Basel Local Customs

  • Graettimaa
    Graettimaa
    by Airpunk
  • Laeckerli Huus
    Laeckerli Huus
    by csordila
  • Autumn Fair at Petersplatz
    Autumn Fair at Petersplatz
    by german_eagle

Most Recent Local Customs in Basel

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    August 1st is the Swiss holiday

    by thinking Written Jul 23, 2004

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    What the sausages are for Aussies and the huge steaks are for the Americans, the humble pork chop is for switzies when inviting to a BBQ. Children get a cervelat and the adults indulge in plain pork chops usually served with some salads and crisps or pommes chips, as they are known here.
    Of course I am joking here, about the idea that Swiss people only know to grill chops!!!
    August 1st is our national holiday (as you have certainly learned now by reading this months Insights Column from Robin Daellenbach). This day is for many Swiss people THE occasion to throw a huge BBQ party for family and guests, so why not add a twist this time with these recipes for “differently” stuffed pork chops.

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    Traditionally Swiss & Insights for Outsiders

    by thinking Written Jul 23, 2004

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    Basel on the Rhine

    William Tell is the National hero in Switzerland. His incredibly courageous act (shooting an apple on his son’s head with a cross bow) is said to be the catalyst for the founding of Switzerland.

    The Austrians assigned a man named Gessler to overlook their interests here. In an attempt to assess the loyalty to the Hapsburgers, Gessler placed his hat on a spike in the town square of Altdorf. All people were expected to bow to this hat before passing. William Tell and his son were passing one day and did not bow. With the intention of making an example out of William Tell, Gessler decided that his punishment would be to utilize his skill as a marksman against him instead of imprisoning him. Therefore, he placed Tell’s son against a tree, balanced an apple on his head and paced of 50 paces. Tell was expected to spear the apple with an arrow fired from his trusty crossbow. Tell loaded 2 arrows into the crossbow – took aim – and - as we are all aware, hit the target exactly. But this is not the end of the story….. Gessler was curious as to why Tell had loaded 2 arrows. Tell’s reply was simple, the second arrow was for Gessler, should his first arrow harm his son.
    Gessler was infuriated and ordered Tell to be imprisoned anyway. On his way to the castle dungeon (located in Kussnacht) Tell ship (sailing across the Lake of Luzern) encountered a storm. Tell managed to save the ship and escape the guards. Tell swam to shore and hid in waiting at the castle in Kussnacht. Upon the arrival of Gessler at the castle, Tell took aim with his crossbow again and ended the rule of Gessler in Switzerland.
    Once the Hapsburger rule was removed, the cantons Uri, Schwyz and Nidwalden signed a document of allegiance. This document, known as the Bundesbrief, was signed on the Ruetli Meadow on August 1st.
    Switzerland grew over the centuries and finally, in 1848, the Confederatio Helvetica was formed with the composition of the Federal Constitution (Bundesverfassung), which is still referred to today.

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    The Laellekoenig (Tongue King)

    by Myndo Updated Jul 5, 2004

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    Laellekoenig

    Laelle (lälle) is an old word for tongue.
    The Tongue-King is a stone face showing its tongue to the Small Basel.
    You can find it at the Middle Bridge (Mittlere Brücke).

    It was hanging on the big doorway at the bigger Basel end of the bridge.
    The original was made of copper with a crown and had a clockwork in it, so it would roll its eyes and show the red tongue to the other side of the Rhine.
    That original one can still be found in the Historical Museum in Basel. Now we have a stone face.

    Now why would someone hang something like that up?
    Big Basel and Small Basel were concurring in the old times. When the smaller Basel "invented" the Vogel Gryff and its festival, that was bigger Basels answer...

    You can find that face at the facade of the house at Schifflaende 1. But also in othe places.

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    Wild Maa at Vogel Gryff

    by Myndo Updated Jul 5, 2004

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    Wild Maa

    The Wild Maa (wild man) is another of the three Representants of the three Ehrengesellschaften of the smaller Basel. (see under Vogel Gryff tip)

    For a child is it an impressive and maybe frightening figure. It wears a crown and belt of ivy with apples in it and it is swinging a smaller tree ....

    But the apples are special. The children are trying to "steal" one of them from the Wild Maa....
    And if you are a woman and happen to get one of them as a present from the Wild Maa it is said that you are going to be pregnant - and soon!

    7 kgs of apples the wild man has on him - but as you see in the picture they are all already gone ... so maybe he is not so a bad guy at all?
    But uiuiui that tree can stitch if you happen to get to careless!

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  • Unlike in France, when the...

    by sarahkathryn Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Unlike in France, when the Swiss greet good friends they do so by kissing three times, not twice. Everyone also shake hands with everyone when arriving and leaving, not just the oldies. Unfortunately I still havn't quite worked out when exactly to do what, how do you judge if your friendship has reached kissing terms or is still at the handshaking stage?!?! Can anyone enlighten me?!?!

    However, there are a lot of French people in Basel, they kiss twice. The Italians, there a quite a few of them too, kiss once. And if someone is being really mean and wants to confuse you then it's four!

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    Amazingly enough the country...

    by Packerman Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Amazingly enough the country that hosts 4 different languages (3 which are official), most people I've encountered in Basel only speak German. However, I have not been to any musuems or places where you need to buy a ticket, maybe those places are different.

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  • Maybe not everybodys first...

    by Toby_Swiss Written Aug 25, 2002

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    Maybe not everybodys first place to go if new in Basel - but definately worth knowing: The Zoo of Basel. One of the most popular and famous Zoos all over the world, located quite central and always a nice place to relax...

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  • Definately one of the most...

    by Toby_Swiss Written Aug 25, 2002

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    Definately one of the most beautiful parts of Basel is the old town. Situated around Barfüsserplatz and Marktplatz most of its houses are not younger than 650 years. Small alleys, peaceful little shops and old tiny cafés create an unforgetable atmosphere, in a way that you can't believe that you're actually in the middle of a quite lively town!

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    Switzerland ranks as my...

    by Michael_D Written Aug 24, 2002

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    Switzerland ranks as my favorite travel destination. Its natural beauty , excellent services and ease of getting around is a huge plus. The only downside is it is a bit expensive..oh not Scandanavian/expensive..but pretty close.Switzerland is one country where reasearching bed/breakfasts and hostels will pay off if you are on a budget. If youre hearty enough and the weather co-operates it may be the best camping in all of Europe.

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    The Daily Gathering of Nannys & their charges

    by thinking Written Nov 17, 2004

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    Babies & with their nanny

    The babies are so cute in this calm, tranquil environment. It is really quiet and safe with no fear here. It is a wonderful place to read, rest, and live your life.

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    NO CAR

    by nygaston Updated Aug 28, 2004

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    Town Hall, Market Place

    Use the tram, the bus, the bike or the swimming !
    You can walk or bike in the city.
    But please, try not to use the car !

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    American Women's Club in Basel

    by thinking Written Aug 14, 2004

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    walking across the bridge in Basel

    It is good to meet other women who have lived in Basel.
    They have a luncheon every Friday as well as a yearly program beginning in September.

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Basel Local Customs

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