Dear Heidi,

Is it true that you have to be careful of pickpockets in Basel? It seems such a safe city!


Dear Beth,


Yes, Basel is a generally a very safe city. Unfortunately, pickpocketing has increased, especially during the many Messes (fairs) it hosts throughout the year. Herbstmesse, Weihnachtsmarkt, Fasnacht, and BaselWorld are perfect examples!

If you’re in a crowd, hold on to your purse. Carry long-strapped handbags across your chest. Smaller sized handbags that you can clutch under your arm are safer. Go for something that can be zipped shut — open purses are open invitations.

Wallets are easy to pick from your back pockets. Try keeping them in your front pocket. A rubber band tied around the wallet makes it more difficult to slide out. In a public place, don’t place your jacket on a clothes hook or around a chair without first taking out your wallet! It’s better not to take all your valuables and money with you. If possible, leave them in a safe at your hotel. If not, don’t keep all your money in the same place.

Watch out for pickpockets on crowded streets, restaurants, public transport, and train stations. Remember what your Mutti told you. Don’t talk to ‘needy’ strangers!

Above all, be alert! Know where you are going and what’s going on around you. Distracted or clueless people (especially those reading out of maps!) are easily spotted and make nice, easy targets. If you feel unsure about anything, go with your instincts. It’s better to be safe than polite!

Be careful, but don’t forget to have fun!


Updated October 2019

Basel, city on the Rhine // © FestiveSearch //
Basel, city on the Rhine // © FestiveSearch //

What: Official Basler Rheinschwimmen 2012
When: August
Where: Starts at Schaffhauserrrheinweg 93 and ends at Höhe Leuengasse/Johanniterbrücke.

Thousands of swimmers gather from around the city to join in an annual fun-filled float along the Rhein River. A much loved tradition, you can expect to find the Rhein teeming with buoys, swimmers, and balloons as everyone celebrates another summer cruising past river banks and under bridges, seeing Basel in a completely new way.

A few things you may need: a “Schwimmsack” or swim bag, where you can keep dry clothes to change into after your swim (it also doubles as a float—available at MMM Claramarkt and MParc Dreispitz) and some good swim shoes. As always, be cautious—watch out for bridge piles and strong currents. And bring your friends! You know what they say…never go swimming alone.

Photo credit: RTEMagic

Basel Community wants to find out more about the people living around us. Here’s a great interview with our guest!

BC: Welcome Gee-Jay!
GJ: First of all, there seems to be a bit of a mix-up. Although my name is Gee-Jay, that doesn’t automatically make me a DJ 🙂 Gee-Jay actually comes from my initials: Gabriel Jenny, Jenny being my last name / family name. I officially have the second first name Gee-Jay in my official documents. So it’s Gabriel Gee-Jay Jenny.

Still, sometimes I’m in the limelight but that’s mostly for my hosting. I used to be a Radio- and TV-Host for a couple of years on several different TV and Radio stations. I still host events now and then. The most recent one was TEDx Basel.

BC: How do you prepare for a gig?
GJ: I’ll now answer to the questions as an MC, not as a DJ. When I’m preparing to host a show or an event, I make sure to know what I’m talking about. Nothing is worse than an MC that has no clue what he’s talking about. I make sure I know how all the names are being pronounced correctly.

BC: What’s your favourite type of music to listen to when you don’t have a gig?
GJ: I listen to all kinds of music from classical to drum ‘n’ bass, from country to pop—whatever fits the mood.

BC: Who are your top artists?
GJ: When I was a teenager or even younger, my heroes were bands like KISS and ACDC because of the incredible stage shows. Not that I’ve been to any of the concerts, but I have seen pictures in the BRAVO and POPROCKY magazines. I now like artistS like Jay-Kay from Jamiroquai, Müslüm (a Swiss artist), Lil’ Dicky just to mention a few.

BC: Which are the most in-demand songs that people ask you to play?
GJ: As a host on the radio, we always got a very mixed range of requests, nothing that stood out.

BC: And which song are you tired of hearing?
GJ: Any song that gets too much airplay eventually gets a bit boring or annoying.

