Established by students

WOKO – from WOhnbauKOmmission (housing commission) – was established in 1956 by students from the two Zurich universities. In 1972, this became today’s cooperative: the Student Housing Cooperative Zurich, WOKO. Its members are legal entities, particularly organisations of students (VSETH and VSUZH), of doctoral students (AVETH) and of former students (ETH Alumni, Zürcher Universitätsverein ZUNIV).
To mark WOKO’s 50-year anniversary, its history from the beginnings to the present day was compiled and published in 2006.

Administration, maintenance and operation

WOKO administers both property belonging to the Stiftung für Studentisches Wohnen (Student Housing Foundation) Zurich, property owned by the ETH Zurich and property owned by the University of Zurich. WOKO also rents entire properties owned by the city and canton of Zurich and by private individuals and lets these out to students. WOKO owns only one property itself. In the case of all properties, WOKO lets the rooms, collects the rent, organises caretaking, operation and maintenance and is also responsible for bookkeeping and financial control. It also develops and supports new student housing projects.

Financially self-sustaining, non-profit organisation

WOKO receives neither subsidies for the operation of its student houses nor assistance to cover deficits. As a private organisation, WOKO is itself responsible for achieving balanced financial results. It is only possible to keep the rent charged for rooms low thanks to the fair terms given by property owners, to efficient and inexpensive administration and if student tenants pay their rents on time and behave in a manner that does not increase costs.


Rooms for students

WOKO lets about 3'900 rooms in Zurich and Winterthur in student houses and individual apartments. Accommodation is available exclusively to students enrolled at the ETH, University of Zurich, ZHAW and other institutes of higher education in Zurich. WOKO does not act as an agent for apartments and rooms, but lets accommodation which it administers itself and for whose maintenance it is in most cases responsible. Please see Cooperative for further details.

Everything included

As a rule, WOKO lets individual rooms rather than apartments. Students live in groups of 2 to 15 tenants with joint use of kitchen and bathroom. They arrange autonomously amongst themselves how they structure living together. Most rooms are let furnished. In addition to the cost of room, furniture and furnishings, the rent paid normally includes all additional costs such as the students’ individual electricity consumption as well as cleaning agents. Depending on the property in question, tenants are also entitled to make use of music rooms, house bars, workshops, etc. that are used jointly.

Executive Bodies

Members of the cooperative
  • Verband der Studierenden an der ETH Zürich (VSETH):
  • Verband der Studierenden der Universität Zürich (VSUZH):
  • Association of Scientific Staff at the ETH Zurich:
  • Association of Non-Professorial Academic Staff at the University of Zurich:
  • Gesellschaft ehemaliger Studierender ETH Zürich/ETH Alumni:
  • UZH Alumni:
  • Studierende Kantonale Maturitätsschule für Erwachsene, Zürich (KME):
  • Studierendenversammlung der ZHdK (VERSO):
  • Wohnstiftung für Studierende (WOST), Basel
  • Versammlung der Studierenden der Pädagogischen Hochschule Zürich (VSPHZH)
  • Alias Studierende der Zürcher Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften (Alias ZHAW):
  • Cornelia Estermann: President
  • Marianne Dutli Derron
  • Katrin Eichelberger
  • Lukas Reichling
  • Sophie Schulz
  • Lars Weidinger
  • Michael Wüthrich
  • Claudio Durisch: Delegate City of Zurich
Management committee
  • Karin Schulte: General manager
  • Thomas Gnekow: Manager of Finance
  • Markus Helbling: Manager of Property
  • Regula Jenny: Manager of Housing