Canton of Basel-Stadt

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Canton of Basel-Stadt
coat of arms
coat of arms
Canton of the Swiss Confederation
Abbreviation / license plate : BS
Official language : German
Main town : Basel
Accession to the federal government : 1501
Area : 36.95  km²
Height range : 244-522 m above sea level M.
Residents: 194,766 (December 31, 2018)
Population density : 5271 inhabitants per km²
Proportion of foreigners :
(residents without citizenship )
35.2% (December 31, 2015)
Unemployment rate : 4.0% (December 31, 2015)
Location of the canton in Switzerland
Location of the canton in Switzerland
Map of the canton
Map of the canton
Municipalities of the canton
Municipalities of the canton

Coordinates: 47 ° 33 '  N , 7 ° 36'  E ; CH1903:  611.62 thousand  /  267,377

Basel-Stadt ( abbreviation BS ; French Bâle-Ville , Italian Basilea Città , Rhaeto-Romanic Basilea-Citad ? / I ) is a canton in German-speaking Switzerland . The main town and at the same time the most populous place is Basel . The canton is part of the economic region of northwestern Switzerland and the cross-border metropolitan region of Basel . Audio file / audio sample

The city canton is the smallest in area and at the same time the most densely populated Swiss canton and consists of the city ​​of Basel and the political communities of Riehen and Bettingen . The canton of Basel-Stadt borders both Germany and France .


The half-canton of Basel-Stadt is located in the north-west of Switzerland. In terms of area, it is the smallest canton, in terms of population it ranks 15th out of 26. The municipality of Basel is located on the knee of the Rhine , where the Birsig flows into the Rhine and the river changes its direction of flow from west to north. The knee of the Rhine forms the southern end of the Upper Rhine Plain .

In addition, there are the two rural communities of Riehen and Bettingen north of the Rhine. Riehen extends along the Wiesental and has around 21,000 inhabitants. Bettingen is divided into the villages of Bettingen Dorf and St. Chrischona , has around 1200 inhabitants and is located on a hill, the most prominent point of which is the St. Chrischona TV tower .

Administrative division

Political communities

Municipalities of the Canton of Basel-Stadt

The community of Kleinhüningen has been incorporated into the city of Basel since 1908 .

All three political communities as of December 31, 2018 are listed below:

Political community Residents
Basel 172'258
Riehen 021,339
Bettingen 001169
Former districts of the canton of Basel-Stadt

After the separation from Basel-Landschaft , the city canton consisted of two districts, the urban district with the municipality of Basel and the rural district with the municipalities of Kleinhüningen , Riehen and Bettingen. With the cantonal constitution of 1889, the district level was abolished.

However, the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) lists the entire canton as one district under FSO no. : 1200.


Population of the canton of Basel-Stadt by nationality 1990–2010
citizenship 1990
SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland 77.52 72.44 67.36
GermanyGermany Germany 2.60 3.27 7.58
ItalyItaly Italy 6.42 5.44 4.18
TurkeyTurkey Turkey 3.27 4.38 3.56
Yugoslavia Socialist Federal RepublicYugoslavia Yugoslavia 2.79 3.13 -
SerbiaSerbia Serbia Montenegro Kosovo
- 1.17
SpainSpain Spain 2.78 2.16 2.81
PortugalPortugal Portugal 0.42 0.79 1.35
North MacedoniaNorth Macedonia North Macedonia - 1.12 1.17
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 0.35 0.48 0.96
FranceFrance France 0.59 0.54 0.76
IndiaIndia India 0.12 0.17 0.65
United StatesUnited States United States 0.25 0.31 0.63
AustriaAustria Austria 0.45 0.45 0.58
CroatiaCroatia Croatia - 0.81 0.54
Sri LankaSri Lanka Sri Lanka 0.30 0.63 0.49
Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina - 0.68 0.41
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 0.18 0.21 0.32

The population of the canton of Basel-Stadt is very heterogeneous and reflects the canton's history as an important trading and industrial location. The population development has been declining since the 1980s. The emigration to neighboring municipalities in other cantons and the structural loss of jobs with the change in industrial production are among the important reasons for this. As of December 31, 2018, the population of the canton of Basel-Stadt was 194,766. The population density of 5,264 inhabitants per square kilometer is approximately 26 times the Swiss average (207 inhabitants per square kilometer). The proportion of foreigners (registered residents without Swiss citizenship ) was 35.2 percent on December 31, 2015, while 24.6 percent were registered nationwide. As of December 31, 2015, the unemployment rate was 4.0 percent compared to 3.7 percent at the federal level.

