Cultural Capital of Switzerland
Basel is nicknamed the “cultural capital of Switzerland“. The city lives and breathes culture, and promotes and celebrates the arts. Despite its small size, Basel has an exceptional cultural offering. Many of its institutions and events enjoy an international reputation.
A feast for the eyes …
The city’s almost forty museums display visual arts from antiquity to the present. The prestigious exhibitions hosted by Fondation Beyeler, the Kunstmuseum (Museum of Fine Art) and Antikenmuseum (Museum of Ancient Art) draw international attention. The quality of the exhibitions was also recognised by the respected art critics of London-based newspaper 'The Times' who nominated the Kunstmuseum Basel as the fifth best museum in the world in 2013. The Fondation Beyeler is also represented in the ranking at 35th place. But art is not limited to the indoors. On a stroll through the city, there is something to admire around every corner: “Intersection” by Richard Serra, Jean Tinguely’s “Carnival Fountain” and Bettina Eichin’s “Helvetia” are just a few of the many works of art to be discovered.
… and ears
When your eyes have had their fill, there still remains plenty to listen to. The internationally renowned symphony orchestra, the chamber orchestra and the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (an institute of the Musik-Akademie) account for Basel’s reputation as a centre for classical music. But lovers of jazz, rock or pop will also find something to suit their taste at the many concert venues.
“Aida”? “One of a Kind”? Or “The Wild Duck”? Theater Basel captivates the imagination with drama, opera and ballet. It is in fact the largest theatre in Switzerland that features all three genres. In 2009 and 2010, it was named “opera house of the year”.
Basel also has a thriving independent theatre scene. And finally, those who prefer the screen to the stage will find a film to suit their taste, whether it’s the latest blockbuster, art-house cinema, or a timeless classic.
Basel is considered a mecca for architecture aficionados. Buildings by famous architects greet the visitor at every turn. Fondation Beyeler by Renzo Piano, for instance, Herzog & de Meuron’s Schaulager or the banking building (initially belonging to UBS, today home of the Bank for International Settlements) by Mario Botta.