BC: Do you play an instrument? If yes, which one? If no, which instrument do you wish you could play?
GJ: I learned to play the drums. I also took piano and singing lessons. I’m not playing any instrument at the moment though.

BC: What’s the most fun gig you’ve had?
GJ: As a host, my highlights were the, events that took place on Landiwiese in Zurich with thousands and thousands of people coming together to see the Skateboarding professionals on the halfpipe.

BC: When are you completely satisfied with your work?
GJ: If everything runs smoothly and the people in the crowd but also the makers of the events are happy.

BC: What should women know about Swiss men?
GJ: That they’re no different to the men outside of Switzerland.

BC: Which would you prefer: a night on the town or a staying at home with that someone special?
GJ: 90% staying at home, 10% going out—my home is my castle!

BC: Which restaurant in Basel would you recommend for a romantic dinner?
GJ: Although I haven’t been there yet: – that’s where I want to go next because you can enjoy a vegan lunch or dinner there. Peace-Food rules! #GoVegan 😉

BC: What was the most important day of your life?
GJ: The day that I was born J ;), and I try to give every day the chance to become the best day of my life.

BC: If anyone would like to be in contact with you for a show, what’s the best way to reach you?
GJ: Via my website

My wife Dorothy and I met during the summer of 2002 while she was visiting Washington state with her brother. I was introduced to her via my co-worker who had been friends with her family for many years. My co-worker and I worked for the Navy as civilians.

After her visit to the U.S., we kept in touch via emails and phone calls. I then visited her in Basel that Christmas for several weeks. It was great spend time there and meet her family and friends. She took me all over Basel, and we visited lots of other places in Switzerland. It is just a beautiful country!! As our feelings grew stronger for each other, it was getting harder to say good bye after each visit. Dorothy then visited me again three months later in Washington, and then we decided to get married.

basel-love-2We were married in a small ceremony near the Munster on 24 June 2003. My parents and brother were able to attend and all of her family and friends were in attendance. After the ceremony, Dorothy organized a wonderful lunch in a beautiful garden. Later that evening, her sister hosted a beautiful dinner at her house. It was just the perfect day!


We now live in the Puget Sound area of Washington state. We have 2 beautiful dogs (Cosmo and Matilda) as well as two horses (Avatar and Rafiki). Dorothy loves her horses and likes to do jumping and dressage shows. I prefer bikes and love to ride whenever I can.basel-love

Life is definitely good!


How did you find love in Basel? If you have a story to share, please let us know!

© Kozzi
Mums work hard to make life better. For their families, their friends and colleagues, for all of us. Through good times and bad, and all the times in between, they’re always there for us — the sleepless nights and long days, the school plays, the constant encouragement and home-cooked meals, the love and bandages for bruises and broken hearts. Words are never enough, Mum, to say thank you for all that you are and do. And on Mother’s Day, it’s all about you.

If you’re lucky enough to celebrate with your mum in Basel, here are a few ideas of what you can do to show her how much she means to you…

Nothing says “I love you” like an all-out Sunday Brunch! There are a few places in Basel that offer just that:

The Hotel Les Trois Rois, famed for its delectable (but pricey) high teas and Sunday brunches, is hosting a special Mother’s Day Brunch this year from noon to 15:00. You’ll make your mother feel like royalty for a day in this lush setting by the Rhein River. Stop by the website for details and to make a reservation: Les Trois Rois.

ZicZac. Known for its laid back “rock ‘n’ roll” atmosphere, live music, and parties, ZicZac in Allschwil is another popular Sunday brunch destination. You’ll find a variety of 99 specialties of all kinds spread across long tables — fresh fruit and juices, breads and cheeses, pastries and puddings. It’s more affordable than Les Trois Rois, and easy to get to by Tram 6 or Bus 36/34– right on the corner at the stop “Morgartenring.”

Restaurant Löwenzorn in old town Basel is a unique and well-loved restaurant for all occasions, traditional in decor and contemporary in cuisine. With some of its buildings going back to the 1300s, you’ll be stepping into the romance of another generation. Dine inside or out, in their picturesque courtyard.