Religions - denominations

Religious affiliation in the canton of Basel-Stadt of the resident population aged 15 and over in 2017
Religious affiliation Number of
in percent
Roman Catholic 26,975 16.5
Evangelical Reformed 25,788 15.8
Other Christian denominations 09,307 05.7
Jewish religious communities 01'130 00.7
Islamic denominations 13,318 08.2
Other religious communities 03,445 02.1
Non-denominational 80,899 49.6
no information 02,153 01.3
Canton of Basel-Stadt (total) 163,0140 100

The formerly dominant Protestant population has declined from 85,000 in 1980 to 35,000 at the end of 2010. However, the numbers are to be interpreted differently. With the Protestants, the Catholics, the Jews and the Christian Catholics, the institutional membership of the religious community is counted (publicly recognized communities), with the Muslims, the "others" and the Eastern Church followers (such as Serbian Orthodox or Greek Orthodox) religious affiliation (as of the end of 2010).


The canton in its current boundaries was established in 1833 when today's canton of Basel-Landschaft split off from the then canton of Basel as part of the separation of the cantons . Basel-Stadt had a reunification article in the constitution for a long time, it was only dropped with the total revision in 2006. The constitution of Basel-Landschaft requires independence. In 1969, a vote was taken on reunification; those entitled to vote clearly voted for it in Basel-Stadt and against it in Basel-Landschaft. There was no political chance for reunification. In September 2014, another vote on the merger of the two Basels was carried out. Again there was a tight yes in Basel-Stadt (54.9% yes), while in Basel-Landschaft the merger was clearly rejected (68.3% no). The pragmatic way out of this dilemma is shared administrative units and institutions and the voluntary comparison of laws and regulations.

The history of Basel-Stadt is largely identical to the history of the city of Basel, which dominates the city canton, see there .


The voters of the canton of Basel-Stadt approved the current cantonal constitution on October 30, 2005. This came into force on July 13, 2006 and replaced the constitution of December 2, 1889.

Direct democratic people's rights

3000 voters can submit a formulated (formulated) or general (unformulated) popular initiative that concerns an amendment to the constitution or an amendment, the enactment or repeal of a law or a referendum resolution of the Grand Council.

Necessarily the popular vote are subject to all constitutional amendments, all formulated popular initiatives and all unformulated popular initiatives, which the Great Council does not agree ( mandatory referendum ) .

2,000 people entitled to vote can demand a referendum on a resolution of the Grand Council that concerns the enactment, amendment or repeal of a law or an issue in a certain amount determined by law ( optional referendum ) .

Legislature - Grand Council

The canton's parliament is called the Grand Council . It comprises 100 members who are each elected for a four-year term of office using proportional representation.

Grand Council elections on October 23, 2016
Turnout: 41.66%
Gains and losses
compared to 2012
 % p
+1.75  % p
-0.73  % p
+4.21  % p.p.
+1.56  % p
-1.90  % p
-1.46  % p
-0.69  % p
-1.57  % p
+1.17  % p.p.
Allocation of seats in 2017 in the Grand Council of Basel-Stadt
14th 34 4th 7th 10 14th 15th 
A total of 100 seats
Allocation of seats in the Grand Council of Basel-Stadt between 1996 and 2017
Political party 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012 2016
Social Democratic Party of Switzerland (SP) 39 39 46 32 33 34
Swiss People's Party (SVP) 03 14th 15th 14th 15th 15th
Green Alliance 20th 12 16 13 13 14th
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 14th 16 12 09 10 14th
FDP The Liberals 17th 18th 18th 11 12 10
Christian Democratic People's Party (CVP) 13 14th 11 08th 08th 07th
Green Liberal Party (glp) 00 00 00 05 05 04th
Evangelical People's Party (EPP) 06th 06th 06th 04th 01 01
Active Bettingen (AB) 00 00 00 01 01 01
People's action against too many foreigners and asylum seekers in our homeland (VA) 00 00 00 00 02 00
Democratic Social Party (DSP) 10 06th 06th 03 00 00
Swiss Democrats (SD) 08th 05 00 00 00 00

