It’s the largest celebration every year in Switzerland, a party no one living in Switzerland should miss—Swiss National Day, August 1.
The holiday—inspired by the Federal Charter Day, set in early August—is a massive celebration attended by up to 120,000 people in the city center. The festivities start at 5pm of July 31st and continue until 2am of August 1, ringing in the holiday with food, music, drinks, memories with good friends, and a spectacular fireworks display.
The National Day observance was moved up to July 31 in 1993, and after this it has only continued to grow into the celebration that it is today.
The ‘Bundesfeier’ firework display takes place at 11pm, and fireworks are set off from two boats in the middle of the Rhein on either side of the Mittlere Brücke.
Every summer, three of Switzerland’s major cities—Zürich, Bern, and Basel—set the stage for the nation’s largest outdoor cinema: OrangeCinema, presented by the Orange Mobile company. In Basel from 3 to 26 August, after the sun goes down, you can catch some of the biggest hits under the moon and stars amid the timeless architecture and cobblestones of famed Münsterplatz.
You’ll find a new highlight every night: Grammy Award-winning blockbusters, comedy, drama, Family Night, romance, international films. Some of this year’s features include To Rome with Love, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Der Verdingbub, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Ice Age 4, Drive, The Artist, City Lights with Charlie Chaplin (accompanied by live music from the Basel Symphony Orchestra), and much more. Most films begin after 21.00 and run around CHF 19.- for general admission without discounts. You can catch the full listing with show times, prices, and languages here: www.orangecinema.ch/basel/.
You might want to come hungry, as there are plenty of places to enjoy a pre-film dinner or drinks as well, whether you’re looking for a quick traditional Wurst and Baslerbrot, some Spanish tapas, or a spicy summer curry. Grab an Unser Bier, an espresso from the Lavazza Bar, or a fresh and fruity “Yootea” and catch up with friends at picnic tables under a canopy of vivid green leaves. (Yootea also has a drawing going on where you can enter to win tickets for certain OrangeCinema presentations: www.yootea.com/Wettbewerb.525.0.html.) And if you’ve already been to the cinema in Basel, you’ll know that ice cream is a very important part of any movie experience—an “Ovomaltine Crunchy Ice” chocolate swirl ice cream bar is included with every OrangeCinema ticket.
The event offers a few spectacular discounts too: every Tuesday is Orange CineDay, which means that if you’re an Orange customer, you can bring a friend for free. Just text OCINEBS to 241 for a discount code you can use online or at the box office. Other discounts include special offers for OrangeYoung members, students, 20 Minuten readers, and more: orangecinema.ch/basel/tickets.php. Be one of the first 20 students to arrive for your film and get free admission.
With friends, food, and award-winning films, it’s an experience everyone needs to try at least once. Presales are going on now, so grab some tickets before they’re gone!
More info, mobile apps, directions, and discounts available on the OrangeCinema website: orangecinema.ch/basel.
Undoubtedly, one of the most fun things Basel does in the summer is the concert series on the barge set up on the Rhein every July/August, ImFluss. The concerts host bands and musical groups from all over the world, as well as in the past some local favourites including Sina, Basel’s own Lovebugs, and many others.
It’s a colourful and fun evening out, hosted right by the Mittlerebrücke on the Cafe Spitz side of the water. With a wide variety of acts and genres, you’ll never know exactly what kind of music to expect, but you can preview the series on their website at imfluss.ch/index.php/programm.
And of course there are drinks and food, as well as a small VIP lounge for special guests, royalty, and those who can generally sweet-talk their way in. Try to come ahead of the start time, though, as the crowd can get pretty massive (even on the rainy days!)—make sure to save a spot early if you’d like to get one on the steps of the Rhein or somewhere near the front.
Concerts usually run from 21h to 22h Tuesday through Saturday, and 20.30h to 22h on Monday. The concerts kick off on 24 July.
Here is a clip from the Lovebugs’ performance at ImFluss last year…