual Wettingerfest, a very important event for residents.
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