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 // Flickr.com
Waggi Confetti ©nicestalan // Flickr.com

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 www.fasnachts-comite.ch or Basel Tourism.

Photo Credit: Noel Reynolds

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 Freestyle.ch, 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: http://www.cantina-doncamillo.ch – 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 www.Gee-Jay.com

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!

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 Baselworld.com 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

Already spring has begun, and the city is brimming with new life. Grey skies or blue, it’s something you can sense—from walking through the forests of Allschwil, to the new songs the birds sing in the city, or the way the Tinguely fountains seem to have wakened from a long winter just in time to stretch out their arms and catch the sun.

And with this spring comes an early Easter, and the promise of restoration that it brings. As the church bells ring this Sunday morning, you’ll find yourself waking to a brand new celebration. And don’t forget: Daylight saving time begins Easter morning!

Here’s a quick sketch of what a typical Swiss Easter might look like…

Easter Surprises

It’s traditional in Switzerland to attend church in the morning, followed by brunch or dinner and a family celebration. A typical Easter menu could include lamb with potatoes; pastetli, a meat pie with mushrooms and cream sauce; chicken in lemon thyme butter; fish with couscous and yogurt sauce; pork, or rabbit.

Most children—and adults—also look forward every year to an Easter egg hunt. Eggs are usually painted the day before, and then in the morning are hidden outside in the park or garden, in the house, even inside boots and shoes! It’s uncommon to use plastic eggs, as Switzerland in general likes to keep things eco-friendly.

And don’t forget the Easter Bunny! Many children wake up on Easter morning to a magical nest or Easter basket filled with a chocolate bunny and eggs.

Chocolate bunniesUnforgettable Edibles

Basel whips up plenty of specialties just for Easter. Here’s a quick guide to a few of the seasonal favourites:

Biskuithässli and Biskuitlämmli: Bunny-shaped and lamb-shaped almond cookies with a delicate lemon flavour. Available in chocolate too.

Ostertauben: Pastry “doves” with candied fruit, hazelnuts, and almonds.

Osterfladen or Osterflädeli: A cross between a custard tart and a cake, often filled with rice pudding, speckled with raisins, and topped with frosting or powdered sugar. It can range from a very simple custard-like filling, to something more ornate with several layers of jam, cream, and nuts. Here’s a recipe via the Swiss Club of New South Wales. You can also learn how to make a breadier version on YouTube, thanks to @cakeclassics from Germany.

Praline Eier: Oversized candy eggs with a hard praline shell, filled with chocolates and decorated with piped frosting. Each boxed individually, these gourmet and somewhat costly praline eggs are given to close family and friends…a gift that tells a loved one just how very much they mean to you!

And everyone knows, Switzerland is the place to be for chocolate. Walk into any confiserie or bakery and you’ll be overwhelmed by all the choices—chocolate bunnies, candy eggs, marzipan carrots. Migros and Coop sell plenty favourites as well, from Lindt to Cailler, to Milka and beyond!

(S)Hop Around

Easter and spring go perfectly hand in hand, bringing new life to the city that you can feel as you walk from shop to shop and from city square to city square. You’ll find extra special treats, flowers, and fashions in every shop, and in the open markets of Marktplatz and Barfüsserplatz. But don’t forget that shops keep different hours for the holidays: you may need to check opening times for Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday, but in a pinch you can find almost everything you need at the SBB train station shopping center.

Easter Extras

A fun event you might want to catch this year is The 16th International Tango Festival OsterTango 2015! It will take place from 2 to 6 April, 2015 Hosted by the Basel Tango School, the event brings everyone together for a colourful weekend of music and dance, with a Tango Concert and Show, After Hours Tango, a special film presentation, DJs, and more. Don’t forget to stop by their website for tickets and more information.

There’s always something going on in Basel, and Easter brings much to do outside the ordinary. But of all it offers, maybe the best is opportunity—opportunity to be with family and friends, to relax, to party, to hike and bike, walk in the city or wander through the forest. You’re limited only by your creativity…and sometimes the weather!

What are you doing today to prepare for Easter? Are you colouring eggs with family and friends? Doing some last minute shopping for chocolate bunnies and flowers, or just relaxing at home? We’d love to hear how you’re celebrating this year!

