Arts & Culture


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806 – 1861

Elizabeth dedicated this poem to her husband, poet Robert Browning. To whom she also penned these words, For I have none in the world who will hold me to make me live in it, except only you – I have come back for you alone…at your voice…and because you have use for me! I have come back to live a little for you. I love you – I bless God for you – you are too good for me, always I knew.’

Read more at Analysis of Poem “How Do I Love Thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Basler Fasnacht
11 March | 04.00 – 13 March | 04.00

Carnival in Basel is an experience like no other. It’s extravagant, it’s loud, it’s crowded, it’s a great big deliciously cacophonous mess. The biggest carnival festival in Switzerland, the Basler Fasnacht is an historic and fun event that you must experience at least once in your lifetime.


Merz and Qadaffi as Punch & Judy © nicestalan
Merz and Qadaffi as Punch & Judy © nicestalan

It all starts with Morgästraich, that moment at 4:00 in the morning when, after what feels like the entire city has gathered downtown, the lights go out and the Cliquen (groups who are part of the festival) start their first march, all at the same time. Hundreds of Fasnächtler, or Fasnacht-participants, dressed in elaborate costumes compose the Cliquen, playing their tunes with flutes and drums, marching in a massive parade of colours and lighted lanterns, with bright handcrafted carts and displays usually saturated with political satire. (Try to attend this with a Swiss friend so they can explain the jokes!) And the Fasnächtler carry on as the morning dawns, taking breaks to warm up now and then at a local bar before heading out again.

After the Morgästraich, join some friends to try some Mehlsuppe, flour soup (a Fasnahct tradition), at one of the local restaurants or pubs. You can also try other local specialties Zwiebelkuchen, a pie made of onions and bacon, or chäschüechli, a cheese quiche. Many restaurants are open for the entirety of the drey scheenschte Dääg…

Die drey scheenschte Dääg

Waggi Confetti ©nicestalan //
Waggi Confetti ©nicestalan //

The carnival itself lasts for 72 hours straight, running until Thursday morning at 4:00 a.m. These three days, called the drei schöoenschte Dääg or the ‘three most beautiful days,’ are a non-stop celebration, with special parades on Monday and Wednesday called Cortège as well as other parades all throughout the city. Another fun part of Fasnacht is the Guggemusik — brass bands who play everything from classic folk to modern pop songs. The Gugge participate at Cortège on Monday and Wednesday, but Tuesday night is dedicated especially to the Guggemusik, with concerts spread out through the centre of the city, at Barfüsserplatz, Marktplatz, and Claraplatz. Buy a klöpfer and Feldschlösschen lager at the food stand and enjoy a fun evening of lively music.

Tuesday is also the day for the Children and Family Fasnacht, where children can take part in the marches with their parents.

Monday through Wednesday evening, you can catch ‘Schnitzelbänke,’ when performers sing satirical songs about current events and personalities. More info.

Throwing Räppli

You’ll enjoy dozens and dozens of floats during the parades, and you might get thrown an orange or other treat from one of the wagons. But you might also get stuffed with Räppli — colourful paper confetti. (And once it gets in your house or flat, you’ll be able to remember Fasnacht all year long, as you’ll continue to find it during your housekeeping for the rest of the year!) The best way to ward off confetti-throwers is to buy a Fasnacht Blaggedde, a badge or pin worn during the festival, which you can buy in the weeks leading up to Fasnacht. Yet even with the pin, there’s a fairly good chance that you’ll still get showered in Räppli at some point during the festival!

Fasnacht Treats

Besides Mehlsuppe, Chäschüechli, and sausages and beer, there are several treats you can look forward to for Fasnacht. Try Faschtewaihe, a white, pretzel-shaped bread topped with cumin seeds found at bakeries like Sutter and local supermarkets. For a sweet treat, head to your favourite confiserie, Migros, or Coop for some Fasnachtschüechli—delicious deep-fried pastry topped with powdered sugar.

There’s much to love about Fasnacht! What’s your favourite part of the festival? Tell us in the comments!

