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Why People Love Living in Basel, Switzerland

by Shannon Steinberg on May 31, 2023

Basel is almost too beautiful to be believed. Its buildings look like they were pulled straight out of a storybook. But while the scenery is certainly charming, the town’s appeal runs much deeper. Located along the Rhine River, at the juncture between France, Germany, and Switzerland, Basel offers residents a safe and prosperous environment, close to nature, where they can travel freely, expand their cultural horizons, and participate in civic life. For anyone curious about central Europe, here are just a few reasons why you’ll love living in Basel, Switzerland.

An Economic Powerhouse

Basel is one of the richest cities in Europe and one of the most resilient. Its educated workforce, competitive tax rates, and strong industrial base have made it a hotbed for both startups and multinationals. The area is part of a major logistics network that stretches through Central Europe to the North Sea ‒ making it a natural hub for shipping, trade, manufacturing, and financial services.

The city is also home to the University of Basel, one of the oldest universities in Switzerland and one of the best ranked schools in the world. Its graduates have helped fuel the city’s life sciences industry, one of the fastest-growing sectors of its economy. There are over 700 medical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology companies in the area, as well as two hundred separate research facilities, employing more than 33,000 specialists.

Experts in crop science, consumer health, and oncology are in particularly high demand from both established brands, such as Bayer and Moderna, as well as local start-ups like T3 and Monte Rosa. The city’s unique mix of blue-chip corporations and innovative R&D has drawn investment from some of the top venture capitalists in Europe and America, creating a thriving, productive ecosystem for workers at all stages of their careers.

One of the World’s Safest Cities

Basel has some of the lowest crime rates in the world. Its incidence of drug dealing, vandalism, robbery, burglary, theft, and violent assault are well below most major cities in Europe and America.

An Efficient Public Transit System

Basel’s bus and tram system is famous for its cleanliness, punctuality, and speed. Residents can travel quickly from one end of town to the other ‒ even to the French and German borders. Wait times are short and stops are rarely more than a few minutes’ walk from your office or front door.

Surrounded by Nature

Basel is a modern city, built around a Medieval core. Yet, drive southwest for forty-five minutes and you’ll find yourself surrounded by thick forests, towering peaks, and deep river valleys. There are miles of hiking, biking, and cross country trails to explore just outside of town. Or, if you’d prefer to hang out at the beach, head a few miles further south and swim, waterski, or paddleboard along the shores of Lake Biel, beneath Switzerland’s snow-capped mountains.

But you don’t have to leave the city to experience nature. The Rhine runs through the center of town. It’s Switzerland’s only link to the sea and a major avenue for trade, but also one of the city’s largest swimming pools. As temperatures rise, shores are packed with people, floating along with their iconic “Wickelfisch” swim bags.

The city also provides a number of parks and recreation facilities for the benefit of its citizens, all immaculately cultivated and free to use. There’s all kinds of fun to be had, especially at:

  • Schutzenmattpark. The most popular park in the city, thanks to its large, tree-lined meadows, music pavilion, and extensive play areas.


  • Kannenfeldpark. Basel’s biggest urban forest, with over 180 varieties of trees. Attractions include a rose garden, tall, challenging playgrounds, and a splash pond with rolling cement hills that doubles as a skate park in winter.


  • Park im Grünen. Also known as “Dinosaur Park,” for the large dinosaur statue near the duck pond. Its asphalt trails are perfect for hikers, joggers, and bicyclists. Families spend their afternoons picnicking on the green meadows or wandering around the botanical gardens. There are also tennis courts, outdoor swimming pools, and playgrounds with swings, slides, and rockers for the children.


Active Street Life

People living in Basel don’t spend their days cooped up at home. On the weekends, they join running, swimming, and soccer clubs, or go out horseback riding with their friends and neighbors. But what they look forward to most are the public festivals held throughout the year, which transform the city into a fantastic and colorful dream world. A few of the most famous include:

  • Basler Herbstmesse (Autumn Fair). A two-week festival full of games, markets, food stands, and carnival rides that attracts over a million visitors a year from France, Germany, and Switzerland. Don’t miss the freefall tower or the Big Wheel at Münsterplatz ‒ a 200 foot ferris wheel overlooking the Münsterplatz Cathedral. If you’re hungry, try some of the city’s unique fair foods, such as Chäsbängel, a baguette filled with fondue cheese, or Magenbrot, a sweet spiced biscuit.


  • Christmas Market. Lights and holly hang from every tree, market stall, and lamppost. Visitors enjoy frosted cookies and mulled wine while they peruse delightful collections of hand-painted baubles and marvel at the Christmas trees and glowing Barfüsserplatz Christmas Pyramid, lit by shimmering candlelight.


  • Dame Fasnacht (Carnival). The most creative and vibrant event of the year ‒ a three day celebration packed with music, costumes, and humor. Massive street parades sweep through town, as musicians in bizarre and outlandish costumes turn the city into a giant concert hall. Restaurants, theaters, and private homes overflow with performers, their faces covered in surreal masks, playing and laughing in the uncanny landscape, lit by soft glowing lanterns hung throughout the city.


The Cultural Center of Switzerland

Basel has been collecting art since the 16th century and has one of the largest assortment of paintings, sculptures, and avant-garde designs in the world. In fact, the city has an average of four museums per square mile. Learn about world culture, Rhenish history, Medieval bookmaking, ancient medicine, and human anatomy, or study prestigious works from the classical and modern period at:

  • Kunstmuseum Basel. Possibly the oldest art museum in the world. It houses over 300,000 pieces, including famous works by Hans Holbein, Rembrandt, Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Andy Warhol.
  • Tinguely Museum. Jean Tinguely was one of the most acclaimed Swiss artists of the twentieth century. This museum showcases the drawings, reliefs, and machine sculptures he created over the span of his 40-year career.
  • Fondation Beyeler. Located just outside the city, the Fondation Beyeler was once a private collection featuring some of the biggest names in art history, such as Degas, Monet, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Picasso, and Rothko, now open to the public.

Basel also hosts one of the largest art shows imaginable. Visitors can explore works from over 4,000 established and emerging artists - a giant showcase for some of the most exciting and creative minds in the world.

Moving to Basel

Allied takes the stress out of international moves. No matter where you live or where you’re going, our resources ensure on-the-ground support throughout the entire process. Our teams not only help you pack and load your belongings, we help get them through customs and track them every step of the way. We put your needs first, working as hard as possible to find solutions to every problem, no matter how big or small. Contact us today for a free quote!
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