Opening of the Dreiländergalerie Shopping Center in Weil am Rhein
Cross-border shopping has always been a temptation for Swiss residents, especially for those who live near the border of France and/or Germany, where the prices of many wares are considerably lower. This has become even more attractive in recent months, with the devaluation of the Euro to values that are at par with, or even lower than, the Swiss Franc. Just to heighten this temptation further, a new large shopping center—the Dreiländergalerie—will be opening for business in neighboring Weil am Rhein, Germany, on September 29. Located in the center of Weil am Rhein, it can conveniently be reached by Basel’s tram 8, which literally runs through the middle of the building in the terminus loop, as well as the S-Bahn that stops at the train station in Weil am Rhein, right next to the Dreiländergalerie.
The 25,000m2 shopping center will be home to 70 stores, many of which are normally only found in big cities like Munich and Frankfurt. Shops like Guess, Levi’s, Triumph, Hunkemöller, Marc O’Polo, Replay, and the German fashion retailer Peek & Cloppenburg will stand side-by-side with U.S. brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister, neither of which have a branch anywhere in Switzerland. There are three grocery stores in the basement (Rewe, Alnatura, and Lidl), a stylish food court with about 16 international food-stands, as well as a Mexican restaurant (El Gallo) with roof terrace and rooftop lounge on the top floor. Car parking and bicycle parking are also available at the shopping center. The Grand Opening Days on September 29-October 1 will entertain visitors will music on Thursday, fashion shows on Friday, and food tastings in the food court on Saturday.
Here are a few points to remember while shopping at the new center or anywhere else outside Switzerland:
- Switzerland allows a daily exemption of CHF 300 per person before imposing Swiss value added tax (VAT) on purchases abroad.
- In order to claim the German VAT back on your purchases, you must stop by the Zollamt (customs office) at the German border before you leave Germany and get your receipts stamped.
- Your shopping bill for each store has to total a minimum of € 50 before you can get it stamped and processed for refund of the German VAT.
- Keep in mind that Swiss consumers buy an estimated CHF 10 billion in goods abroad each year, which is not good for the Swiss economy. Given that Germany has been hit harder by inflation recently than Switzerland, you may want to compare prices carefully before you buy.