For more info, visit Fasnachts Comité at or Basel Tourism.

Photo Credit: Noel Reynolds

culture shock
Anxiety and confusion overwhelming a person suddenly living in a culture, with a way of thinking or set of attitudes, that is completely foreign to them.

Basel © michaelcamilleri //
Basel © michaelcamilleri //

People have been talking about culture shock since the late fifties and early sixties. The late Dr. Kalervo Oberg has been credited for making much use of the term, and thanks to the advances made by a highly technological world, we find greater numbers exposed to culture shock.

What Is It?

Basically, culture shock is feeling like a fish out of water—like the new kid on the block. Or the first time you had to wear braces or glasses and everyone stared at you like you were some kind of freak. Or when the bully got at you in school. Except with culture shock, no one’s really trying to intimidate you—it’s just a new language or something that is making your self-esteem take a huge bashing.

Remember how great it felt in eighth grade—you were cool and the younger ones looked up to you! Then after you graduated you entered high school—new rules, new students, and you’re at the bottom of the totem pole. Think about when you entered college!

Culture shock is very similar to that, with the exception that you don’t understand what’s being said. So take a deep breath and remember that how things turn out is up to you. Embrace the challenge—you got through high school, didn’t you? This could be one of the best experiences of your life.

Culture shock has pretty much settled into four stages:

Honeymoon phase:
You’re in a new place—everything is unique and exciting. This phase is all about checking out new places, customs, traditions, foods, bars, and people!

Negotiation phase:
Sooner or later, depending on your background and experiences, anxiety and melancholy start to set in. You miss your friends, family, your grocery store, your TV programs, the ability to speak your language and have people understand you clearly, knowing what the people at the next table to you are saying, and even just humor! You miss the spontaneity of joking and having someone understand the joke. Now you have to figure out what things mean, where to find your favorite foods, how friendships work. You just want to go home.

Adjustment phase:
Again, this phase is up to you. Sometimes it takes six months, for some a year. You develop your routine, sleeping habits get better, your starting to figure how things work, what makes the people tick, where to get what, and if you’re learning a new language, you’re being able to communicate with others. Keeping in contact with others is a key element here. Try to find places where you can use your new language as well as interact with those who speak your mother tongue.

Mastery phase:
This is the been-there-done-that stage. You’ve figured out how to get around, got your new network of friends, enjoying communicating in a new language—you rock! The important thing to remember here is that you’re embracing the culture and contributing to it. It’s not about you or having things your way. It’s sharing the best of your culture and appreciating the wealth of your host country.

And keep in mind, when you return to your homeland, there’s reverse culture shock…but you’ll work through that one too!

Symptoms of Culture Shock

Now that we understand what it is, let’s look at some typical symptoms:

    bouts of crying
    eating disorders
    obsessive compulsive actions
    feelings of inadequacy
    hypochondria—endless symptoms of illness
    unending lethargy and sleep
    fear and anxiety
    the grass is greener on the other side mentality
    easily overwhelmed
    blaming your spouse (or others) for the move
    questioning your decision making ability

Of course, everyone will have different symptoms, but usually you’ll try to cling to the past and what is familiar. The quicker you move forward, the faster you will adjust and enjoy yourself. If you have any prior psychological problems, just be sure to check with your doctor before you make the move so you’re well prepared to deal with the changes.

Serious symptoms include:

    thoughts of suicide

Don’t feel ashamed or scared to ask someone for help if you are feeling this way.

Fighting Culture Shock

This could be the best time of your life—for your family and for you! Approach it like a battle to win and come up with your own strategies to win it. If you know how long your assignment is and where you’re going, start your preparations ahead of time, develop a Life Value statement and goals to accomplish. Figure out what you want to see happen and how you’re going to do that.

If you have young children, find out all you can about the schools and what will be best for your children’s needs. There are an abundance of things to do for families, learn to make the most of what’s being offered to you.

