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Festivals & Events

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Imagine Festival Basel © thegrid-ch // Flickr.com
Imagine Festival Basel © thegrid-ch // Flickr.com

The 11th Imagine Festival in Basel—the concert against racism—is underway! From 18:15 tonight until just before midnight tomorrow night, the festival takes place in Barfüsserplatz in Basel Stadt and hosts bands from all around Europe, workshops on social issues, art contests, panel discussions, and of course, food and drink.

For more info and programme listings, check out the official webpage at www.imaginefestival.ch.

Muba 2011 © Muba.ch
Muba 2011 © Muba.ch
Have you ever wished there was a place you could go in Basel where you could find everything?

Well there is—and it isn’t a department store.

With commodities like furniture, toys, jewellery, and clothing, to services such as fitness for seniors and the Swiss Red Cross, to cultural exhibitions on sport, music, and exotic destinations, the Muba 2012 (Mustermesse Basel) is on this month, 13 to 22 April at the Messeplatz Basel. 
 

What Is It?

A trade fair open to everyone, the Muba is an invitation to experience all that Basel is and does, within its national borders and beyond. Virtually every store and organization in the city participates. With around 800 shops and numerous exhibitions and showcases, no matter what your passion, you’re sure to find it here. You can purchase a new dining set, watch a fashion show or cooking show, see ‘Landart’ artists create sculptures out of wood, iron, and stone, get a free spring check-up at the Swiss Red Cross health clinic, cheer for Europe’s top electricians as they compete in the European Championships, meet Mister and Miss Nordwestschweiz, take in a few rides at the Lunapark—the list is endless. Here you’ll see the best of the best…and maybe some things you may have never even heard of before.

But it isn’t just about shopping or consumerism—culture, education, and awareness come to the forefront of the fair. Just one example is the ‘Behindertenforum’, where different organizations for disabilities provide video presentations, lessons in sign language, and other opportunities to understand the challenges faced every day by those with disabilities and how they overcome them.

The churches of Basel are coming together with a ‘mubakirchgarten’ at the ‘Älter werden – aktiv bleiben’ display (Stand B22) to give visitors a many-sided look at the Evangelical Reformed, Roman Catholic and Christ Catholic churches in the city. Guests can join in on daily topics such as ‘Faith, Love, and Hope’ and ‘Spirituality and Culture,’ as well as a variety of music, including children’s choir and Gospel choir, and a special Sunday service on 22 April, 10.00 at the Muba Rundhof.

Beyond the Borders

Every year the Muba also features a ‘Gastland,’ and East meets West as this year’s guest is ‘India: an experience for all the senses.’ Travellers to the ‘guest land’ can explore India’s diverse and colourful heritage through music and dance, cuisine, handmade goods, tourism, and much more.

You’ll also find this year’s ‘Gaststadt’ or ‘Guest city’—Zürich. And if you’ve been in Basel very long, you’ll know that more separates Basel and Zürich than a one-hour train ride. Embracing the long-standing rivalry between the two cities, poets from Basel and Zürich will perform daily for the ‘Poetry Slam,’ touching on what makes these two towns so different…or alike. But which city comes out on top? Maybe the bet is most conclusively settled at the Water Bar, where you can sample drinking water from both places and decide for yourself which tastes best!

More highlights this year include autograph signing by team members of FC Basel (plus a live broadcast of FC Basel vs. FC Sion), an exhibit to celebrate the 70th birthday of legendary footballer Karl Odermatt, and the twoo bicycle expo.

What About Tickets?

Tickets are affordable, ranging from free for students to CHF 32.– for a MubaCard lasting the whole ten days. They are available at the event, and some such as the Tageskarte (Day Card) are available online. You can find out more about pricing here at www.muba.ch/de-CH/FuerBesucher/AllgemeineInfos/Eintrittspreise.aspx. Also, if you bought a ‘Blaggedde’ for Fasnacht this year, you can bring it to to the first day of the fair (13 April) and show it at the Box Office for a free Tageskarte. No Blaggedde? You can also gain free entrance on opening day if you bring a Ragusa chocolate bar.

Don’t forget to stop by the website for more info, or find them on Facebook, where you can enter a Muba Wettbewerb (sweepstakes). And in true Swiss style, stay up to date via iPhone with the Muba App: the latest on exhibitions, products and featured events, an exhibitor and product search, restaurant list, discount offers, chat function, schedule of daily activities, news feed, and more.

