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Contributed by M. Stannard

Brief News from Basel


1 August on the Rhine

Nabucco on Barfüsserplatz We’re used to markets, music festivals and special events (like impromptu street parties when the local football team wins a big match) on Barfüsserplatz, but opera? Fact: Verdi’s opera Nabucco with its famous chorus of the Hebrew slaves will be performed there on 3 July at 20:00 in the open air, whatever the weather. It’s part of a European tour by the opera company of Bytom in Poland, well-known for fostering young talent, which will perform in a different place every single night – 21 in Switzerland alone. The idea is to bring opera to people who would normally never see or hear one; this colourful touring performance promises to be a winner. For tickets, go to:

Queen’s Jubilee in Basel area People crossing the Rhine on the afternoon of 2 June are in for a surprise: a Rhine parade of ships and boats of every description is being arranged in honour of the Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II this year. Organisers are the British Residents’ Association in

Swiss National Day celebrations on the banks of the Rhine: preparing for the next boat race.

collaboration with the Royal Overseas League, supported by the British-Swiss Chamber of Commerce and ASC Basel, and with the help of the Port of Basel and Basel’s passenger shipping company BPG. A unique occasion – and very appropriate, as the Queen’s own celebrations involve a parade of ships on the River Thames. On the next day, 3 June, a huge celebration is being held from 14:00 to 18:00 in Hegenheim, just over the border in France. There will be plenty of fun for all the family - Morris Dancers, Scottish dancing, games and competitions including a Jubilee Hat Competition for children, stalls, a charity auction, cream teas and a beer tent. All proceeds will go to “Help for Heroes”, and “Terre des Hommes”.

Basel Tattoo Held in the Kaserne for the seventh time on 13-21 July, the Basel Tattoo has become a regular feature on Basel’s calendar. There will be 15 performances for the first time, with the premiere on Friday 13 July - not that this so-called unlucky day is going to worry anybody at all. The programme includes the famous New Zealand Army Band, the Ailsa Craig Highland Dancers, the traditional Massed Pipes and Drums, bands from Russia, Japan, Denmark, Finland and the USA as well as Scotland and the host country, and to top it all off, Switzerland’s famous Top Secret Drum Corps, who are quite simply phenomenal and should not missed if at all possible. Food, drink and souvenirs are for sale at stalls next to the Kaserne, and there’ll be a parade through the streets of Basel on 21 July.

Citybeach: new location Basel’s summer beach lounge has been in various locations over the years, latterly on the roof of the trade fair buildings next to the carpark. As this is now a building site, the organisers have found a new place, this time on ground level: the Acqua/Kuppel zone on the banks of the Birsig, commonly known as Nightingale Wood (Nachtigallwäldeli, on the footpath between the Heuwaage and the zoo). It isn’t so spacious and the pool is smaller, but the whole ambience is more summery, and it has a new attraction in the shape of a whirlpool under the viaduct.

Art Basel Described as the world’s premier art show for modern and contemporary works, Art Basel is being held for the 43rd consecutive year on 14-17 June at the trade fair. Over 300 galleries from all over the world are there, showing the works of around 2500 artists, from the famous to the infamous to the latest generation of emerging talent. On show are paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs, video and editioned works, and there’s a lively programme of fringe events as well.


Like many other communities, Basel celebrates Swiss National Day on the day before, 31 July, with a huge festival on the Rhine from 17:00 to 01:00. Stalls selling a wide variety of food, drink and souvenirs line the streets both sides of the river, there are boat races and other aquatic attractions, a street party on the market place, and the traditional huge display of fireworks over the river at 23:15, with identical displays from two boats moored above and below the Mittlerebrücke. The whole show attracts about 100,000 people from far and wide. Surrounding villages have their own celebrations on either 31 July or 1 August itself, also involving fireworks, so the whole sky is alight two nights in row.

Hello Switzerland for Expatriates, Summer Edition 2012  
Hello Switzerland for Expatriates, Summer Edition 2012  

Hello Switzerland is written by expats for expats living in Switzerland. Designed mainly for English speakers, the magazine contains feature...