Executive - Government Council

The government council is elected for a four-year term using the majority voting procedure.

Members of the government council (since 2017)
Government Council Political party department
Elisabeth Ackermann , District President GB Presidential Department (PD)
Eva Herzog , Vice President of the Government SP Finance Department (FD)
Christoph Brutschin SP Department of Economics, Social Affairs and Environment (WSU)
Baschi Dürr FDP Justice and Security Department (JSD)
Lukas Engelberger CVP Health Department (GD)
Conradin Cramer LDP Education Department (ED)
Hans-Peter Wessels SP Building and Transport Department (BVD)

In contrast to most of the other cantons, which have a rotating system, the regional council is elected by the people and for the entire four-year legislative period.


The highest court in Basel-Stadt is the appellate court . It is also a cantonal administrative court and a cantonal constitutional court and oversees the courts of first instance.

The civil court, the criminal court, the juvenile criminal court and the social security court are subordinate to the appellate court .


A peculiarity throughout Switzerland is that almost all shops in the municipality of Basel are run by the Canton of Basel-Stadt. This means that the canton's parliament, government and administration are also directly responsible for the municipality. Riehen and Bettingen, however, have independent community bodies . Outside of the cantonal administration, there are some social institutions such as the Basel Citizens Hospital or the civic orphanage , which are traditionally administered by the City of Basel's civic community.

The canton of Basel-Stadt is one of the few cantons in Switzerland where the civic communities are responsible for naturalization . The legislature of the civic community Basel is the civic council, whose members are the civic councils, its president is the civic council president. The executive is called the Citizens' Council, its members are the Citizens' Councils, and its President is the Citizens' Council President.

Religious communities

The Evangelical Reformed , Roman Catholic and Christian Catholic Churches as well as the Israelite community are recognized under public law by the constitution . They organize their internal circumstances independently and create a constitution that has to be approved by the government council.


Party system

Basel-Stadt now has a heterogeneous multi-party system with fragmented wings on both sides of the political spectrum. In addition to the parties represented in the Basel Grand Council , the cantonal parliament, the Green Alliance , SP , CVP , EPP , FDP , LDP , glp and SVP , other parties as well as individual politicians who are independent from parties are active. The canton of Basel-Stadt is the only canton in German-speaking Switzerland in which the former Liberal Party of Switzerland (LPS, in Basel the Liberal Democratic Party , LDP) still plays a role, where it is considered the party of the « Daig », the traditional Basel elite.

For a long time Basel was a social democratic stronghold. In the 1930s, Social Democrats and Communists together even made up the majority, a time that went down in history as the “red Basel”. During the Cold War , however, the bourgeois forces also dominated Basel. In the present, neither the red-green nor the bourgeois camp can claim an absolute majority. In the 2012 Grand Council election, both camps achieved the same number of seats, with the entry of the right-wing populist “ people's action against too many foreigners and asylum seekers in our home country ” in the cantonal parliament.

In the National Council elections in 2003 , the left in Basel-Stadt (the only Swiss canton) received an absolute majority of the votes, as did the National Council elections in November 2007 .

Integration policy

The Basel integration model by Thomas Kessler is receiving a lot of attention in politics .