Starting Friday, you can expect the city and the trams to be packed! Why not jump on the number 2 or 6 to Messeplatz and see what it’s all about?

If the World Watch and Jewellery Show were a dessert, it would probably be Mr. Weininger’s record-setting bejeweled chocolate pudding. And with its two-carat diamond and glittering gold leaves, it could easily be one of this year’s creations at Basel’s famed Messeplatz March 8-15. It is the top show of its kind in the world, highlighting the finest and the latest in luxury watches, jewels, and precious stones. Officially named BaselWorld since 2003, the eight-day showcase now draws almost 1900 exhibitors from 45 countries and a minimum of 100,000 visitors from 100 countries.

Only the best international designers come to BaselWorld, everyone from Patek Philippe, Gucci, Breitling, Rolex, Tissot, Casio, Citizen, Omega, Chanel, Tiffany & Co., and Longines, among others. And for many of these exhibitors, it is the only trade show they will attend. They come to network, to share their creativity, to unveil new designs and set trends. This is a crucial event for the industry, and not only for exhibitors. It’s also where the world’s best sellers shop, relying on buyers for retail dynasties such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Hamilton Jewelers, London Jewelers, and countless more.

But the show isn’t just about showcasing — it’s also social. After hours, the city opens up BaselWorld Village at Binningerstrasse, with restaurants, bars, and a variety of networking opportunities. It’s a place where anyone can mingle, kick back after the show, and make new acquaintances.

So could such an exclusive show be open to the public? In Basel, the answer is yes. In fact BaselWorld has guest care down to a science, developing an entire service just for visitors. They offer accommodation on Basel’s select hotel ships, berthed specifically for the event and complete with a shuttle service to Messeplatz; a Business Centre with internet access, as well as a Media Centre; a BaselWorld shop with a book store, Catalog Centre, and travel agency; and more. There is even a comprehensive BASELWORLD App available on their website where you can download a 3D map of the exhibition center, information on exhibitors and wares, and snippets from their BASELWORLD Daily News.

Tickets

Tickets are available on BaselWorld’s website through an easy-to-use online ticket booth. You can download a pass all the way up to the last day of the show. Spend one day or attend all eight days.
For Visitors — Price and Tickets
One-day pass: CHF 60.-
Full show (eight-day) pass: CHF 150.-
Group passes for schoolchildren and students only are also available.

How to Get There

Basel’s ideal central location in Europe makes it a very easy-to-reach destination. It is accessible by its international airport, multiple railway stations, its unbeatable public transportation system, and by car. You can find out more from these websites:

Airport

Basel International Airport

Railways

SBB, Swiss Railway Station
SNCF, French Railway Station
DB, German Railway Station

Public Transportation

BVB, Basel Public Transportation

BaselWorld – Outside View // © BaselWorld.com
BaselWorld – Outside View // © BaselWorld.com

While at BaselWorld, you may notice parts of the exhibition hall being rebuilt — signs that building plans for expansion are right on track. The finished structure is expected to be completed by 2013 and will hold more floors, a new event hall, and a ‘City Lounge.’ Here you can see a video clip of what’s being developed: baselworld.com/en-US/The-Show/BASELWORLD-2013.aspx.

No matter where in the world they come from, BaselWorld always brings together a variety of people from all cultures who share a common interest in all that ticks, tocks, sparkles, and shines. It’s cultural, it’s social, it’s fashion, it’s business. And whether you’re in the industry or out, maybe a good deal of it is just plain fun.

Photo credit: By Baselworld

Romance, elegance, and a table set for two–whether this is your first, fifth, or fiftieth Valentine’s Day in Basel, thriving in the breath-taking romance of historic castles and cobblestones are a variety of places to celebrate life and love. Here are just a few ideas of what you can do this February 14.

Chocolate Love

Nothing says love like Swiss chocolate! In Basel you’ll find the best Switzerland has to offer, with bakeries, patisseries, and confiseries of all kinds: Lindt-Sprüngli, Bachmann, Merkur, Schiesser. These are the ‘jewelers’ of chocolatiering, crafting each truffle a gem and every treat a treasure. Confiserie Schiesser in Markplatz sells row upon row of chocolates, ranging from homemade champagne truffles, to Patoro Truffes, Pralinés, chocolate figures, and more.

