|Population||172,091 (Mar 2013)|
|- Density||7,564 /km2 (19,592 /sq mi)|
|Area||23.91 km2 (9.23 sq mi)|
|Elevation||260 m (853 ft)|
|• Lowest||244.75 m - Rhine shore, national border at Kleinhüningen|
|Mayor||Guy Morin (as of 2009) GPS/PES|
|Surrounded by||Allschwil (BL), Binningen (BL), Birsfelden (BL), Bottmingen (BL), Huningue (FR-68), Münchenstein (BL), Muttenz (BL), Reinach (BL), Riehen (BS), Saint-Louis (FR-68), Weil am Rhein (DE-BW)|
Basel // or Basle (//; German: Basel; pronounced [ˈbaːzəl])[note 1] is Switzerland's third most populous city with about 166,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany. In 2011, the Basel agglomeration was the third largest in Switzerland with a population of 500,600 in 74 municipalities in Switzerland and an additional 53 in neighboring countries (municipal count as of 2000). The tri-national metropolitan area has around 830,000 inhabitants in 226 municipalities.
Located in northwest Switzerland on the river Rhine, Basel functions as a major industrial centre for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. The Basel region, culturally extending into German Baden-Württemberg and French Alsace, reflects the heritage of its three states in the modern Latin name: "Regio TriRhena". It has the oldest university of the Swiss Confederation (1460). Basel is German-speaking. The local variant of the Swiss German dialects is called Basel German.
Basel is among the most important cultural centres of Switzerland. The city comprises a large number of theatres and many museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the world's oldest art collection accessible to the public. In addition the Theater Basel was chosen in 1999 as the best stage for German-language performances and in 2009 & 2010 as "Opera of the Year" by German Opera Magazine "Opernwelt".
During the days of the Roman Empire, the settlement of Augusta Raurica was founded 10 or 20 kilometres upstream of present Basel, and a castle was built on the hill overlooking the river where the Basel Münster now stands. But even older Celtic settlements (including a vitrified fort) have been discovered recently in the area predating the Roman castle.
Since the donation by Rudolph III of Burgundy of the Moutier-Grandval Abbey and all its possessions to Bishop Adalbero II in 999 till the Reformation, Basel was ruled by prince-bishops (see Bishop of Basel, whose memory is preserved in the crosier shown on the Basel coat-of-arms – see above).
In 1019 the construction of the cathedral of Basel (known locally as the Münster) began under German Emperor Heinrich II. In 1225–1226 the Bridge over the Rhine was constructed by Bishop Heinrich von Thun and lesser Basel (Kleinbasel) founded as a bridgehead to protect the bridge. The bridge was largely funded by Basel's Jewish community which had settled there a century earlier. For many centuries to come Basel possessed the only permanent bridge over the river "between Lake Constance and the sea".
The Bishop also allowed the furriers to found a guild in 1226. Eventually about 15 guilds were established in the 13th century. They increased the town's, and hence the bishop's, reputation, influence, and income from the taxes and duties on goods in Basel's expanding market.
In 1347 the plague came to Europe but did not reach Basel until June 1349. The guilds, asserting that the Jews were responsible—several had been tortured and confessed—demanded they be executed, which the Council did in January 1349, except for a few who escaped to Alsace. The council then forbade Jews in Basel for 200 years, except that their money was helpful in rebuilding after the Basel earthquake of 1356 which destroyed much of the city along with a number of castles in the vicinity. The city offered courts to nobles as an alternative to rebuilding their castles, in exchange for the nobles' military protection of the city.
In 1412 (or earlier) the well-known guesthouse Zum Goldenen Sternen was established. Basel became the focal point of western Christendom during the 15th century Council of Basel (1431–1449), including the 1439 election of antipope Felix V. In 1459 Pope Pius II endowed the University of Basel where such notables as Erasmus of Rotterdam and Paracelsus later taught. At the same time the new craft of printing was introduced to Basel by apprentices of Johann Gutenberg.
The Schwabe publishing house was founded in 1488 by Johannes Petri and is the oldest publishing house still in business. Johann Froben also operated his printing house in Basel and was notable for publishing works by Erasmus. In 1495, Basel was incorporated in the Upper Rhenish Imperial Circle; the Bishop of Basel was added to the Bench of the Ecclesiastical Princes. In 1500 the construction of the Basel Münster was finished. In 1521 so was the bishop. The Council, under the supremacy of the guilds, explained that henceforth they would only give allegiance to the Swiss Confederation, to whom the bishop appealed but in vain.