Muttertags Matinee

If you opt for an early Sunday breakfast, you’ll be able to catch a Sunday matinee — the “Muttertagskonzert” at the Stadtcasino Basel, where the Zurich Chamber Orchestra is performing masterpieces from Mozart and Haydn. Click here for details and tickets.

Wherever you are, the most important thing is being together — to slow down for a little while and take a break from the busyness of life to celebrate the things that really matter, the people who really matter.

“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” ~Robert Browning

Happy Mother’s Day!

With the summer officially drawing to a close, it’s a cool time of year to be ACTIVE! This week, Basel kicks off the Basel-Dreiland Mobilitätswoche (Mobility Week), dedicated to just about everything on wheels. From the Basel-Dreiland slowUP on 16 September, to the start of the Manor Run to the Beat Basel Marathon on 23 September, it’s an all-out celebration of mobility in the modern world.

Car-less and Care-free

slowUPLeave your car at home and grab your bike, inline skates, or favourite walking shoes for the slowUP Basel-Dreiland (click here for info in English:, a fantastically fun 60-kilometre course that runs through Basel, Northwest Switzerland, Alsace, and Southern Baden—three lands in one day. It’s also conveniently divided into three separate legs of 20 kilometres each, so participants can customise their own courses. Festival areas and local restaurants and clubs along the way provide refreshment and a place to catch up with friends and meet some new ones too!


And that’s just Day One. Each day of Mobitätswoche brings something unique, exploring forms of transportation both old and new—the WAVE (World Advanced Vehicle Expedition) electric vehicle rally from Italy to Holland that passes right through Basel, a night ride on E-Bikes, Monday Skate Night, the one-of-a-kind StreetStepper tour, panoramic tours of Basel on Tram Lines 15/16, special walking routes for pedestrians, and more…you can even try out the Vaxi (Velo + Taxi), a fully-functioning three-wheeler that will take you anywhere you want to go in the city. Curious? So are we! Get the full list of events and times here:

Run to the Beat

Run to the BeatAnd when Mobility Week ends, the Marathon begins. Marking its 3rd year this Sunday, 23 September, the Manor Run to the Beat Basel is a city-wide marathon based on proven studies that runners perform better to music. Live bands are set up at different key points along the course, and each year a special guest performs a blockbuster concert the night before. Following in the footsteps of Swiss superstars Myron, who took the stage last year, 2007 MusicStar winner Fabienne Louves will be performing a free concert this year at Barfüsserplatz on Saturday, 22 September.

Want a preview of the marathon beats? You can download the official Run to the Beat song here:—or order the Run to the Beat Album online:

Don’t miss this entire week of fun in the great outdoors! What better way to ring in the fall season? 

Here are a few things you might want to know about…

-SlowUP takes place from 10 to 17 hrs. Entrance is free for all ages and you can join whenever you wish along the route. 
-As you will be passing over different borders, don’t forget to bring your passport/ID! 
-You can download a map of the full course here:
-For those not participating, don’t forget some routes may be closed and tram schedules rearranged on the day of. You can find out more info on the BVB official website:

Manor Run to the Beat Basel Marathon
-Registration is still open online, and you can register Saturday and Sunday at the event for no added charge. 
-Fees for the marathon are based on how which course you choose—full marathon, half, Ekiden, or 1/6 Marathon. Click here for details:

Education. One of the most important (and often daunting!) decisions you can make, whether for yourself or your children. If you’re planning a move to Basel and are wondering about schooling, here are the most popular schools with expats to help you in your decision-making process.

International School Basel

Fleischbachstrasse 2
4153 Reinach BL
Tel: +41 61 715 33 33 (Main school)

Probably the most popular school among expats is the International School Basel.

Here’s what ISB says about itself:

ISB is an IB (International Baccalaureate) World School, offering all three education programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP) for our younger students, the Middle Years Programme (MYP) for students aged 11 to 16, and the Diploma Programme (DP) for our senior students in the final two years of their school careers. The IB programmes aim to support and develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who will actively participate in creating a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding. To this end the IB Organisation works with schools and other institutions from around the world to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes underpin our vision at ISB, and encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, should be valued equally as human beings. This is what we want for our young people.