Merkur Chocolaterie next door displays a wide variety of chocolate bark with dried fruits and nuts as well as traditional truffles and chocolates in all shapes and sizes—white, milk, dark, striped, dipped in chocolate or rolled in cocoa. Konditorei Rieder on Allschwilerstrasse is famous for its original Whisky-Truffes, as well as their Champagner- and Kirsch-Truffes. And all over the city, at any Coop or Migros, you can find melt-in-your-mouth Lindt truffles, Valentine’s Day specials, and of course chocolate hearts.

Reservation for Two

Lady and the Tramp // © Disney // Valentine's Day
Lady and the Tramp // © Disney // Valentine’s Day

If you want to go all out, the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois overlooking the Rhein River is one of the oldest city hotels in Europe and a beautiful tribute to Basel’s rich history, with origins dating back to 1681. Boasting a guest list that spans centuries and all avenues of culture and the arts, the hotel has served royalty, dignitaries, leaders, and artists including Monaco’s Prince Rainier, Queen Elisabeth II, the Dalai Lama, Charles Dickens, Pablo Picasso, Franz Liszt, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones.

This Valentine’s Day Les Trois Rois is hosting a deluxe five-course dinner for CHF 135.- per person, where you can savor the evening amidst chandeliers and candlelight. The hotel comprises 101 rooms and suites, reminiscent of the ‘Tales from 101 Nights,’ each with its own unique decor and ambience. A double room at the hotel can cost upwards of CHF 660.-, including breakfast, minibar service, and free use of the city’s public transportation. On a clear day, if the weather isn’t too cold, a cozy tram ride through the ins and outs of the city, taking breaks for a stroll by the Rhein or through the park, can become an extraordinary Valentine’s adventure.

Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois
Blumenrain 8
CH-4001 Basel
Tel. +41 61 260 50 50
www.lestroisrois.com/Restaurants

Dinner at the Castle

Another romantic hideaway is the Schloss Bottmingen outside the city in Baselland—a charming ‘Wasserburg’ or Water Castle with roots in the 1300s, where a beautiful wooden bridge leads the way across a small pond to the front entrance. The castle’s restaurant began in the late 1800s and still stands today as a monument to yesterday’s heritage and today’s all-star dining. Specializing in French cuisine, the restaurant is also a popular spot for weddings with it’s beautiful gardens and terrace in the summer.

Their unique winter menu for CHF 125.- includes a duo of salmon, marinated and tartare with lime sauce and a winter bouquet; grilled prawns and scallops on a bed of pearl barley risotto perfumed au curry; and an iced cinnamon cube with apple turnover for dessert. You can download the complete menu from their website.

Restaurant Schloss Bottmingen
Schlossgasse 9
4103 Bottmingen bei Basel
+41 (0)61 421 15 15
www.weiherschloss.ch/
Directions from city centre: www.bvb.ch/en/timetable-network/online-timetable

Basel has plenty more special locales for every occasion. You can check out some of our favorite restaurants for Valentine’s Day and any time of year in our Dining Section.

But of all the options and things to do in Basel, maybe one of the best-loved is dinner at…home.

A nice homemade fondue with fresh bread from any Basel bakery is hard to beat. You can choose a specialty mix of fondue cheeses from the fromageries located in grocery sections of Globus and Manor, or something simpler in any supermarket, like Migros and Coop. They all offer tons of choices and cuisines for even the most hard to please. Many department stores also have an in-house florist for your pick of expert bouquets and arrangements.

What’s not to love? A very select table for two, far away from the madding crowds. Turn down the lights, but light the candles, with scattered rose petals or a bright bouquet in the center of the table. Bubbly or wine, your choice. Top it off with a warm chocolate fondue—some strawberries and cream, biscuits, candied ginger, dried apricots, fresh apple or orange slices—don’t forget your favorite music…and the food of love plays on

No one can forget a Christmas in Basel. From the brilliant Christmas market to the lights and treats of specialty boutiques and chocolate shops, the city itself becomes a sparkling ornament to adorn the year’s brightest season. It’s all your favorite holiday traditions, new and old, in one of Europe’s most picturesque Christmas destinations.

