Living in Basel

The city of Basel is located in the northern edge of Switzerland, where it touches too other countries: Germany and France. My two and a half years living in Basel showed me the charms of this region.

Here I lived a life between two countries, every working day. Many people are in this situation, and are called “Frontaliers” because they have their residence in one country and work in another. Usually they live in France or Germany, where housing costs are cheaper, and work in Switzerland. I am the exception: I work in France and live in Switzerland.

It is a thriving city, where every time you step outside you hear different languages. It has an ideal size: Not too big and not too small. The airport is very close to the city center, which makes it great for expats who, like me, like to return often to their home country! It is clean, organized, full of green areas. It also has one of the best climates in Switzerland with little snow in the winter and a lot of sun and hot Summers. It is divided by the river Rhine, and has a beautiful and well kept city center. The public transportation works extremely well, which leads many families to live without owning a car. There are bike lanes everywhere, and come rain or shine there is always someone biking somewhere!

Like may other cities in Switzerland, Basel has an excellent quality of life. Everyone has a good standard of living whether they work in a supermarket or in the highest ranks of the big Pharmaceutical companies (the biggest economic driver of the city).

As soon as I registered as a resident, to receive my residence permit, I received a folder full of useful information about the city. I received vouchers for entries to museums, to the zoo, discounts to shows and a free German course that I enrolled for 6 months.

Basel is known as the cultural capital of Switzerland because it has many museums for all tastes, with those dedicated to art taking center stage. Furthermore, every year Art Basel comes to town, one of the biggest art fairs in the world, where you can enjoy Installations like this…

… Or like this!

But Basel doesn’t stop at museums and art! The Fastnacht (carnival) is the biggest city party, and transforms it completely. The huge masks, the custom build parade cars, the lanterns, the non-stop flute players and the confetti that fill the historic center leave no one indifferent. It’s no surprise that this party is part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO. It begins in the Monday after Ash Wednesday, at 4AM. All the lights of the city center are turned off, leaving only the allegoric lanterns lit. The sound of the flutes starts filling the city, and so it goes for three days!

Other than these events, many others fill the cultural agenda of Basel throughout the year.

Living in Basel was an incredible life experience! Due to the city, the people I met and friends I made, the places I visited and the memories I keep. Basel is a chapter that is about to come to an end. Maybe one day it will be reopen, but for now, other dreams start to take shape…

And it’s very good, that nostalgic feeling of someone about to depart, while at the same time excited about what’s to come!

If you are planning to come to live in Basel, or just coming for a visit, you surely won’t regret coming!

Margarida

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