Basel is one of the top ten cities with the highest quality of living worldwide, according to the 2019 Mercer ranking. Small but highly cosmopolitan, Basel is Switzerland’s third largest city (after Zurich and Geneva), with a population of around 180,000; about a third of the inhabitants are non-Swiss, coming from 165 different countries. Basel is a German-speaking city, and although you might struggle with the local Swiss-German dialect, you will easily get by with English or French.
For scientists, Basel is a great place to live – and to pursue a career in the life sciences. The city is at the heart of the trinational Biovalley, one of Europe’s leading life science hubs. It benefits from close proximity to many universities and academic research institutes, over 600 life science and biotech firms, and the pharmaceutical giants Novartis and Roche. The scientific community in the Basel area is dynamic, and you will find plenty of opportunities to expand your professional network.
But there is a lot more to Basel than science: widely recognized as the cultural capital of Switzerland, it has a beautiful old town, is full of breathtaking modern architecture and is home to nearly 40 museums, including internationally renowned galleries such as the Fondation Beyeler, Kunstmuseum and Museum Tinguely. The annual Art Basel is the world’s biggest art fair. Basel also has numerous theaters, music festivals, restaurants and clubs. It is a green city, surrounded by hills, with plenty of parks, and the wonderful Rhine river running through the center. Located in northwestern Switzerland and sharing borders with France and Germany, Basel is also an excellent starting point for exploring Switzerland and neighboring countries.
Many scientists’ careers take them – and their families – to different countries, and relocating can be not only exciting, but also stressful. Particularly if you have young children, you can rest assured that Basel offers a very high quality of life: safe, clean, organized and with a large expat community, it is very attractive for international families.
One of the highlights of the summer in Basel: swim down the Rhine… and then enjoy a cold beer on the riverside!
The Basler Fasnacht is Switzerland’s biggest carnival. You have to experience these three wild days!
The Fondation Beyeler is Switzerland’s most popular art museum – and one of the finest worldwide.
Basel is a great place for music lovers, with concerts and music festivals throughout the year.
Plenty of nice coffee shops and great restaurants will delight your palate in Basel.
The most beautiful places in the Swiss Alps are easily reachable on a day trip from Basel. (Image source: Jungfrau region)