Büsingen am Hochrhein

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Büsingen am Hochrhein
Coat of arms of Büsingen am Hochrhein
Coat of arms
Büsingen am Hochrhein is located in Germany
Büsingen am Hochrhein
Büsingen am Hochrhein
Location of Büsingen in the German–Swiss border area
Location of Büsingen in detail.svg
Coordinates: 47°41′49″N 08°41′25″E / 47.69694°N 8.69028°E / 47.69694; 8.69028Coordinates: 47°41′49″N 08°41′25″E / 47.69694°N 8.69028°E / 47.69694; 8.69028
Country Germany
State Baden-Württemberg
Admin. region Freiburg
District Konstanz
 • Mayor Markus Möll
 • Total 7.62 km2 (2.94 sq mi)
Elevation 395 m (1,296 ft)
Population (2017-12-31)[1]
 • Total 1,443
 • Density 190/km2 (490/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes D-78266; CH-8238
Vehicle registration BÜS
Website www.buesingen.de
Büsingen am Hochrhein.

Büsingen am Hochrhein ("Buesingen on the High Rhine"), commonly known as Büsingen, is a German municipality (7.62 square kilometres (2.94 sq mi)) in the south of Baden-Württemberg and an exclave entirely surrounded by the Swiss canton of Schaffhausen and south across the High Rhine, by the Swiss cantons of Zürich and Thurgau. It has a population of about 1,355 inhabitants.[2] Since the early 19th century, the town has been separated from the rest of Germany by a narrow strip of land (at its narrowest, about 700 metres (2,300 ft) wide) containing the Swiss village of Dörflingen.

Politically Büsingen is part of Germany, forming part of the district of Konstanz, but economically it forms part of the Swiss customs area, as do the independent principality of Liechtenstein and the Italian town of Campione d'Italia. As such there have been no border controls between Switzerland and Büsingen since 4 October 1967.[3]

Büsingen is highly regarded as a holiday destination in summer by both German and Swiss visitors from around the area for its recreational areas along the Rhine.


Long under Austrian control, the village became part of the German kingdom of Württemberg under the 1805 Peace of Pressburg agreement during the Napoleonic Wars.[4]

In 1918, after the First World War, a referendum was held in Büsingen in which 96% of voters voted to become part of Switzerland. However, no transfer took place as Switzerland could not offer anything suitable in exchange.[5] Later attempts to transfer the village to Swiss sovereignty were unsuccessful and consequently Büsingen has remained an exclave of Germany ever since.

On 9 September 1957, a conference between Switzerland and what was then West Germany was held in Locarno, with the aim of regulating the jurisdictions of both countries in Büsingen. A treaty signed much later (on 23 November 1964) came into effect on 4 October 1967.[6]

The exclave of Büsingen was formally defined in this treaty. At the same time, the West German exclave of Verenahof, consisting of just three houses and fewer than a dozen people, became part of Switzerland, whilst Büsingen officially entered into a customs union only with Switzerland. Büsingen had already been in a de facto customs union with Switzerland from 1947.[7]

Special regulations between Büsingen/Germany and Switzerland[edit]

Location of Büsingen (red), surrounded by Switzerland.

According to article 41 of the Union Customs Code[8], Büsingen is not part of the customs territory of the European Union. Although Büsingen is otherwise a German town, because it belongs to the Swiss customs territory, EU economic regulations (other than those covered by Swiss–EU treaties) do not apply there.


Büsingen is the only German town in which people mostly pay with Swiss francs, although technically the euro is legal tender as throughout Germany. Until the late 1980s, the Deutsche Mark was not accepted in Büsingen. Even Büsingen post office only accepted Swiss francs for payment of German stamps. Despite the Deutsche Mark and later the Euro being accepted, today Swiss francs are still more popular, since most residents in employment are cross border commuters working in Switzerland and as such are paid in Swiss francs.


The much lower (compared to standard German VAT at 19%) Swiss VAT is applied to purchases made in Büsingen. It is levied at a rate of 7.7% on most commercial exchanges of goods and services. Certain exchanges, including those of basic or essential foodstuffs, drugs, books and newspapers, are subject to a reduced VAT of 2.5%. A special rate of 3.7% is in use in the hotel industry.[9]

Most Büsingen residents are pensioners, many from Switzerland, for as in the rest of Germany they pay little or no tax on their pensions. This advantage is however progressively being phased out and by 2040 will no longer exist.

Despite special tax breaks specific to Büsingen[9], younger Büsingers who work (in Switzerland or Germany) pay approximately double the amount of income tax compared to their colleagues who reside in neighbouring Swiss towns and villages, causing many young people to move away from Büsingen into Switzerland and thus the village's population to decrease notably in recent years. Büsingen has the highest average age of residents in the whole of Baden-Württemberg.

