Are you thinking about relocating to Basel? The city offers a few reasons to pick it as your new home when moving to Switzerland. For one, it is bordered by German and France, which means you enjoy great cultural diversity. Of course, before you can take that leap, it helps to know what you are getting into. What is the living standard in Basel? Can you get a suitable job if you wish to? Is it somewhere you can bring up a family? In this guide, you will gather all the crucial details about living in Basel. I have collected information on the major aspects of relocating that may interest you or someone you know.
Is Basel a good place to live, work or retire? Yes, it is. Basel offers a high standard of living; it was ranked number 10 in 2018’s Quality of Living ranking by Mercer. Expats have a wealth of opportunities when it comes to jobs and investments with the pharmaceutical industry being the biggest employer.
One thing about Basel that I appreciate and I’m sure anyone planning to move there will as well is the multi-cultural design of its population. With three countries bordering the city, you can expect that people from different regions find their way to Basel. Regardless of where you come from, you are bound to feel at home here. Basel may be a small city, but it has considerable potential, and you can learn more about it in this guide. Find out where to find a house, shop or take a sightseeing tour.
Is Basel a Good Place to Live?
Basel is Switzerland’s third largest city at 37 Km2 and a population of just under 200,000. The city is most famous for The Rhine River and bordering of three countries, facts that make it an exciting destination for tourists. The size of the place makes it everything so easy to get to, which is a big plus side of living here. Cycling is a preferred way to get around, but that is not to say that transport links are not available.
Switzerland has one of Europe’s most advanced transportation systems, and Basel enjoys that privilege. Sitting on the Upper Rhine gives it several advantages like unrestricted access to the rest of Switzerland. The EuroAirport, found in French territory, offers regular connections to various regions such as:
• The UK
EuroAirport is Switzerland’s third largest airport and for a good reason. It is a favourite departure location for people holidaying in the region. The airport is only six kilometres from Basel, which is a big advantage for residents who have to travel frequently.
The public transportation networks are excellent in both the town centre and rural parts of Basel. If you have to commute to work or school daily, the bus lines provide convenient solutions. Tram lines are also available to all of the neighbourhoods. I would recommend the Green Travelcard for a person who plans to use public transport while living in Basel. The card allows you to access all public transportation on Basel and beyond. You can pay monthly or annually for it.
Basel’s climate is mild continental with winter temperatures that average slightly less than 3° and summers that measure about 18°. The city is a popular attraction, so you can expect tourist activities during peak season, usually summer. The Rhine River is a favourite spot for both residents and tourists because it offers spectacular views. You can sit on the banks of the river and watch people come and go.
The high living standard in Basel is another justification for relocating here. Besides the great infrastructure that the country as a whole enjoys, expats in Basel have access to world-class healthcare. The city has medical facilities with qualified staff and advanced equipment. Residents must carry health insurance policies, but it is different if you are a foreign student. Dwellers in this city are sure to find adequate medical services from geriatric care to restorative health.
Although many people have moved to Basel over the years, it remains a quiet, reserved town that would be ideal for bringing up a family. The people from different parts give the place a rich heritage that any parent would love to teach you their kids. Integrating into a community is not difficult because the town is a small one.
For an individual looking for a change and wants to try out Switzerland, Basel tops the list of recommendations. It is a charming city that gives its residents a high-quality life.
Is Basel a Good Place to Work?
Basel has a strong economy thanks to industries like transportation, finance and life sciences. The pharmaceutical sector is the region’s biggest employer with global companies such as Hofmann-La Roche, Syngenta and Norvatis located in this town. If you are aiming for a chance in the pharma industry, then Basel presents excellent opportunities. Other fields where you can check out jobs include agribusiness, nanotechnology and medical care. Apart from employment, Basel is a good place for different types of businesses. Merchants can benefit a great deal from the ports in the area and the well-connected transportation links.
The unemployment rate in Basel is a little over the national average at 4%. However, the region, as with the rest of Switzerland, has some of the best salaries in the world. Basel’s gross salary is 9,600 on average. The availability of an efficient transport system contributes a lot to Basel’s suitability as a place to work. Whether you are employed or running your business, you know that getting around the city won’t be a problem. For individuals who intend to further their education while working, the city has good schools, including the University of Basel.
Although the region enjoys a strong local currency, Basel faces some risks due to its location in three countries. Business people and entrepreneurs who want to set up in Basel must factor in the city’s location.
Is Basel a Good Place to Buy a House
If you have a job in Basel or starting a business, you may prefer to get a house for a more permanent living arrangement. A majority of expats in Basel rent rather than buy property. The reason for this choice is that buying a home in Basel can be costly. Rental apartments in this city are lower than their equivalents in Zurich and Geneva. The average for a two-bedroom apartment is approximately CHF 2,500 a month. Of course, you have to add the expenses for utilities such as electricity, gas and heating. The median asking price for an owner-occupied apartment was CHF 6,880 in 2018 while a single-family home averaged CHF 1.22 million
Basel has 19 quartieres (neighbourhoods) from which people can choose to settle. For expats looking for high-end family homes, St Albans and Altstadt are the places to look. Clara, Matthaeus and Vorstadte are some of the busiest districts in Basel, if you prefer such. If you want villas located in quiet and green neighbourhoods, check out Bachletten. The choice of buying or renting depends on the spending capability of an individual. Also, you must consider how long you intend to stay in Basel. If you are relocating permanently, then buying makes more sense than renting.
Is Basel a Good Place to Retire?
In 2017, Switzerland ranked second as the best nation to retire to. Its pension system is one of the best globally, and that is only one reason it makes the top two. Foreigners working in Basel contribute towards their pension like any other Swiss citizen. How you cash in on your pension after retirement depends on many things, including if your home nation has a social security agreement with Switzerland. Whatever the case, you can count on a nest egg that will make your retirement years manageable.
The city of Basel is ideal for a retiree because it is small but diverse. Contact with a community is essential for senior citizens, and a small town makes that easier to achieve. Pensioners have a lot of activities that they can undertake in Basel. Staying active through your senior years is fundamental, and Basel makes that easy. If you have been waiting to travel after retirement, Basel offers several affordable options, including neighbouring Germany and France.
Is Basel a Good Place to Visit?
Resting in the north-west of Switzerland on the Rhine River, Basel is an interesting place to visit. It has a charming pre-historic feel to it that is part of its attraction. When visiting Switzerland, Basel should be on your list. The town borders Germany and France on different sides, which gives it a unique characteristic. This location has afforded the city a lot of diversity. Over 30% of its population consists of expats from across the globe.
Basel offers a rich culture of art and history. It has over 40 museums where visitors can learn more about the town. Visit the Museum of Culture, Basel Art Museum and Fondation Beyeler on your tours. Summer is a great time to pop into Basel because it offers nice weather and many activities. The Rhine is a must-see when in Basel, regardless of the season. If possible, you can even swim in the river. Visit this town for the Basel Zoo, which is one of the country’s oldest. Interact with some endangered species and donate towards their conservation. Perhaps the biggest reason to visit Basel is the Basler Fasnacht Festival, which lasts three days.
Basel offers a quality of life that is above average, which is only one of the many reasons it makes a good place to live. If you are planning a relocation to Basel, expect access to world-class medical care, transportation and pension system that will make the stay worth it.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.