The city had remained neutral through the Swabian War of 1499 despite being plundered by soldiers on both sides. The Treaty of Basel ended the war and granted the Swiss confederates exemptions from the emperor Maximillian's taxes and jurisdictions, separating Switzerland de facto from the Holy Roman Empire.
On 9 June 1501 Basel joined the Swiss Confederation as its eleventh canton. It was the only canton that had been asked to join, not the other way round. Basel had a strategic location, good relations with Strasbourg and Mulhouse, and control of the corn imports from Alsace, whereas the Swiss lands were becoming overpopulated and had few resources. For its part, Basel secured the military help of the other cantons when threatened, and some protection for its rural subjects outside its walls. A provision of the Charter accepting Basel required that in conflicts among the other cantons it was to stay neutral and offer its services for mediation.
In 1529 the city became Protestant under Oecolampadius and the bishop's seat was moved to Porrentruy. The bishop's crook was however retained as the city's coat of arms.
In 1544, Johann von Brugge a rich Dutch Protestant refugee was given citizenship and lived respectfully until his death in 1556 then buried with honors. His body was exhumed and burnt at the stake in 1559 after it was discovered that he was the Anabaptist David Joris.
There are indications Joachim Meyer, author of the influential 16th century martial arts text Kunst des Fechten ("The Art of Fencing") came from Basel. In 1662 the Amerbaschsches Kabinett was established in Basel as the first public museum of art. Its collection became the core of the later Basel Museum of Art.
In 1792 the Republic of Rauracia, a revolutionary French client republic, was created. It lasted until 1793. After three years of political agitation and a short civil war in 1833 the disadvantaged countryside seceded from the Canton of Basel, forming the half canton of Basel-Landschaft.
Basel has often been the site of peace negotiations and other international meetings. The Treaty of Basel (1499) ended the Swabian War. Two years later Basel joined the Swiss Confederation. The Peace of Basel in 1795 between the French Republic and Prussia and Spain ended the First Coalition against France during the French Revolutionary Wars. In more recent times, the World Zionist Organization held its first congress in Basel on September 3, 1897. Because of the Balkan Wars, the Second International held an extraordinary congress at Basel in 1912. In 1989, the Basel Convention was opened for signature with the aim of preventing the export of hazardous waste from wealthy to developing nations for disposal.
Basel has an area, as of 2009[update], of 23.91 square kilometers (9.23 sq mi). Of this area, 0.95 km2 (0.37 sq mi) or 4.0% is used for agricultural purposes, while 0.88 km2 (0.34 sq mi) or 3.7% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 20.67 km2 (7.98 sq mi) or 86.4% is settled (buildings or roads), 1.45 km2 (0.56 sq mi) or 6.1% is either rivers or lakes.
Of the built up area, industrial buildings made up 10.2% of the total area while housing and buildings made up 40.7% and transportation infrastructure made up 24.0%. Power and water infrastructure as well as other special developed areas made up 2.7% of the area while parks, green belts and sports fields made up 8.9%. Out of the forested land, all of the forested land area is covered with heavy forests. Of the agricultural land, 2.5% is used for growing crops and 1.3% is pastures. All the water in the municipality is flowing water.
Basel has an average of 121.4 days of rain or snow per year and on average receives 778 mm (30.6 in) of precipitation. The wettest month is June during which time Basel receives an average of 87 mm (3.4 in) of rain or snow. During this month there is precipitation for an average of 10.9 days. The month with the most days of precipitation is May, with an average of 12.6, but with only 84 mm (3.3 in) of rain or snow. The driest month of the year is February with an average of 49 mm (1.9 in) of precipitation over 9.4 days.
|Climate data for Basel/Binningen (1981–2010)|
|Average high °C (°F)||4.5
|Daily mean °C (°F)||1.6
|Average low °C (°F)||−1.1
|Precipitation mm (inches)||47
|Snowfall cm (inches)||8.9
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||9.3||8.4||9.8||10.2||12.4||10.9||10.2||9.9||8.8||10.1||10.0||10.4||120.4|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 1.0 cm)||3.0||2.9||1.3||0.2||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.1||1.0||2.6||11.1|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||71||86||125||153||176||196||224||210||159||113||71||54||1,637|
|Source: MeteoSwiss |
Basel's airport is set up for airfreight; heavy goods reach the city and the heart of continental Europe from the North Sea by ship along the Rhine. The main European routes for the highway and railway transport of freight cross in Basel. The outstanding location benefits logistics corporations, which operate globally from Basel. Trading firms are traditionally well represented in the Basel Region.
EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg is operated jointly by two countries, France and Switzerland. Contrary to popular belief, the airport is located completely on French soil. The airport itself is split into two architecturally independent sectors, one half serving the French side and the other half serving the Swiss side; prior to Schengen there was a customs point at the middle of the airport so that people could "emigrate" to the other side of the airport.
Basel has long held an important place as a rail hub. Three railway stations — those of the German, French and Swiss networks — lie within the city (although the Swiss (Basel SBB) and French (Bâle SNCF) stations are actually in the same complex, separated by Customs and Immigration facilities). Basel Badischer Bahnhof is on the opposite side of the city. Basel's local rail services are supplied by the Basel Regional S-Bahn. The largest goods railway complex of the country is located just outside the city, spanning the municipalities of Muttenz and Pratteln. The new highspeed ICE railway line from Karlsruhe to Basel was completed in 2008 while phase I of the TGV Rhin-Rhône line, opened in December 2011, has reduced travel time from Basel to Paris to about 3 hours.
Basel is located on the A3 motorway.
Within the city limits, five bridges connect greater and lesser Basel, from upstream to downstream:
A somewhat anachronistic yet still widely used system of ferry boats links the two shores. There are four ferries, each situated approximately midway between two bridges. Each is attached by a cable to a block that rides along another cable spanning the river at a height of 20 or 30 metres. To cross the river, the ferryman orients the boat around 45° from the current so that the current pushes the boat across the river. This form of transportation is therefore completely hydraulically driven, requiring no outside energy source. 
Basel has an extensive public transportation network serving the city and connecting to surrounding suburbs, including a large tram network. The green-colored local trams and buses are operated by the Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe (BVB). The yellow-colored buses and trams are operated by the Baselland Transport (BLT), and connect areas in the nearby half-canton of Baselland to central Basel. The BVB also shares commuter bus lines in cooperation with transit authorities in the neighboring Alsace region in France and Baden region in Germany. The Basel Regional S-Bahn, the commuter rail network connecting to suburbs surrounding the city, is jointly operated by SBB, SNCF and DB.
Basel is located at the meeting point of France, Germany and Switzerland and has numerous road and rail crossings between Switzerland and the other two countries. With Switzerland joining the Schengen Area on December 12, 2008, immigration checks were no longer carried out at the crossings. However, Switzerland did not join the EU customs regime and customs checks are still conducted at or near the crossings.
France-Switzerland (from east to west)
Germany-Switzerland (clockwise, from north to south)
Additionally there are many footpaths and cycle tracks crossing the border between Basel and Germany.
Basel has a population (as of March 2013[update]) of 172,091. As of 2008[update], 32.3% of the population are resident foreign nationals. Over the last 10 years (1999–2009 ) the population has changed at a rate of -0.3%. It has changed at a rate of 3.2% due to migration and at a rate of -3% due to births and deaths.
Most of the population (as of 2000[update]) speaks German (129,592 or 77.8%), with Italian being second most common (9,049 or 5.4%) and French being third (4,280 or 2.6%). There are 202 people who speak Romansh.
Of the population in the municipality 58,560 or about 35.2% were born in Basel and lived there in 2000. There were 1,396 or 0.8% who were born in the same canton, while 44,874 or 26.9% were born somewhere else in Switzerland, and 53,774 or 32.3% were born outside of Switzerland.
In 2008[update] there were 898 live births to Swiss citizens and 621 births to non-Swiss citizens, and in same time span there were 1,732 deaths of Swiss citizens and 175 non-Swiss citizen deaths. Ignoring immigration and emigration, the population of Swiss citizens decreased by 834 while the foreign population increased by 446. There were 207 Swiss men and 271 Swiss women who emigrated from Switzerland. At the same time, there were 1756 non-Swiss men and 1655 non-Swiss women who immigrated from another country to Switzerland. The total Swiss population change in 2008 (from all sources, including moves across municipal borders) was an increase of 278 and the non-Swiss population increased by 1138 people. This represents a population growth rate of 0.9%.
As of 2000[update], there were 70,502 people who were single and never married in the municipality. There were 70,517 married individuals, 12,435 widows or widowers and 13,104 individuals who are divorced.
As of 2000[update] the average number of residents per living room was 0.59 which is about equal to the cantonal average of 0.58 per room. In this case, a room is defined as space of a housing unit of at least 4 m2 (43 sq ft) as normal bedrooms, dining rooms, living rooms, kitchens and habitable cellars and attics. About 10.5% of the total households were owner occupied, or in other words did not pay rent (though they may have a mortgage or a rent-to-own agreement).
