Northwestern Switzerland

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Northwestern Switzerland

The Northwestern Switzerland is an inter-cantonal economic area in the northwest of Switzerland . It essentially covers the entire greater Basel region and is almost identical to the tariff association Northwest Switzerland .


Northwestern Switzerland in the narrower sense

Northwestern Switzerland , in the narrower and original sense, consists of several (sub) cantons that form a unit geographically. The natural border to the other major regions of Switzerland is the mountain range of Jura formed.

Northwestern Switzerland includes in the narrower sense:

Northwestern Switzerland in the narrower sense therefore includes all German-speaking communities north of the Jura (the German-Jurassic community of Ederswiler is usually not part of northwestern Switzerland because it belongs to the canton of Jura).

Northwestern Switzerland in the broader sense

The term is often used in a broader sense and then includes the entire cantons of Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft, Aargau and Solothurn (e.g. University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland ).

Greater region of Northwestern Switzerland

According to the Federal Statistical Office , the greater region of Northwestern Switzerland includes the cantons of Aargau (in total), Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft, but not the canton of Solothurn.


Around 600,000 people live in north-western Switzerland; over 88% of them live in the urban area of ​​the Basel agglomeration . The proportion of foreigners in 2010 was 24.1%, 0.4 percentage points below the Swiss average.

Cities in Northwestern Switzerland:


Northwestern Switzerland is a unified region not only geographically, but also economically. The economic center is Basel . Over 54,000 people commute to Basel-Stadt from all over north-western Switzerland every day , plus almost 30,000 foreign cross-border commuters .
A total of around 50,000 cross-border commuters work in north-western Switzerland. With an unemployment rate of 2.3% of the workforce, north-western Switzerland is just below the Swiss average despite the high number of cross-border commuters.

Special case canton borders

The cantonal borders within north-western Switzerland run in complicated and confusing lines criss-crossing the region. They separate the city from the neighboring suburbs, although the transition is fluid and no border can be determined. There was never an incorporation like in Zurich due to the cantonal and national borders in Basel. If only the neighboring communities had been incorporated, Basel would have around 265,000 inhabitants today. With all structurally connected locations it would even be around 330,000. It was also impossible to incorporate neighboring foreign suburbs such as B. Saint-Louis (France).

But not only the city is separated from the country; entire valleys and communities are cut off from their canton and form enclaves or enclaves . The best examples of this are the Solothurn towns of Rodersdorf , Metzerlen , Hofstetten , Flüh , Bättwil and Witterswil . They form a contiguous exclave and are completely separated from the canton of Solothurn by the Laufental (canton of Basel-Landschaft). Another Solothurn exclave is Kleinlützel . In addition, there is the Basel commune Roggenburg , which is an exclave of the canton of Basel-Landschaft. Four cantonal borders can be crossed within a few kilometers. 7 km separate the Fricktal from Basel-Stadt; 6 km between the Dorneck and the Fricktal and just 3.6 km separate the canton of Solothurn from the canton of Basel-Stadt.

Such historically determined borders are a challenge for Northwestern Switzerland and are directly responsible for certain problems. Both Schwarzbubenland and the Fricktal are part of the economic center of Basel for geographical, economic and linguistic reasons. The cantons work closely together in many areas (especially in schools). The public transport companies ( tariff association Northwest Switzerland ) z. B. lead cross-cantonal lines. But with four different laws, ordinances and special regulations in the closely interwoven Basel region, the region is losing efficiency.

Another problem is the special situation in the city of Basel. Over 80,000 people commute to Basel to earn money. The region uses the city's services; you go shopping in Basel, use the urban infrastructure or take advantage of cultural offers. But taxes are paid in a different canton. As a result, the financial situation in Basel continues to deteriorate, and benefits have to be cut. In addition, the city has been losing residents for decades who settle in the suburban area, but often keep their jobs in Basel. It is therefore all the more understandable that Basel-Stadt longs for a reunification with Basel-Landschaft. However, this is repeatedly rejected by the other side, as many fear an increased tax burden. In this sense, the establishment of a canton of Northwestern Switzerland has already been discussed, which should unite the four (sub) cantons so that the abovementioned grievances and injustices can be remedied.

The canton of northwestern Switzerland

The last attempts to establish the canton of northwestern Switzerland came in 1999, when four cantonal parliamentarians from the cantons of Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft, Aargau and Solothurn called for a procedure to establish a canton of northwestern Switzerland in four motions (see link), but these were rejected by parliaments. One of the reasons was that such steps should be taken with the entire canton or not at all, otherwise new borders would only be created.

Web links

Commons : Northwestern Switzerland  - Collection of images, videos and audio files