A Sparkling Christmas Market

The Basler Weihnachtsmarkt is the largest Christmas market in Switzerland, and the city boasts the longest illuminated Christmas street in Europe. This year the market runs from 24 November to 23 December at Barfüsserplatz (the city’s famous centre), Claraplatz in Kleinbasel, and for the first time at Münsterplatz in front of the historic cathedral. It’s a kaleidoscope of colors, flavors, and crisp holiday scents, offering something spectacular to look forward to every day of the week: a Robi-Spiel-Aktionen playground for children, around 170 stalls displaying the finest artisan wares and crafts, and of course holiday pick-me-ups like Glühwein (spiced mulled wine), Christmas cookies, and famous fondue.

A celebration both inside and out, day and night, rain or shine, just walk down any street in the city centre to find yet another hub of activity with its own unique stalls and atmosphere. The Münsterplatz this year will be home to a gorgeous Christmas tree decorated by Johann Wanner of Basel’s famous Johann Wanner Christmas House. It is the largest manufacturer of handmade Christmas decorations in the world, serving customers such as the Queen of England and the White House. Wanner keeps the Christmas cheer going year-round at his magical shop on Spalenberg.

Shopping

Christmas shopping? You won’t have to wonder what to buy for anyone on your list. Whether you’re looking for something specific or just need a little inspiration, there are stalls for everything you can imagine: handmade jewelry, luxury soaps, handcrafted toys, colorful scarves and sweaters, candles, glassware, and much, much more. You can even pick up your own tree to trim at home from the tree lot at Münsterplatz.

Christmas Treats

And then there’s the cuisine. All that you find at the Basler Weihnachtsmarkt is gourmet. Visitors look forward each year to sweet Magenbrot and gebrannte Mandeln (roasted almonds) from outstanding local bakeries like Jonasch. Then there are fresh hot waffles and crêpes with a variety of fillings like hazelnutty Nutella, or cozy options like Bailey’s Irish Cream or Cognac; bite-sized Danish popovers and chocolate-covered fruits; spicy frosted gingerbread unlike any other; and a unique Swiss specialty called Biber filled with marzipan. Many stands also offer all kinds of traditional Swiss Christmas cookies: chocolate Brünsli and cinnamony Zimtsterne, for starters. After tasting these, you’ll want to make them part of your holiday baking tradition every year.

The Weihnachtsmarkt is a fail-proof dinner option too: you can dine on sausages and fresh local bread, a chäschëchli (cheese quiche), traditional Swiss fondue, or Raclette, another seasonal favorite of potatoes smothered with melted cheese and topped with a special mix of seasonings. For a lighter snack, try fried Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancackes with applesauce) or a variety of soft pretzels.

Keeping Warm with Christmas Fun

If you get cold browsing the stalls at Barfüsserplatz, you can stop to warm your hands around a cup of Glühwein, and your hearts around an old-fashioned puppet show at the Basel Puppet Theatre. They have entertainment for children in the afternoons and evening performances for adults. And there’s plenty more to do in Basel this winter to keep warm while you soak up the season: a Basel City Run, Samichlaus Tag (Santa Claus Day), Santa Clauses on motorcycles, and guided tours through the city. Step inside the foyer of Basel Theatre for their 3D ‘advent calendar,’ where each evening from 1 to 23 December visitors can enjoy a poetic or musical surprise. Do you have a special Christmas wish? Write it in the Basel Wish Book at City Hall, open from the beginning of Advent to the 12th day of Christmas.

The city’s tourism website hosts a comprehensive page devoted to Christmas in Basel, with a special pop-up online brochure about the Weihnachtsmarkt and all its trimmings. The tourism center also offers a Christmas package with the hotel of your choice, breakfast, a gift certificate for the Johann Wanner Christmas House, a complimentary cup of Glühwein, and more.

Home for the Holidays

From the city’s official lighting at dusk on 24 November, to the last day of the market on the eve of Christmas eve and all throughout the 12 Days of Extraordinary Christmas, a holiday season in Basel will always hang above your memory like a favourite photo above the hearth. Whether you’re passing through, relocating, or celebrating yet another year in beautiful Switzerland, let Basel be your home for the holidays.