Eight burger

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The Achtburger were a group of non-noble patricians in the city of Basel in the Middle Ages . Its name is derived from the fact that this group was represented with eight representatives in the city council of Basel since 1212 .

The Achtburgers were initially bankers and merchants who were distinguished by their wealth and economic and political influence and who stood out from the rest of the commercial population. With the increasing influence of the guilds since the 14th century, the position of the Achtburger changed. When the guild representatives joined the city council, the Achtburger, who had been a member of the council for much longer, rose. They now formed part of the patriciate that previously only nobles had belonged. The Achtburger now referred to themselves as Junkers . At the same time, the Eightburg group began to split politically: some sympathized with the Austrian- oriented nobility , others oriented themselves towards the guilds, which were becoming increasingly powerful in the city.

The ascent to eighth bourgeoisie was linked to a fortune that enabled a befitting life. In addition, an eight burger had to be taken from one of the three patrician drinking rooms that were known under the common name of high room . These included the social room zum Brunnen on Petersberg 1 (acquired before 1411, canceled in 1937), the social room zum Sighing in Stadthausgasse (also ze der núwen bruggen , acquired before 1367, broken off 1915) and the social room zur Mücke am Schlüsselberg (acquired before 1374 , newly built in 1545, from 1661 to 1849 the seat of the public library and the Amerbach collections )

After the abolition of patrician privileges in 1515 and the Reformation , most of the Catholics and nobles emigrated. In 1521 the patrician seats on the council were reduced from twelve to two. The last Achtburger belonged to the council until 1545. The two patrician council seats remained vacant from then on, even if they were not formally abolished.

None of the genders of the former eight burgers is still based in Basel today.


  • Alioth, Barth, Huber: Basler Stadtgeschichte . Vol. 2. Basel 1981.