Representative of Basel-Stadt in the Federal Assembly

Basel-Stadt sends five representatives to the National Council :

As a canton, Basel-Stadt sends a representative to the Council of States with half a professional vote :

International partnerships

  • United StatesUnited States Massachusetts , United States . On June 20, 2002, a partnership was established between the canton of Basel-Stadt and the US state of Massachusetts by means of a "Sister-State Agreement".
  • JapanJapan Toyama , Japan . The canton of Basel-Stadt and the prefecture of Toyama have maintained an exchange since 2006, which was formalized with agreements in 2009 and 2018.


In the canton of Basel-Stadt, the chemical and pharmaceutical industry and trade are of national importance. As a financial center, Basel still has a certain significance behind Zurich . Economic life is concentrated in the municipality of Basel ( see there for details ).


The annual international art fair Art Basel

Basel is very well developed for tourism: Accommodation in every price range, from youth hostels to historically significant luxury hotels such as the Hotel Les Trois Rois , offers numerous accommodation options, and Basel Tourismus , the semi-public organization that promotes tourism in Basel, not only maintains information points, but also offers them also offers a wide range of excursions and other services.

Basel has a wealth of sights, including the old town, the Basel Minster , the St. Chrischona TV tower and numerous newer buildings by important architects. Furthermore, the Basel Zoo , the largest zoological garden in Switzerland, the border triangle Germany-France-Switzerland and the numerous museums or events such as the Basel Carnival attract many visitors.

Basel has also been a household name among art lovers for decades: in addition to the world-famous collections of the Fondation Beyeler , the Tinguely Museum and the Basel Art Museum, the numerous special exhibitions in the museums and of course Art Basel , one of the world's most important art fairs, attracted tens of thousands of visitors to Basel every year .


Road traffic

Basel is the hub of road traffic north-south from France and Germany through Switzerland. The highway A3 of France passes through the northern bypass to the city highway A2 , the so-called East Bypass, which directs traffic from Germany through the city to the south. Outside the city, the two branches then separate again. The A2 continues to the Gotthard or to Bern and the A3 to Zurich . In 2019, the degree of motorization (passenger cars per 1000 inhabitants) was 337.

Air traffic

The binational airport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg (EuroAirport) is located entirely on French territory , but is divided into a French and a Swiss sector. The latter is connected to Switzerland by a customs-related extra-territorial road, a so-called duty - free road, which begins in Basel under the name "Flughafenstrasse".

Rail transport

Basel SBB train station

The canton of Basel-Stadt has three international train stations. The Swiss Basel SBB train station and the French Basel SNCF train station are both located in one building, south of the city center on the Grossbasler side. If you want to go from the Swiss train station to the French one, you have to pass a customs border. The Badische Bahnhof, operated by Deutsche Bahn , is located on the Kleinbasel side and is also separate from Switzerland in terms of customs. This station is mainly used by travelers from Germany who have to change between the Upper Rhine Line , Wiesental Line (line S6 of the trinational S-Bahn Basel between Basel SBB - Lörrach - Zell im Wiesental ) and Upper Rhine Railway and have to pass through Swiss territory.

There are also four local train stations. St. Jakob is located on the Bözberg line or Hauenstein line to Muttenz ; so far, however, trains only stop here for major events in St. Jakob-Park . The Dreispitz station on the Jura line (opened in May 2006) is intended to relieve the SBB station of commuter flows, especially in and from the Birsigtal.

The stations of St. Johann on the SNCF route to Mulhouse and Riehen Niederholz and Riehen on the German Wiesental line have a status similar to that of the Badischer Bahnhof . All three stations are located on Swiss territory, but are French or German territory for customs purposes.


Basel is also connected to the rest of Switzerland and neighboring countries via the river Rhine . The Basel shipping company goes up the Rhine to Rheinfelden . Basel is also the home port of various shipping companies, which offer cruises on the Rhine as well as to the Main and the Moselle from here.

In addition, Basel is the home port of Swiss ocean shipping .

An important pillar of the Swiss economy is the Basel Rhine shipping with its Rhine ports Kleinhüningen, St. Johann and Birsfelden.

