Stadtcasino Basel

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Stadtcasino Basel. On the left the actual city casino, on the right the adjoining building with the large concert hall.

The Stadtcasino Basel is a concert hall in the city of Basel . The building is centrally located in the Grossbasel district on Barfüsserplatz . The largest hall, the music hall from 1876 with 1500 seats, is internationally renowned for its excellent acoustics and is the actual home base of the Basel Symphony Orchestra . The renowned Basel Chamber Orchestra and the Basel Sinfonietta also organize their symphony concerts in this hall. The New Year's Eve concerts in the music hall have been played by the Basel Festival Orchestra , which was founded at the time, since 1996 . The building is operated by the Basel casino company.


The old city casino from Berri with the already attached music hall from Stehlin. The narrow passage to Barfüsserplatz can be seen in the front left.

The beginnings of the city casino go back to 1808, when the Allgemeine Lesegesellschaft Basel rented what is now Reinacherhof for joint discussion and gaming meetings. With the rapidly increasing number of members, the Provisional Commission for the construction of a society house was formed in 1820 as part of the Swiss Music Festival in Basel , which commissioned the young architect Melchior Berri with the planning. In 1822 construction work began on a site in the city center at Barfüsserplatz. At the same time, on a private initiative, the summer casino was built outside the city walls in what is now the St. Alban district for those citizens who retreated to their country houses during the summer.

The Basel Casino Society was officially founded on February 16, 1824. The city casino was put into operation in 1826. The large concert hall, which mainly accounts for the current importance of the city casino, was not part of the Berri building, but was added to it in 1876. The architect of the concert hall was Johann Jakob Stehlin . The building line of the city casino corresponded to the inner city wall that was torn down in 1821 , the original narrow passage from the Steinenvorstadt to Barfüsserplatz replaced the little donkey door.

During the unrest surrounding the separation of the cantons between 1830 and 1833, the members of the summer casino temporarily moved to the city casino. Since the summer casino company became increasingly indebted in the following decades while the city casino flourished, the two companies were finally merged in 1907. However, the immense debt burden caused by the summer casino could not be managed and so the summer casino and park were sold in 1937.

In 1897 the First Zionist World Congress took place in the music hall under the direction of Theodor Herzl . It was here that Theodor Herzl wrote and proclaimed his «Basel Program», in which he outlined the political course for the establishment of a Jewish state. Until the state of Israel was founded in 1948, the congress took place ten times in the Steinenberg, more than in any other city or location in the world.

Since the Berri building, after more than a century of use, no longer met the requirements, and at the same time its length hindered the new traffic concept around Barfüsserplatz, it was demolished in 1938 and until 1941 by the current building by the architects Kehlstadt and Brodtbeck replaced together with Bräuning, Leu, Dürig . The new building was financed with the proceeds from the sale of the summer casino. The reopening was on December 16, 1939, in 1941 the front facade was decorated by Alfred Heinrich Pellegrini with the mural Apollo and the Muses .

During the Second World War , the absence of visitors and political problems meant that the crisis continued until the end of the war. The economic boom of the 1950s finally brought back success; In addition, from 1947 the events of the symphony concerts were moved from the Volkshaus to the city casino, which ensured international attention and recognition of the city casino. In 1970 the restaurant operations and the hall administration were separated, and in 1982 the operating bill exceeded the million mark for the first time.

The city casino's last major renovation was carried out in 1976. Since today's city casino is no longer able to meet future requirements in various respects, the casino company announced a competition for a new building project from 2000 to 2007, which was won by the British-Iraqi star architect Zaha Hadid . Although the project received broad political and cultural support and a large part of the financing was covered by private donations, it was rejected in the referendum on June 17, 2007. A later investigation of the voting behavior showed that many opponents recognized the architectural quality of the project. The main reason for their negative attitude was the significantly larger building cube compared to the existing building, which made the project on Barfüsserplatz appear too dominant. Since 2016 the building has been rebuilt and expanded according to plans by the Basel architects Herzog & de Meuron .


The city casino has three large halls:

Major events

From August 29 to 31, 1897, the city casino, organized by David Farbstein , held the first Zionist congress . Most of the subsequent congresses took place here up to the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.

Web links


Individual evidence

  1. Basel Festival Orchestra
  2. The word "casino" comes from Italian and originally referred to a society house.
  3. ^ Arthur Dürig: New Casino Basel building . In: The work . tape 29 , no. 11 , 1942, pp. 257-272 , doi : 10.5169 / seals-86991 .

Coordinates: 47 ° 33 ′ 16 "  N , 7 ° 35 ′ 22"  E ; CH1903:  six hundred eleven thousand three hundred and fifty-three  /  267092