If your spouse’s job requires a lot of extensive travel, calculate ways to maximize your time together (not just a list of how hard things are for you on your own!). If the travel is taking a toll on your marriage or health, figure out what you can do to alleviate the situation. Sometimes it might mean not extending the initial contract and returning home.

Count your blessings and don’t be too hard on your family or yourself. It takes a bit of time to adjust to a new country.

If you’ve given up a job to follow your spouse on their assignment, don’t focus on what you miss about your own work and find fault with your current situation. Instead, use this time to spend with your children, or if you don’t have that privilege, develop some new job or life skills for yourself. You’ll never regret it.

Stop complaining…period! It’s the fastest breeder of discontentment.

Volunteer wherever you can.

Find a fun support group—maybe it’s a church or an organization from your home country.

One thing that can’t be stressed nearly enough—learn the local language! Yes, they may speak English, but it’s not only courteous to be able to communicate in their language when you’re living in their country, it is an experience you cannot get back home and one you must embrace. Seeing you trying will go a long way in making your new country friends easier on you.

Feelings of sadness are normal, but if they persist and are getting in the way of your daily life, you need to seek the care and counsel of someone qualified to help you.

Remember—enjoy everything you can about where you are, because good or bad, nothing lasts forever!

vox fabulae is all about stories. These stories are told through music and words, and the words are in English. The Basel-based group blends theater and concert and attracts audiences of Swiss and expatriates alike.

At the center of the performances is the storyteller, played by Madeline Del Real. The American actress grew up in Basel and studied in New York and London. Through imaginative staging and an expressive voice she brings to life not only the central narrator but all the other characters who pass through the tales. “I always strive to take part in diverse expressions of theater, and collaborate with different types of artists,” she says of working with vox fabulae.

The other members of the group are musicians. The music is not meant as background but instead tells the story in its own way. Flutist Micaela Grau Durán coaxes melodies, whistle tones, and rustling breath effects out of her instrument. A contemporary music specialist, she is a founding member of Ensemble Lemniscate and studied both in Basel and in her native Argentina. Flute is accompanied by piano, played by Rebekkah Laeuchli using chopsticks, sticky tack, and a right-angle screwdriver in addition to the traditional fingers on keys approach.

All of the stories are created by the members of vox fabulae themselves. Elia Navarro from Barcelona is the resident composer and sound artist. She currently attends the Basel school of art while also studying composition with Erik Oña at the music academy.

“I am very excited about being part of the ensemble,” says Navarro. “This way of telling stories through different media is totally open and there is a lot of space for experimentation.”

The ensemble debuted their first full-length performance in a concert series this past May with two stories, The Spring and She, I. The texts were written by the group’s pianist, Rebekkah Laeuchli, and ranged from surreal to humorous to tragic. This summer the ensemble will be working together on new material for their upcoming concert season in autumn.

“We want to do something a little bit different,” says Laeuchli. “Funny, and bizarre. We’re very excited about this next story.”

Catch vox fabulae’s next performance on 19 November at a B4 Office Concert, produced by the Swiss Foundation for the Vocal Arts. The concert is free and begins at 12:30 at Bernoullistrasse 4. For more information visit the ensemble’s website:

vox fabulaeEnsemble members:
Elia Navarro, composer and sound artist. Rebekkah Laeuchli, writer and pianist. Madeline Del Real, actor.
Micaela Grau Durán, flutist.


Contact Information:

Latest News from: Baselworld 2015 Press Conference—Live Report

The undisputedly premier event that unites key players from all sectors of the global watch and jewellery industry under one roof, Baselworld 2015 commenced this morning with the inaugural press conference. The conference hall was filled with key players representing the print, TV and digital media from every continent who were eagerly awaiting the Baselworld press conference which marks the start of the landmark event in the annual calendar of the watch and jewellery industry: the show that will unveil the trends of tomorrow.

Please visit for information on daily schedules, lodging, things to do!

What is Baselworld?

Baselworld Watch and Jewelry Show is a trade show of the international watch and jewelry industry held every Spring in Basel, Switzerland. It hosts approximately 2,100 exhibitors from over 45 countries, including the leading watch and jewelry manufacturers, as well as companies specializing in precious gems. The show attracts nearly 150,000 visitors (4,000 press) making it a one of the top watch and jewelry shows.