As of 2000[update], there were 86,371 private households in the municipality, and an average of 1.8 persons per household. There were 44,469 households that consist of only one person and 2,842 households with five or more people. Out of a total of 88,646 households that answered this question, 50.2% were households made up of just one person and there were 451 adults who lived with their parents. Of the rest of the households, there are 20,472 married couples without children, 14,554 married couples with children There were 4,318 single parents with a child or children. There were 2,107 households that were made up of unrelated people and 2,275 households that were made up of some sort of institution or another collective housing.
In 2000[update] there were 5,747 single family homes (or 30.8% of the total) out of a total of 18,631 inhabited buildings. There were 7,642 multi-family buildings (41.0%), along with 4,093 multi-purpose buildings that were mostly used for housing (22.0%) and 1,149 other use buildings (commercial or industrial) that also had some housing (6.2%). Of the single family homes 1090 were built before 1919, while 65 were built between 1990 and 2000. The greatest number of single family homes (3,474) were built between 1919 and 1945.
In 2000[update] there were 96,640 apartments in the municipality. The most common apartment size was 3 rooms of which there were 35,958. There were 11,957 single room apartments and 9,702 apartments with five or more rooms. Of these apartments, a total of 84,675 apartments (87.6% of the total) were permanently occupied, while 7,916 apartments (8.2%) were seasonally occupied and 4,049 apartments (4.2%) were empty. As of 2009[update], the construction rate of new housing units was 2.6 new units per 1000 residents.
As of 2003[update] the average price to rent an average apartment in Basel was 1118.60 Swiss francs (CHF) per month (US$890, £500, €720 approx. exchange rate from 2003). The average rate for a one room apartment was 602.27 CHF (US$480, £270, €390), a two room apartment was about 846.52 CHF (US$680, £380, €540), a three room apartment was about 1054.14 CHF (US$840, £470, €670) and a six or more room apartment cost an average of 2185.24 CHF (US$1750, £980, €1400). The average apartment price in Basel was 100.2% of the national average of 1116 CHF. The vacancy rate for the municipality, in 2010[update], was 0.74%.
The historical population is given in the following chart:
As of 2010[update], Basel had an unemployment rate of 4.2%. As of 2008[update], there were 18 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 9 businesses involved in this sector. 34,645 people were employed in the secondary sector and there were 1,176 businesses in this sector. 120,130 people were employed in the tertiary sector, with 8,908 businesses in this sector. There were 82,449 residents of the municipality who were employed in some capacity, of which females made up 46.2% of the workforce.
In 2008[update] the total number of full-time equivalent jobs was 130,988. The number of jobs in the primary sector was 13, of which 10 were in agriculture and 4 were in forestry or lumber production. The number of jobs in the secondary sector was 33,171 of which 24,848 or (74.9%) were in manufacturing, 10 were in mining and 7,313 (22.0%) were in construction. The number of jobs in the tertiary sector was 97,804. In the tertiary sector; 12,880 or 13.2% were in wholesale or retail sales or the repair of motor vehicles, 11,959 or 12.2% were in the movement and storage of goods, 6,120 or 6.3% were in a hotel or restaurant, 4,186 or 4.3% were in the information industry, 10,752 or 11.0% were the insurance or financial industry, 13,695 or 14.0% were technical professionals or scientists, 6,983 or 7.1% were in education and 16,060 or 16.4% were in health care.
In 2000[update], there were 121,842 workers who commuted into the municipality and 19,263 workers who commuted away. The municipality is a net importer of workers, with about 6.3 workers entering the municipality for every one leaving. About 23.9% of the workforce coming into Basel are coming from outside Switzerland, while 1.0% of the locals commute out of Switzerland for work. Of the working population, 49.2% used public transportation to get to work, and 18.7% used a private car.
An annual Federal Swiss trade fair (Mustermesse) takes place in Kleinbasel on the right bank of the Rhine. Other important trade shows include "BaselWorld" (watches and jewelry), Art Basel, Orbit and Cultura.
The Swiss chemical industry operates largely from Basel, and Basel also has a large pharmaceutical industry. Novartis, Syngenta, Ciba Specialty Chemicals, Clariant, Hoffmann-La Roche, Basilea Pharmaceutica and Actelion are headquartered there. Pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals have become the modern focus of the city's industrial production.
