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Muensterplatz in Basel, Switzerland
Muensterplatz in Basel, Switzerland
Muensterplatz in Basel, Switzerland

Basel, Switzerland

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Sep 17, 2022

Summary: Basel, Switzerland has approximately 170,000 residents and is situated on the Rhine River. Basel is known for its museums, The University of Basel (the oldest in Switzerland), its beautiful Old Town and yearly Fastnacht or Carnival. Expats confess that life in Basel if very expensive and takes some adjustment. In this article, they offer advice to help ease your transition. Apartment Hunting Tip: ask if a building has rules that prohibit flushing toilets and showering during certain times of day. These types of rules exist and you should be aware of them before you sign a lease!

William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance

What do I need to know about living in Basel?

Live in Basel? Answer this Question

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Basel, they said:

"Watch out for the landlords. Protect yourself as the business people appear, but are not, honest. They have little ethics. The city is central to everything and getting around is easy. If you like culture, this city has a lot to offer. The food is terrible. It is very expensive to live there. There are no provisions for working women. Men are very chauvinistic. I made a number of friends and do like the Swiss, but watch out for the ethical guidelines as they are not like ours," said another expat in Basel.

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

What do I need to know before moving to Basel?

Live in Basel? Answer this Question

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Basel, they said:

"Make sure you visit the apartment first and bring your US furniture with you and as much US things as possible to save yourself money. Be careful about furniture fitting up stairways. Be careful about silly rules...no flushing of toilets or taking showers during certain hours, etc," said another expat in Basel.

How do I find a place to live in Basel?

Live in Basel? Answer this Question

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"I used a relocation agent who showed me multiple neighborhoods and described pros/cons. I then asked colleagues what they thought and went for their recommendations," said another expat in Basel.

What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Basel?

Live in Basel? Answer this Question

"A multi-level city apartment in the center of town. No. It is hard to find an apartment like this. They are highly desirable and usually are taken by Swiss citizens," commented one expat who made the move to Basel.

What is the average cost of housing in Basel?

Live in Basel? Answer this Question

If you are thinking about moving to Basel, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"Higher, but an apartment like I had in NYC would have been much more expensive. $3000 per month plus utilities for a two bedroom apartment," remarked another expat living in Basel, Switzerland.

What should I bring when moving to Basel?

Live in Basel? Answer this Question

People living in Basel were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"1. More lamps (you can use european light bulbs) 2. A multisystem tv purchased on the internet and 220 appliances. 3. A videocam system to see my family. wish I had left at home... 1. All electrical appliances that I thought I could easily convert. 2. My rugs...you can purchase great ones in Turkey and they were damaged in the move. 3. My favorite glass items..they were broken," commented one expat who made the move to Basel.

Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Basel accepting of differences?

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"Yes, there are a number of Turks. Discrimination is great. I found my landlord, who owns Muki Shoes, dishonest as he refused to return my rent money which was erroneously deposited in his account by my bank through direct rental payment. I think the Swiss businesses take advantage of Americans. They are envious of us, but hate us as well," remarked another expat living in Basel, Switzerland.

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

What are the schools in Basel like?

Live in Basel? Answer this Question

"Make arrangements for a tour of the facility and discussion of the curriculum if possible prior to enrolling," remarked another expat living in Basel with children attending International School of Basel.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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Expats in Switzerland advise newcomers to join a few expat clubs, learn German (or French / Italian), enjoy the outdoors and travel Europe.

Muensterplatz in Basel, Switzerland

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Expats BaselExpats in Basel

Expats, digital nomads & retirees talk about what it's like living in Basel.

Switzerland Index Basel Index
An index of all of our site's Basel information.

Switzerland Forum Switzerland Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Switzerland on our Switzerland forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Contribute to Switzerland Network Contribute
Help others in Switzerland by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Switzerland.

Expat Healthcare Advice in SwitzerlandHealthcare & Health Insurance in Switzerland

Expats in Switzerland offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Switzerland.

Real Estate in SwitzerlandReal Estate in Switzerland

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Switzerland.

14-Expats-Talk-about-What-Its-Like-Living-in-Switzerland14 Expats Talk about What It's Like Living in Switzerland

Expats in Switzerland advise newcomers to join a few expat clubs, learn German (or French / Italian), enjoy the outdoors and travel Europe.

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