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Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland (population: 371,767 in 2007; population of urban area is some 1,007,972) and capital of the canton of Zurich. The city is Switzerland's main commercial and cultural centre (the political capital of Switzerland being Bern), and is widely considered to be one of the world's global cities. According to several surveys in 2006 and 2007, Zurich was named the city with the "best quality of life" in the world. The city is situated where the river Limmat issues from the north-western end of Lake Zurich. There are officially 371,767 people (since March 31st 2007) living in Switzerland's largest city. 30.0% of the registered inhabitants of Zurich do not hold Swiss citizenship, which is 111,530 people. German citizens make up the largest group of foreigners in the city with 17.4%, followed by immigrants from Italy and Serbia. The official language used by the government and in most publications is German, while the most commonly spoken dialect in Zurich is Zürichdeutsch (Zurich German), which is a local dialect of Swiss German. As of 2000, German is the mother-tongue of 77.7% of the population. Italian is the second-most common native language at 4.7% of the population. UBS, Credit Suisse, Swiss Re, and many other financial institutions have their headquarters in Zurich, the commercial center of Switzerland. Zurich is the world's primary centre for offshore banking, mainly due to Swiss bank secrecy. The financial sector accounts for about one quarter of the city's economic activities. The Swiss Stock Exchange is also located in Zurich. The success of the Greater Zurich Economic Area as one of the most important in the world is due to many factors: The very low tax rate and the possibility for foreign companies and private persons to optimize their tax burden by personalized tax agreement with the Tax Authorities is surely one of the key points.

This practice often causes conflicts with Switzerland's neighbours in Europe, who do not like this type of successful and aggressive strategy for attracting large corporations and service/research centers, such as IBM, General Motors Europe, Google, Microsoft,Dow Chemical, and Pfizer. The fact that Switzerland does not have an inheritance tax is also an important attraction for wealthy private persons. Zurich offers a lot of variety when it comes for night-time leisure. It became one of the capitals of Europe's electronic music scene and is the host city of the world-famous Street Parade, which takes place in August every year.

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