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Contributed by Anitra Green


The University Library

Obviously these aren’t available to the general public, but it is possible to see them close up during a presentation like the one we had by the head of departmental, Dr Ueli Dill.

This huge library is not just for students. Not many people are aware that the University of Basel’s main library, that remarkable building tucked behind the botanical gardens by the Spalentor, is actually open to the public; anybody can join, and it’s free of charge. A word of warning though: whatever you’re looking for, you’ll first have to look in their online catalogue to find it and then go to the appropriate “open” stack to get it. The reason is simple: all books are stored in the order they arrive in, and not alphabetically, partly for historical reasons and partly to save space. On a recent guided tour (yes, they do offer guided tours – this one, in English, was organised by the Anglo-

e for s u o h d n a L

Swiss Club), our guide told us they have books in a variety of languages, as one would expect in a university library, but no translated works. There are also a number of “closed” stacks containing the old, rare and precious works, and if you want to look at one of these you have to reserve it in advance. There’s a fascinating collection of books and records in the Manuscripts and Old Prints Department, also from English-speaking countries. One thing I was surprised but absolutely delighted to see was an original document signed by none other than Queen Elizabeth I – yes, the First – a beautifully executed signature complete with curlicues.

Anitra Green Has been in Switzerland long enough to be part of the scenery. Studied classics in London, now a railway journalist.

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f Basel km west o 5 1 , h lü F in 4112 village. side of the y n n u s e on th 6.5 rooms 2 ing space 270 m liv

10 walking minutes to the station 10 min drive to the International School 10 min drive to the highway


The existence of a university library in Basel was first documented in the 15th century, soon after the founding the university, and it’s one of the biggest in the country with over 3 million documents. It’s been in the current building, with its huge round reading room at the top, since 1968.

Monthly rent CHF 4’600.– net plus charges Contact Hagmann (owner): 079 204 05 16

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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...