For a brief history of this trade show, check this information from Wikipedia:

The history of the show dates back to 1917 with the opening of the first Schweizer Mustermesse Basel (muba), of which a section was devoted to watches and jewellery.
•    1925 muba invited several watch manufacturers
•    1931 the Schweizer Uhrenmesse (Swiss Watch Show) was first held in a dedicated pavilion.
•    After 1972’s Europe’s meeting place exhibition, companies from France, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom were also invited.
•    1983 the show changed its name to BASEL and two numerals denoting the exhibition year, e.g., BASEL 83.
•    1986, companies from outside Europe were included for the first time, reflecting the increased number of visitors from outside Europe.
•    1995 the show was renamed to BASEL 95 – The World Watch, Clock and Jewellery Show.
•    1999, a new hall with 36,000 square meters exhibition space was added. The year 2000 saw an increase of 6 per cent in trade visitors.
•    2003 the show was again renamed to Baselworld, The Watch and Jewellery Show.
•    2004, with the introduction of a new hall complex, the exhibition area extended to 160,000 square meters, attracting more than 89,000 visitors.

What Watch-Next is recommending: Basel beauties: Baselworld Watch Fair Preview – The giant Baselworld show, headed by the likes of Rolex, Omega, Tag Heuer, Patek Philippe, Girard Perregaux, Hublot, and Breitling, approaches fast. To read more, click here.

Basel Community also recommends reading A Question of Pickpockets.


Photo by Kevin Kyburz via Flickr

The Klosterbergfest 2014 is on! Don’t miss the food, music, and fun!! For more information, click here!


The Klosterbergfest is legendary in Basel!

What is it?

A three-day, multi-cultural street party festival: Live music, caipirinhas (of course!), gourmet food from around the world, and more! The goal is to raise money for street children in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The money will be used to provide the children opportunities for growth and enhancement. So far, over 20,000 people have benefited with elementary and advanced training from these generous donations from Basel.

Join the fun!


Photo by

Lucky ’13 has been a great year for special events in Basel.

Not only has it brought the annual summer favourites like National Day fireworks and music on the Rhein, it also happens to be the year for Basel’s biggest youth culture festival—the Jugendkulturfestival Basel. Taking place every two years, the JKF is an exhilarating marathon of sights, sounds, and adrenaline. And it all happens this weekend, 30 and 31 August.

Watch Basel come alive in a whole new way as the entire city becomes a stage for music, art, drama, sports, and fashion. There’s a music video showcase and Swiss short film showcase at the Gässli Film Festival; Freestyle and Theater at the Literaturhaus; DJs at Elisabethenkirche and bands in Barfüsserplatz; Taekwando at Münsterplatz; and more than 150 different events from 1700 artists all around town.

Some 60,000 youth turn out for this two-day celebration of everything new and trending—and to set some new trends of their own. It starts Friday afternoon and goes until early Sunday morning, so be sure to catch something! It’s fun for youth and families and seriously cool.

For more info, stop by the JKF website:

Photo © JKF

Photo by knickinoptik //

With the summer comes culture—lots of it. Although a creative art-loving community year round, there’s something about this season that brings an even greater abundance of music, imagination, and expression to this city on the Rhein. Whether in film, concerts, festivals, or fireworks, Basel lights up with brilliant, colourful, exuberant life.

Orange Cinema: 26 July – 22 August

The Orange Cinema is one of the best loved summer events in Basel. Taking place every year at Münsterplatz, it’s almost a full month of box-office hits, international and independent films, and of course, great food—all in open air, under the moon and stars. Just a few of this year’s features are Cinema Paradiso on Opening Night (26 July), The Sapphires, Argo, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Les Misérables. You can see the full program here.