Happy Easter from Basel Community!Frohe Ostern

Looking for something to do to celebrate 2015 in Basel? Here are a few of our picks around the city!

If you’d like to celebrate with a crowd, downtown has its annual festivities, which start at 23:00 hrs with Glühwein served until 01:00 and fireworks at half past midnight.

At the Münsterplatz, enjoy a lively brass band performing from the towers, starting at 23:30. And for the official ringing in, the large bell at the Münster’s Martinsturm (St. Martin’s Tower) rings out the old year from 23:45 to 23:55, until midnight, when all the church bells of the city playfully welcome the new year together. There is also a special worship service at the Münster from 00:15 to 00:30 hrs.

Plan public transport in advance by visiting the official BVB website: http://www.bvb.ch/en/timetable-network/online-timetable.

Happy New Year from Basel Community!

What kind of person are you: Ice cream or gelato? Frozen yoghurt or sorbet?

When the day is warm and the winter ice has melted away, when the Rhein is full of swimmers and the air is full of music, all that’s really missing is the perfect bite of something sweet. Ice cream, gelato, sorbet, yoghurt…in fancy cups or cones to go, ice cream in Basel is as much an art as summer itself.


Mövenpick (‘The Art of Swiss Ice Cream’) has long been famous for its ice cream innovations, all made with real Swiss cream. With new flavours practically every season, from berry sorbets in the summer to cinnamon swirl and Basler Läckerli in the winter, ice cream with Mövenpick is a year-round specialty. This year’s newest Summer Limited Edition is ‘Sour Cherry & Cream.’

Photo by Mövenpick
The Mövenpick restaurant in Basel, right at Markplatz, has a whole menu devoted to ice cream (Glace), with a variety of signature sundaes (Coupes). The Black Forest, the Coupe Denmark, the Honeymoon — all are beautifully presented with fresh fruit, thick whipped cream, chocolate or raspberry sauce, and their signature almond-brûlée cookies.

If you’re feeling brave, try the Tête-a-Tête, a meal in itself for two (or four!) with 6 scoops of ice cream topped with fruit and cream. It’s always fun to sit outside at their sidewalk café during the summer and watch the bustle of Markplatz, but the restaurant also has a stand outside with cones to go, for your walk by the Rhein.

Most agree that ice cream here is slightly on the expensive side, but sumptuously worth it! You can see a full list of what Mövenpick offers on their website, moevenpick-icecream.com. Unfortunately not all flavours are always available at the restaurant, but you might be able to find them at Coop.

Confiserie Schiesser

A long-established sweet shop in the center of Basel, right next door to Mövenpick, Confiserie Schiesser goes beyond truffles and marzipan to finger sandwiches and ice cream sundaes. Climb up the winding wooden staircase to their charming old-world tea room overlooking Marktplatz, or order downstairs at the sidewalk café. You can see the latest summer creations on their official Facebook page.

One of their best-loved specialties is the Mocha Eiscafé — rich coffee ice cream with cold coffee, vanilla, and cream fashioned after a prized recipe from 1870. On the way out, don’t forget to check downstairs in the shop for single-flavor ice cream cups to take home.

Confiserie Sprüngli

Confiserie Sprüngli, known for their one-of-a-kind Luxembergerli (bite-sized macaroons), is another confiserie that has made its mark with its own brand of unique homemade ice cream. Amid the chocolates, truffles, and pastries, you’ll find the ice cream smooth and the flavours intense. Basel has two Sprüngli locations: one on Güterstrasse, and the other on Steinenberg. The chocolate ice cream, of course, is a favourite.

Acero Basel

Cross the bridge to Kleinbasel to check out Eiscafé Acero, a gelateria at Rheingasse. With fruit sorbets, ice cream staples like chocolate and coconut, and some specials like maple syrup, the ice cream at Acero Basel is fresh and homemade with new flavors all the time. As a café, Acero also serves muffins, quiches, panini, and a wide selection of coffees, teas, and cold drinks. Usually selling waffles as well, with the start of the summer they have initiated something brand new — sweet, icy Almond Granitas, after a traditional Sicilian recipe.