Banking is extremely important to Basel:
Swiss International Air Lines, the national airline of Switzerland, is headquartered on the grounds of EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg in Saint-Louis, Haut-Rhin, France, near Basel. Prior to the formation of Swiss International Air Lines, the regional airline Crossair was headquartered near Basel.
Basel is subdivided into 19 quarters (Quartiere). The municipalities of Riehen and Bettingen, outside the city limits of Basel, are included in the canton of Basel-City as rural quarters (Landquartiere).
|Altstadt Grossbasel (central Grossbasel)||37.63||2,044||5,431.8|
|Altstadt Kleinbasel (central Kleinbasel)||24.21||2,276||9,401|
|City of Basel||2275.05||172,091||7,581|
|Canton of Basel-City||3583.84||194,090||5,422|
From the 2000 census[update], 41,916 or 25.2% were Roman Catholic, while 39,180 or 23.5% belonged to the Swiss Reformed Church. Of the rest of the population, there were 4,567 members of an Orthodox church (or about 2.74% of the population), there were 459 individuals (or about 0.28% of the population) who belonged to the Christian Catholic Church, and there were 3,464 individuals (or about 2.08% of the population) who belonged to another Christian church. There were 1,325 individuals (or about 0.80% of the population) who were Jewish, and 12,368 (or about 7.43% of the population) who were Islamic. There were 746 individuals who were Buddhist, 947 individuals who were Hindu and 485 individuals who belonged to another church. 52,321 (or about 31.41% of the population) belonged to no church, are agnostic or atheist, and 8,780 individuals (or about 5.27% of the population) did not answer the question.
The red sandstone Münster, one of the foremost late-Romanesque/early Gothic buildings in the Upper Rhine, was badly damaged in the great earthquake of 1356, rebuilt in the 14th and 15th century, extensively reconstructed in the mid-19th century and further restored in the late 20th century. A memorial to Erasmus lies inside the Münster. The City Hall from the 16th century is located on the Market Square and is decorated with fine murals on the outer walls and on the walls of the inner court.
Basel is also host to an array of buildings by internationally renowned architects. These include the Beyeler Foundation by Renzo Piano, or the Vitra complex in nearby Weil am Rhein, composed of buildings by architects such as Zaha Hadid (fire station), Frank Gehry (design museum), Alvaro Siza Vieira (factory building) and Tadao Ando (conference centre). Basel also features buildings by Mario Botta (Jean Tinguely Museum and Bank of International settlements) and Herzog & de Meuron (whose architectural practice is in Basel, and who are best known as the architects of Tate Modern in London). The city received the Wakker Prize in 1996.
These include the entire Old Town of Basel as well as the following buildings and collections:
Basel hosts Switzerland's oldest university, the University of Basel, dating from 1460. Erasmus, Paracelsus, Daniel Bernoulli, Leonhard Euler, Jacob Burckhardt, Friedrich Nietzsche and Karl Barth worked here. More recently, its work in tropical medicine has gained prominence.
In 2007, the ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich) established the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) in Basel. The creation of the D-BSSE was driven by a Swiss-wide research initiative SystemsX, and was jointly supported by funding from the ETH Zurich, the Swiss Government, the Swiss University Conference (SUC) and private industry.
Basel is renowned for various scientific societies, as the Entomological Society of Basel (Entomologische Gesellschaft Basel, EGB), which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2005.
Basel counts several International Schools including academia International School, École Française de Bâle, Freies Gymnasium Basel, Gymnasium am Münsterplatz, Schweizerisch-italienische Primarschule "Sandro Pertini", Swiss Interntional School (Basel), International School of Basel in the neighbouring canton of Baselland and the Black Forest Academy in Germany.
In Basel about 57,864 or (34.7%) of the population have completed non-mandatory upper secondary education, and 27,603 or (16.6%) have completed additional higher education (either university or a Fachhochschule). Of the 27,603 who completed tertiary schooling, 44.4% were Swiss men, 31.1% were Swiss women, 13.9% were non-Swiss men and 10.6% were non-Swiss women.
Basel is home to at least 65 libraries. Some of the largest include; the Universitätsbibliothek Basel (main university library), the special libraries of the Universität Basel, the Allgemein Bibliotheken der GGG Basel, the Library of the Pädagogische Hochschule, the Library of the Hochschule für Soziale Arbeit and the Library of the Hochschule für Wirtschaft. There was a combined total (as of 2008[update]) of 8,443,643 books or other media in the libraries, and in the same year a total of 1,722,802 items were loaned out.
