Basel is a European cultural center: Almost 40 museums, some of world renown, such as the ‘Fondation Beyeler’ and the ‘Kunstmuseum’, the Basel Theatre staging plays, operas and ballet, as well as 25 further small theatres, a musical stage, countless galleries, and music stages of all sizes all contribute to a rich cultural life. The city ranks with the European élite in the fine arts, as is demonstrated by its hosting ‘Art Basel’, the world’s leading contemporary art fair.

The geographic location of Basel – between Vosges, the Black Forest and the Jura Mountains – gives the city more than its fair share of sunshine (as many as 300 days a year!) and one of the warmest climates in Switzerland. 

The once fortified settlement is today a financial and commercial hub with a key focus on life sciences. Today, Basel is by far the largest pharmaceutical cluster in Switzerland and one of the world‘s leading life sciences locations.


Research and education play an important role in Basel’s wealth: the city runs excellent schools, one of Europe’s oldest universities and an innovative University of Applied Sciences.

In Switzerland, there is no national school system, as the schools are run by the member states (cantons) individually. In Basel-Stadt, the primary goal for schools is to give the children a good basis for a professional career. Parents are considered partners of the school. Employers and training companies are also in close contact with the intermediate schools. After school there are two major pathways for children. About 50% of all teenagers start an apprenticeship after leaving school, which is a little different than in most other countries. The person is employed by a company but still attends school school for a couple of days each week. After 3–4 years you receive a state-certified diploma. The other 50% head off to universities all across Switzerland, as you are accepted automatically to every Swiss university.

The mission of the International School Basel is to provide an international education to the highest recognized academic standards.

The School is committed to promoting learning, cultural awareness and international understanding and to developing respect and appreciation for people of all nationalities, religions, and cultural backgrounds.

Five of the best universities in the world are located in Basel and the surrounding area. In addition to the University of Basel, the Shanghai index also cites the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in Zurich, the University of Zurich, the University of Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany), and the University of Strasbourg (France).

Basel University, founded in 1460, is the oldest in Switzerland. Today it has about 13,000 students in seven faculties: science, humanities, medicine, economics, law, psychology, and theology.

The "Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz", FHNW (University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland) has departments in Basel, Muttenz, Olten, Aarau, Solothurn, and Brugg (all smaller towns around Basel). The FHNW is less academic than the university and sees itself as a research partner for private industry in a wide variety of fields. Often student already work part-time with companies while doing their studies.