Swiss International School

Erlenstrasse 15
4058 Basel
Tel: +41 61 683 71 40

Also an IB School, the Swiss International School is an option for parents looking to place their children in a bilingual (English and German) learning environment. The school states, “SIS is a unique alternative to state and classic international schools. The students experience a bilingual school education in which local culture is embedded but also a wider global perspective is achieved.”

SIS, Basel; Swiss International School… by astramedia

Academia International School

Schifflände 3
4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 260 20 20

Another bilingual school, AIS placement goes according to the student’s ability rather than age. For ages 4 to 13, they have two possibilities: a full-day programme, or part-time for Preschool and Primary School. Their goal is to supply the students with as many opportunities as possible to reach their potential.

Older students are also provided abundant opportunities to pursue and excel in subjects in which they are naturally gifted. AIS offers the British exam system—IGCSE, AS- and A-Level.

Their website says that Academia International School is designed for:

  • Students who wish to have internationally recognised qualifications that will enable them to go into further education or the workplace worldwide
  • Students who are gifted in certain subjects and wish to develop them according to their ability
  • Students who want clear recognition of their academic achievement in each subject which can reflect their real ability
  • Students who would benefit from extra time or extra input in some aspects of their education
  • Students who wish to integrate into a successful academic programme at any time of the academic year and at any level.


Black Forest Academy

Hammersteinerstrasse 50
Kandern, Germany
Tel: +49 (0)7626-91610

The world-famous Black Forest Academy is located in nearby Kandern, Germany. Although not as convenient as the local schools for expats, BFA provides another option for parents looking for a Christian learning environment for their children. The BFA is accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), the Council of International Schools (CIS), and the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association (MSA).

From their website:

Our mission is to provide a quality, international Christian education that equips students to influence their world. Since 1956, Black Forest Academy has been carrying out this mission, changing lives, and developing globally-minded students who are equipped for leadership.

Early Learning Association

Gartenstrasse 93
4052 Basel
Tel: +41 61 313 05 80

Many very happy parents highly recommend ELA, which currently operates from three schools at two locations in Basel.

Says their website, “The Early Learning Association has been working with children in Basel for nearly twenty years. With a focus on Education and Development, we are proud of the strong relationship we have built with the people of Basel. Based in Gartenstrasse, and nearby Malzgasse, ELA is at the heart of Basel, within easy reach of all the main employers. We draw our children from over thirty countries, 40% of our children being Swiss/German.

“ELA is unique in having a programme that extends from the baby years to the junior range. We presently operate a childcare centre with over 120 approved places from 3 months to 4 years and a primary school for children from 4 to 11 years that operates in English and German.”

Local Swiss Schools

If you are planning on a long stay in Basel, enrolling in the local Swiss schools are always an excellent choice. Many expats who have their children attending these schools are satisfied with the learning experience their children receive. Additionally, children learn the language quicker and are better able to integrate with others in their communities. Special classes are provided for students from other countries to help them learn German.

One of the cautions English-speakers offer is to be consistent about speaking English at home, and to ensure that your children are reading and writing English. This will help them maintain their English language skills and is a big help when visiting relatives back home. This way, you won’t have your parents or in-laws complaining that they don’t understand what their grandchildren are saying!

Homeschooling in Switzerland

Homeschooling is possible in Switzerland but varies from Canton to Canton. According to the HSLDA:

Homeschooling in Switzerland is legal in most cantons and is growing as a movement. Switzerland has 26 cantons (similar to states in the U.S.) and each canton has its own education law. Many cantons allow home education while some require a teaching certificate and others forbid home education. Home education requirements are implemented and enforced at the local level.

Whichever route you decide is best for you and your family, a first-rate education in Basel is just around the corner or down the street. So don’t forget to do your homework and check out some schools for yourself. You’re sure to find the right fit.

For more information, visit: For a full list of Basel’s schools (in German), visit: