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World > Switzerland > Basel
City Guide Basel
General Information
Basel is a political community and the capital of the Swiss Kanton Basel-City. It lies in the border triangle of Switzerland-Germany-France. After Zurich and Geneva it is the third biggest city in Switzerland. The centre of Basel is mainly the old city around the market place with the city hall from the 14th century. The narrow streets and lanes of the old city invites visitors and inhabitants likewise for a nice stroll. Basel is the centre of the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. The two big pharmaceutical companies Novartis and Hoffmann-La Roche have there headquarters there. Besides the region Basel possesses the only cargo port in Switzerland which offers a connection to the North Sea. The airport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg lies on French territory but is used by France and Switzerland likewise. Basel is considered to be a cultural, economic, modern, international and integrative metropolis of education, commerce and culture. It combines the advantages of a small town and a big city, offering intimacy and straightforwardness as well as circuitousness und diversity. Despite its social dynamic and innovative innovation power Basel is a city with a long history and old traditions. The historic townscape and the contemporary architecture reflect the vivid presence of the city.
Due to its location in the Rhine Valley and the inflowing Mediterranean air, Basel benefits from a mild and sunny climate with an average annual temperature of 9 °C. The warmest months are July and August (18°C) and the coldest ones are December and January with an average temperature of 1 °C. The highest percentage of rain fall is between June and August. Snow is not very common in the city and if snow falls then Basel is only covered with a thin layer.
Basel lies in the German speaking area of Switzerland which makes Swiss German the official language spoken in the city. But many people also speak French, English and Italian.
There are different religions and religious groups in Basel for example the Protestant church (ERK), the Roman Catholic Church (RKK), the Christ Catholic Church and a Jewish community. Furthermore there are many free churches and groups of other religious beliefs like Islam.
The currency of Switzerland is Swiss Francs. Notes come in denominations of 1000, 500, 100, 50 and 20 Francs. Coins in use are 5, 2, 1 and 0,50 Francs as well as 20, 10 and 5 rappen.
Usually tips are included in the prices of the service. If the service, however is satisfying enough it is common to round up the sum.
The tax in Switzerland lies around 7,6%. Overnight stays are usually taxed with 3,6% and food, medication and books with 2,4%. Many fields like culture, insurances and health are excluded from tax.
The area code for Switzerland is +41 and for Basel (0) 61. Most of the public telephones can only be used with a telephone card. These cards (taxcards) can be purchased for the amount of 10 or 20 Swiss Francs at post offices, train stations or kiosks.
Lan X GmbH Internetcafé & Netplay: Falkensteinerstrasse 66; + 41 (0)61 331 09 34 Thalia Bücher: Freie Strasse 32; +41 (0)61 264 26 26 Thalia Bücher im Kleinbasel: Greifengasse 3/5; +41 (0)61 264 26 94 Manor Warenhaus: Greifengasse 22; +41 (0)61 685 46 18 Mausklick: Klingentalstrasse 7; +41 (0)61 683 41 83 Internetcorner Plattner: Klingelbergstrasse 97 Internet access to the public libraries of the GGG - Hauptstelle Schmiedenhof, Im Schmiedenhof 10, +41 (0)61 264 11 11 - Bibliothek Bläsi, Bläsiring 85, +41 (0)61 692 32 00 - Bibliothek Breite, Weidengasse 53, +41 (0)61 312 83 55 - Bibliothek Gundeldingen, Dornacherstrasse 192, +41 (0)61 361 15 17 - Bibliothek Hirzbrunnen, Bäumlihofstrasse 152, +41 (0)61 601 71 73 - Bibliothek Kleinhüningen, Kleinhüningerstrasse 205, +41 (0)61 631 01 48 - Bibliothek Neubad, Neuweilerstrasse 67, +41 (0)61 302 25 60 - Bibliothek Am Wasgenring, Wasgenring 57, +41 (0)61 381 60 93 The opening hours of the eight public libraries of the GGG vary and are therefore to be checked on their homepage The surfing period is limited to one and a half hours maximum per user.
Emergency numbers
Police: 117 Fire brigade: 118 Ambulance: 144 Automobile breakdown service: 140
Opening times
Usual opening hours for shops are Monday to Wednesday from 9 am to 6.30 pm and on Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm. Some stores for groceries and general goods remain open until 10 pm. On Thursdays and Fridays shops are usually open until 8pm. Some department stores, however, are open every weekday until 8 pm (see M-Parc, St. Jakob-Park). Only a very few stores open on Sundays (on the railway stations for example). There are no 24-hour stores in Basel. Post offices are in all districts of the city and normally open at 7.30 am. Between 12 am and 2 pm they are closed. Final closure is 6 pm on weekdays and noon on Saturdays.
Public holidays
1. Jan – New Year 6. Jan - Epiphany 21. March – Good Friday Easter Sunday Easter Monday 1. May – Labour Day Whitsunday Whit Monday 1.August – National Holiday 24. Dec - Christmas Eve 25. Dec – Christmas Day 26. Dec – Boxing Day 31. Dec – New Years Eve
The crime rate in Switzerland and particularly in Basel is one of the lowest rates in the world. Residents enjoy a correspondingly-high sense of security. The police force is organised at the municipal level, the cantonal level, as well as to a limited extent at the federal level. Police stations are located throughout the city. Police patrols pass regularly through all quarters of the city.