If you’re an Orange customer, bring a friend for free on Tuesdays with their 2-for-1 movie ticket offer—just text OCINEBS to the number 241. For an extra special movie night, you can watch the film from Zum Isaak restaurant, right on Münsterplatz. Reserve your table and seats online, enjoy a wonderful dinner, and then kick back with a glass of wine for your feature film. Click here to reserve seats.

ImFluss: 30 July – 17 August

If this is your first summer in Basel, you’re probably wondering about the barge out in the middle of the Rhein. But it won’t take long to discover that the raft is an integral part of what makes summer in Basel, summer in Basel.

It’s the iconic stage for ImFluss (meaning “in the flow”), an annual concert series hosted on the Rhein that draws all kinds of local, national, and even international performers to the city. It’s an eclectic mix of music, something for everyone, and always lots of fun. Bring friends and come early to get a seat on the steps by the river. Concerts are generally free, but you’ll see “crew” dressed in nautical shirts and hats pass through the crowd with big nets, gathering tips for the artists. They’ll appreciate your appreciation!

Four days and counting… Watch the countdown!

National Day Celebration: 31 July
Photo by Anuj Biyani //

Maybe the highlight of the season is Swiss National Day, August 1. Typically celebrated on the evening before, it’s a citywide, all-out party with all the trimmings: live music, Wienerli and Basler Brot, stands and stalls, water sports, and of course fireworks. The festivities run from 17.00 to 02.00 the following day, and the firework show starts at 23.00 on the Rhein, engineered from two boats on either side of the Mittlere Brücke. Usually you’ll know the show has come to a close when you see the smiley face fireworks! Stop by for more info.

It’s recommended to use public transportation on festival days. Just be sure to check the tram and bus schedules as they change on holidays. You can find more information on the BVB website.

Also, don’t miss the last few days of…

Tattoo Basel: 19 – 27 July

The Tattoo Basel, one of the world’s largest tattoos, is an impressive showcase of musical mastery, precision, choreography, and spirit held at the Basel barracks—a magical mix of bagpipes, brass, and of course drums, amid fireworks and lots of applause. The Basel Tattoo Parade will be winding through Basel’s main streets this Saturday, 27 July. Visit their website for more information and video previews.

Stimmen-Festival (Voices Festival): 4 – 28 July

With musical legends such as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Lenny Kravitz, the Stimmen-Festival makes it possible to see some of the world’s best singers, musicians, and songwriters without ever leaving the region. Now in its 20th year, the festival proves that good things do in fact come in threes…or at least, with the number 3 in them: 30 concerts over the course of 3 and a half weeks for more than 30,000 visitors. It’s all styles of music, from all countries, for all music lovers. This week (the festival’s final week), you can catch Gudrid Hansdóttir, This Is the Kit, Bob Geldof, Lucas Santtana, and many more. Find more information here.

And this is just the beginning! More exciting festivals and special events are just around the corner in August…

What do you love most about summer days and Basel nights?

28 August–2 September 2012

Musical Theater
Feldbergstrasse 151, 4058 Basel
20:00 Hrs

For the first time at the Musical Theater in Basel, a fascinating dream world created by shadows! After their first sold-out tour of Germany, the American dance company Pilobolus returns to Europe.

About Pilobolus:

Pilobolus is a modern performance company, founded in 1971, that to this day wears its revolutionary stripes on its sleeves. In keeping with its fundamentally collective creative process, Pilobolus Dance Theatre now curates and convenes groups of diverse artists—including the MIT Distributed Robotics Laboratory, Art Spiegelman, OK Go, Radiolab, and many others—to make inventive, athletic, witty, collaborative performance works on stage and screen using the human body as a medium for expression. Pilobolus makes art to build community. It teaches its group-based creative process to performers and non-dancers alike through popular, unique educational projects and programs. This collection of activities is called the Pilobolus Institute. Pilobolus also applies its method of creative invention to a wide range of movement services for film, advertising, publishing, commercial clients, and corporate events. This division is called Pilobolus Creative Services. The 2012 season marks Pilobolus’s 41st year. In keeping with the energy and spirit of its biological namesake—a phototropic fungus that thrives in farmyards—the company has continued to grow toward the light, expanding and refining its unique methods of collective creative production to assemble a repertoire of over 100 choreographic works. While it has become a stable and influential force in the world of dance, Pilobolus remains as protean as ever, looking forward to the next 40 years of collaborating on the future. |