Büsingen is one of the few municipalities in Germany not to levy any property tax. The business tax levied in Büsingen is the lowest in Baden-Württemberg.[9]

Payable Skype services have been unavailable in Büsingen since 1 January 2015 due to a change in VAT laws.[10]

Health Insurance[edit]

Residents of Büsingen can opt to take out health insurance in Switzerland or in Germany.[11]

Law and Policing[edit]

The treaty between the two countries defines which areas of law are governed by Swiss legislation and which ones come under German legislation. Since there are no border checks between Büsingen and Schaffhausen, the cantonal police of Schaffhausen are permitted to arrest people in Büsingen and bring them to Switzerland. The number of Swiss police officers is limited to ten at any one time, whilst the number of German police officers to three per 100 inhabitants. German police officers travelling to Büsingen however must use designated routes and refrain from all official acts whilst crossing Swiss territory.


Büsingen has a Kindergarten, the current building of which opened in 1987. By 1988, however, it was overcrowded, so the building was extended.[12] Children attend primary school in Büsingen, and subsequently their parents may choose either a Swiss school or a German school for their secondary education.[13]

Post and telecommunications[edit]

There is a German post office in Büsingen which however also provides Swiss postal services at Swiss inland rates. Büsingen has two postal codes, one Swiss and one German. To send a letter to Büsingen, one may address it to:

CH-8238 Büsingen am Hochrhein


D-78266 Büsingen am Hochrhein

Letters from Büsingen may be franked with a Swiss or a German stamp. A standard letter from Büsingen to Switzerland needs either an 85 Rappen Swiss stamp or a 70 euro cent German one. Outside of the post office, there are Deutsche Telekom and Swisscom phone booths.

Similarly, residents of Büsingen can be reached by telephone using either a German number (with the prefix +49) or a Swiss one (with the prefix +41) or both depending on which providers the resident has a contract with. Dwellings generally have both countries' phone sockets.

Vehicle registration[edit]

Büsingen has its own licence plate (BÜS), even though it is part of Constance district which has the "KN" sign. These special licence plates were created to simplify the job of the Swiss customs officers. Vehicles with BÜS licence plates are treated as Swiss vehicles.

An example of the BÜS license plate.

BÜS is the rarest license plate in use in Germany as there are only around 700 in use at any one time. The letters BÜS are almost always followed by an A with the occasional exception for provisionally admitted vehicles which have the letter Z.


The local association football team, FC Büsingen, is the only German team to play in the Swiss Football League.

Government and infrastructure[edit]

Residents call the town hall "the glass palace".[14]


Büsingen has an area of 7.62 square kilometres (2.94 sq mi), making it four times larger than Monaco. Its border with Switzerland is 17.141 kilometres (10.651 mi) long and is marked by 123 stones. One named stone, the Hattinger Stone, marks the Büsingen-Dörflingen boundary. Along with several other border points, it is situated in the river Rhine.[14]

Büsingen is situated close to the city of Schaffhausen. In the outlying hamlet of Stemmer the border between German and Swiss territory runs down the middle of a road. Houses on one side of the road are in Switzerland, houses on the other side are in Germany.[15]

In the time zone database there is a special area Europe/Busingen which had a different time compared to the rest of West Germany in 1980 when West Germany, but not Switzerland, observed Daylight Saving Time.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bevölkerung nach Nationalität und Geschlecht am 31. Dezember 2017". Statistisches Landesamt Baden-Württemberg (in German). 2018.
  2. ^ "Zahlen & Fakten - Gemeinde Büsingen". www.buesingen.de.
  3. ^ "Staatsvertrag - Gemeinde Büsingen". www.buesingen.de.
  4. ^ Frank Jacobs (15 May 2012). "Enclave-Hunting in Switzerland". The New York Times.
  5. ^ http://www.exclave.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6&Itemid=11
  6. ^ Statement of Treaties and International Agreements Registered Or Filed and Recorded with the Secretariat During the Month of April 2005. New York: United Nations Publications. 2005. p. 80.
  7. ^ https://www.srf.ch/play/tv/me_schonvergessen/video/schweizer-zeit-in-buesingen?id=c012c029-03b7-4c2b-9164-aa5902cd58d3&station=69e8ac16-4327-4af4-b873-fd5cd6e895a7
  8. ^ "REGULATION (EU) No 952/2013 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 9 October 2013 laying down the Union Customs Code". eur-lex.europa.eu.
  9. ^ a b c "Wirtschaftsförderung - Gemeinde Büsingen". www.buesingen.de.
  10. ^ "Skype - Änderung unserer Nutzungsbedingungen". archive.is. 2 December 2014. Archived from the original on 2 December 2014.
  11. ^ Medienhaus, Südkurier. "Büsingen: Büsingen - ein Ort zwischen Franken und Euro - SÜDKURIER Online".
  12. ^ "Our children in the new bigger kindergarten." (Archive) Büsingen am Hochrhein. Retrieved on 14 November 2013.
  13. ^ "Schools and training centers." (Archive) Büsingen am Hochrhein. Retrieved on 14 November 2013.
  14. ^ a b "The municipal administration of Buesingen: Facts and information." (Archive) Büsingen am Hochrhein. Retrieved on 14 November 2013.
  15. ^ https://www.shn.ch/region/kanton/2017-07-11/hier-sagt-man-grueezi-und-guten-tag
  16. ^ "Schweizer Zeit in Büsingen - TV - Play SRF". Play SRF.

External links[edit]