Geo-politically, the city of Basel functions as the capital of the Swiss half-canton of Basel-Stadt, though several of its suburbs form part of the half-canton of Basel-Landschaft or of the canton of Aargau (or of France or Germany).
In the 2007 federal election the most popular party was the SP which received 37.1% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were the SVP (18.08%), the Green Party (12.97%) and the FDP (10.99%). In the federal election, a total of 51,012 votes were cast, and the voter turnout was 51.4%.
Basel is at the forefront of a national vision to more than halve energy use in Switzerland by 2050. In order to research, develop and commercialise the technologies and techniques required for the country to become a '2000 Watt society', a number of projects have been set up since 2001 in the Basel metropolitan area. These including demonstration buildings constructed to MINERGIE or Passivhaus standards, electricity generation from renewable energy sources, and vehicles using natural gas, hydrogen and biogas.
Basel has a reputation in Switzerland as a successful sporting city. The football club FC Basel continues to be successful and in recognition of this the city was one of the Swiss venues for the 2008 European Championships, as well as Geneva, Zurich and Bern. The championships were jointly hosted by Switzerland and Austria. BSC Old Boys and Concordia Basel are the other football teams in Basel.
A large indoor tennis event takes place in Basel every October. Some of the best ATP-Professionals play every year at the Swiss Indoors, including Switzerland's biggest sporting hero and frequent participant Roger Federer, a Basel native who describes the city as "one of the most beautiful cities in the world".
Basel has a thriving cultural life. (In 1997, it contended to become the "European Capital of Culture", though the honor went instead to Thessaloniki) Basel is the home of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, founded in 1933, a worldwide centre for research on and performance of music from the Medieval through the Baroque eras. Theater Basel presents a busy schedule of plays in addition to being home to the city's opera and ballet companies. Basel is home to the largest orchestra in Switzerland, the Sinfonieorchester Basel. It is also the home of the Kammerorchester Basel, which is recording the complete symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven for the Sony label led by its music director Giovanni Antonini. The Schola Cantorum and the Kammerorchester were both founded by the conductor Paul Sacher who went on to commission works by many leading composers. The Paul Sacher Foundation, opened in 1986, houses a major collection of manuscripts, including the entire Igor Stravinsky archive. The baroque orchestras La Cetra and Capriccio Basel are also based in Basel. In May 2004, the fifth European Festival of Youth Choirs (Europäisches Jugendchorfestival, or EJCF) choir festival opened: this Basel tradition started in 1992. Host of this festival is the local Basel Boys Choir.
The carnival of the city of Basel (Basler Fasnacht) is a major cultural event in the year. The carnival is the biggest in Switzerland and attracts large crowds every year, despite the fact that it starts at exactly four in the morning (Morgestraich) on a winter Monday. The Fasnacht asserts Basel's Protestant history by commencing the revelry five days after Ash Wednesday and continuing day and night for exactly 72 hours. Almost all study and work in the old city cease. Dozens of fife and drum clubs parade in medieval guild tradition with fantastical masks and illuminated lanterns, eventually yielding to other loud and irreverent festivity. Basel is also host to the Basel Tattoo and a number of fairs.
Established in 1874, Zoo Basel is the oldest zoo in Switzerland and, by number of animals, the largest. Through its history, Zoo Basel has had several breeding successes, such as the first worldwide Indian rhinoceros birth and Greater flamingo hatch in a zoo. These and other achievements led Forbes Travel to rank Zoo Basel as one of the fifteen best zoos in the world in 2008.
Despite its international fame, Basel's population remains attached to Zoo Basel, which is entirely surrounded by the city of Basel. Evidence of this is the millions of donations money each year, as well as Zoo Basel's unofficial name: locals lovingly call "their" zoo "Zolli" by which is it known throughout Basel and most of Switzerland.
The Basel museums cover a broad and diverse spectrum of collections with a marked concentration in the fine arts. They house numerous holdings of international significance. The over three dozen institutions yield an extraordinarily high density of museums compared to other cities of similar size and draw over one million visitors annually.
Constituting an essential component of Basel culture and cultural policy, the museums are the result of closely interwoven private and public collecting activities and promotion of arts and culture going back to the 16th century. The public museum collection was first created back in 1661 and represents the oldest public collection in continuous existence. Since the late 1980s, various private collections have been made accessible to the public in new purpose-built structures that have been recognized as acclaimed examples of avant-garde museum architecture.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Basel|
|Wikivoyage has travel information related to: Basel|
|Wikisource has the text of a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article about Basel.|
Here you can share your comments or contribute with more information, content, resources or links about this topic.