10′ Dieci Gelateria Basel

Right on the Steinenvorstadt, across from the Kino Pathé,

10 Dieci
Photo by Dieci
is more of a fixed ice cream stand than a café. They have a good assortment of gelati that changes frequently and sells out quickly during these summer months. One of the best parts of ordering gelato is that you buy it by the cup size, not the scoop — meaning that the bigger the cup you buy, the more flavours you can order. It’s ideal for those of us who want to try them all (which, let’s face it, is all of us)! And if you think you may have seen a Dieci pizza courier driving around town at some point…you have. It’s part of the Dieci empire of pizza delivery, restaurants, and gelaterias all over Switzerland.

It’s impossible to list all the places to find good ice cream in Basel. Throughout the city you’ll come across lots of independent gelato carts, and there are many restaurants by the Rhein that have their own ice cream menus. But wherever you look, you’re sure to find just the right something sweet.

Tell us! What kind of person are you?

Looking for a fun way to ring in the New Year in Basel? Called ‘Silvester’ in Switzerland, there are plenty of events and places to celebrate: bars, restaurants, clubs…and, of course, private parties!

But if you find everything booked out, are looking for some company, or just want to try something new this year, you could join the many by the Rhein for Basel’s official public New Year’s Bash and watch the region’s most spectacular New Year’s fireworks display.

The festivities begin at 23:00 hrs with free ‘Glühwein’ served until 01:00 at two locations: Café Spitz (Mittlere Brücke in Kleinbasel) and Cargo Bar (Johanniterbrücke). Fireworks start at 00:30 hrs.

For another authentic Basel celebration, bring your family and friends (and your favorite bubbly!) to Münsterplatz. The Münster (Cathedral) has its own tradition beginning at 23:30 when you can hear a lively brass ensemble perform from the towers. Standing and listening to the trumpets, you’ll be transported back to medieval times!

And then there’s the big moment — the official ‘ringing in’. The large bell at the Münster’s Martinsturm (St. Martin’s Tower) rings out the old year from 23:45 to 23:55. At 00:00, the city sounds off as all the church bells in Basel ring together in playful New Year’s mayhem.

For those interested in ringing in the new year in a very special way, there is a worship service at the Münster from 00:15 to 00:30 hrs.

If you’re planning on using Basel’s fantastic public transportation system, you can find out when the last tram leaves for your destination at the official BVB website: http://www.bvb.ch/en/timetable-network/online-timetable.

Note to New Year’s Party-goers: Please remember there are pickpockets around, and many who want to take advantage of happy tourists!

It may be the time of year for making resolutions or revising old ones, for remembering the past or looking ahead to the future. But most of all, it’s a time to celebrate!

Have a safe and very happy New Year!

It’s summer in Basel again—those long hours of daylight, holidays, spending time catching up with friends, and enjoying the weather, whether rain or shine!

One of the many fun ways in downtown Basel to pass the evening with friends is relaxing by the beautiful Rhein river, and from 28 June till 1 September, you can do that at Chill am Rhy—”Chill by the Rhein”—from 5pm until 1am. With two bars set up on either end of the Basler Rheinufer in the area just underneath the Münster, Chill am Rhy offers cold beer, a selection of cocktails and wines, and a choice of gourmet pasta dishes.

The area is set up with an assortment of colourful chairs and benches; lanterns and white canopies; and purple, blue, red, and green lights which reflect on the water and light up the area for everyone to see.

If you haven’t stopped by, make sure to plan a night out with friends before the season ends.

For more information, visit: www.chillamrhy.ch.

Dear Heidi,

How do you make Mehlsuppe? I hear you’re supposed to eat it for Morgestraich.


Dear Rose,

I don’t ever make Mehlsuppe — I can’t stand Mehlsuppe! But I can tell you how to make it, and it’s very popular for our Fasnacht festival. You can buy packets in all the grocery shops, like Coop and Migros; then just add water and when it boils, let it cook for about seven minutes. Add onions and cheese, like Gruyère or Appenzeller.

Or if you want make it from scratch, I found some links for you:

European Cuisines

En guete!

Photo credit: Betty Bossi