Local transport

The inner-city traffic as well as the fine development of the surrounding area take place with an extensive tram network , supplemented by numerous bus lines of the Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe , Baselland Transport AG and Autobus AG Liestal and some other companies.


In the 1990s and again in the 2010s with the school harmonization , the entire public school system was reformed. The two-year kindergarten has been compulsory since August 2005. The official school time, the elementary school, begins with the kindergarten, lasts eleven years and begins from the age of five. Depending on the exact date of birth, school enrollment can be postponed by one year.

Course of the school
designation Duration Levels Evaluation form selection
kindergarten 2 years no no no
Primary school 6 years no no no
Secondary school 3 years Performance train A (general requirements)
Performance train E (extended A.)
Performance train P (high A.)
grades Primary school certificate or voluntary entrance examination
high school 4 years no grades Coming from secondary school, the decision is based on the performance train: E-train and high grades, or P-train

See also

Web links

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Individual evidence

  1. Balance of the permanent resident population by canton, definitive annual results, 2018. Federal Statistical Office (FSO), August 27, 2019, accessed on September 18, 2019 (definitive annual results).
  2. Structure of the permanent resident population by cantons. Federal Statistical Office (FSO), August 26, 2016, accessed on May 31, 2017 .
  3. ^ The situation on the job market in December 2015. (PDF; 807 kB) State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), January 8, 2016, p. 9 , archived from the original on January 12, 2016 ; accessed on January 13, 2016 .
  4. Permanent and non-permanent resident population by year, canton, district, municipality, population type and gender (permanent resident population). In: bfs. . Federal Statistical Office (FSO), August 31, 2019, accessed on December 22, 2019 .
  5. Resident population of the Canton of Basel-Stadt by nationality since 1990. ( XLS ; 470  kB ) Statistical Office of the Canton of Basel-Stadt, February 21, 2014, archived from the original on September 4, 2014 ; accessed on August 1, 2014 .
  6. Population structure and population dynamics of both Basels ( Memento of September 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), Statistical Office of the Canton of Basel-Stadt, accessed on August 7, 2010.
  7. Balance of the permanent resident population by canton, definitive annual results, 2018. Federal Statistical Office (FSO), August 27, 2019, accessed on September 18, 2019 (definitive annual results).
  8. Structure of the permanent resident population by cantons. Federal Statistical Office (FSO), August 26, 2016, accessed on May 31, 2017 .
  9. ^ The situation on the job market in December 2015. (PDF; 807 kB) State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), January 8, 2016, p. 9 , archived from the original on January 12, 2016 ; accessed on January 13, 2016 .
  10. Federal Statistical Office: Permanent resident population aged 15 and over by religious affiliation and canton - 2017 | Table. January 29, 2019, accessed January 29, 2019 .
  11. ^ Statistical Office Basel-Stadt.
  12. Merger of the two Basel - Basel area sweeps reunification off the table. Neue Zürcher Zeitung, September 28, 2014, accessed on March 18, 2016 .
  13. ^ Constitution of the Canton of Basel-Stadt. As of March 23, 2005 (as of June 22, 2014). Justice and Security Department of the Canton of Basel-Stadt, accessed on August 1, 2014 .
  14. Implementation of the new cantonal constitution. Government Council of the Canton of Basel-Stadt, November 30, 2005, accessed on August 1, 2014 .
  15. ^ Up to February 2008 there were 130 members in the Basel city council.
  16. ^ The government council of the canton of Basel-Stadt. Basel-Stadt Government Council, accessed on May 8, 2017 .
  17. Green wins a seat. Neue Zürcher Zeitung , accessed on October 19, 2015 .
  18. ^ Members of the Council of States: Canton of Basel-Stadt. Federal Assembly , archived from the original on January 22, 2014 ; accessed on August 1, 2014 .
  19. ^ Sister states on both sides of the Atlantic. Canton of Basel-Stadt, accessed on September 15, 2019 .
  20. Toyama Prefecture Partnership. Retrieved June 9, 2019 .
  22. Briefly explained. Canton of Basel-Stadt, accessed on June 10, 2019 .