In the heart of Zurich, this barracks that everyone covets

Financial Zurich sometimes overshadows festive Zurich. Filled with bars, clubs and other establishments for insiders, the city nevertheless conceals by far the liveliest nightlife in the country. One place is emblematic of this: the Langstrasse. All this week, Time takes you to taste this explosive cocktail of workers’ struggles, counter-culture and gentrification.

Pliers in hand, the men are busy stripping a forest of electric cables. Voluble, spread around a table with boxes at their feet, they are half a dozen to dismantle old devices intended to be eliminated or recycled. They don’t do it for fun: a fine has been imposed on them, and not having the means to pay it, they have chosen to serve community service in this center run by a foundation. We are located in the heart of the city of Zurich, in the place called “Kasernenareal”. In French: the “terrain de la caserne” – military barracks means. The central station is a stone’s throw away, the famous Langstrasse and its “hot” district as well. Witnesses to history, gray and rectilinear buildings frame the large meadow, in its time “exercise area” for the troops, then closer to us for the police.

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