A richly creative community, Basel is home to many theatres celebrating artistic expression through plays, opera, musicals, and dance. Companies and troupes from all over the world pass through the city’s remarkable venues, and you can usually see long lines of people standing outside the glittering marquees on performance nights. From pre-show cocktails to cocktail attire, it’s a social and cultural celebration start to finish.

Theater Basel

Just off Barfüsserplatz, this centrally located theater braids together three main threads of the performing arts — plays, ballet, and opera — making it the largest theatre of its kind in Switzerland. Their programme spans the classics such as Romeo and Juliet, My Fair Lady, The Fairy Queen, and Carmen, as well as the more modern, accompanied by their magnificent orchestra. Most plays are in German, although you can catch the theatre’s final English language performance, The Great Gatsby, at the end of January 2012.

Elisabethenstrasse 16 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 295 11 00

Musical Theater Basel

Part of the biggest Fair and Congress development in Switzerland, Musical Theater Basel is one of the newest theaters and concert halls in the country. It houses just over 1550 seats in their 900m auditorium, staging quality performances from yesterday and today: Phantom of the Opera, Swan Lake, Grease, Thriller Live, and more.

Feldbergstrasse 151 • 4057 Basel
Tel: +41 61 699 88 99

Kunst in Riehen

Welcoming the best classical musicians from all over the world for more than 50 years. They honor the traditions of Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Chopin, among others, with an outstanding lineup of dymanic duos, trios, quartets, quintets, and beyond.

Tickets available through one of Basel’s most famous bookstores, Bider & Tanner:
Aeschenvorstadt 2 • 4010 Basel
Tel: +41 61 206 99 96

Kammerorchester Basel (Basel Chamber Orchestra)

One of the top chamber orchestras in Europe, touring all over the continent. In town, you can usually find them at the Ackermannshof Basel.

St. Johanns-Vorstadt 19/21 • 4056 Basel
Tel: +41 61 306 30 40

Basel Sinfonietta

Presenting both known and unknown works of music, the Basel Sinfonietta never stops exploring new ideas. They give audiences not just a performance, but a ‘symphonetic experience,’ such as the chance to see and hear a live soundtrack to a silent film. Touring frequently through some of Europe’s top festivals, they are also the only Swiss orchestra to be invited four times to the famous annual Salzburg Festival.

Dornacherstrasse 390 • 4018 Basel
Tel: +41 61 335 54 15

Basel Bach-Chor (Basel Bach Choir)

The timeless work of Johann Sebastian Bach in beautiful Martinskirche (St. Martin’s Church), Basel’s oldest parish church.

Bach Choir:
Von-Teuffel-Strasse 4/1 • 79400 Kandern

Martinskirche Basel:
Martinskirchplatz 4 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 261 45 07

Children’s Theatre

Basel has several theatres for children—young to adult! Offering old-fashioned puppet shows, fairy stories, plays, comedy, circus, musicals, and even Santa Claus specials, these well-loved places bring stories to life in a way the whole family can enjoy.

Theater Arlecchino

Colorful, vibrant productions covering a range of genres for all ages.

Amerbachstrasse 14 • 4057 Basel
Tel: +41 61 331 68 56

Basler Kinder Theater (Basel Children’s Theatre)

Showcasing the kinds of timeless fairy tales and classic adventures brought to us by the Brothers Grimm and Robert Louis Stevenson, the Basel Children’s Theatre is precisely that: by children, for children.

Schützengraben 9 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 261 28 87

Basel Puppet Theatre

Founded more than 60 years ago, this theatre hosts unique puppet shows in an equally unique setting: a beautiful vaulted basement in Münsterplatz. Daytime shows for children and evening performances for adults.

Münsterplatz 8 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 261 06 12