University of Basel

University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland


Information Sheet: 2021 Information Sheet



Basel is the centre of north-western Switzerland, on the border with Germany and France, and located at the very core of central Europe. Identification with their city is exceptionally high, not only among the city's population, but also among those who live in the city's suburbs and beyond.
Basel City: 165,529 inhabitants
Riehen: 20,604 inhabitants
Bettingen: 1,199 inhabitants
Canton Basel-Stadt: 187,332 inhabitants
Basel projects, well beyond central Europe, the image of a progressive, environmentally conscious, international, and integrative cultural, educational, and economic metropolis. It successfully combines the intimacy of a small-town with the advantages of a city: expansiveness, wide choice, and diversity.

  • Tradition - The city of Basel is home to the oldest university in Switzerland. Founded on the initiative of local citizens in 1460, the University of Basel is a modern and attractive centre of teaching, learning, and research situated in the heart of the historic old town.
  • Self-managed - The University of Basel has been self-managed since 1996 whilst remaining under the jurisdiction of the Cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft. It provides committed individuals from all over the world with a strong academic community and an inspiring work environment. It is home to 3,500 staff. Its annual budget is approximately 500 million Swiss francs, of which one fourth each is borne by the two sponsoring cantons. The remaining costs are covered through federal contributions, third-party funding, other cantons, and tuition fees.
  • Full university status - The University of Basel has full university status. It offers degree programmes across the arts and sciences, ranging from Archaeology to Zoology. One of our distinctive strengths is the focus on «Culture» and «Life Sciences.»
  • Popular - Comprising 9,000 undergraduate and 2,000 postgraduate and doctoral students, the University of Basel is comparatively small by European standards. Our 320 professors and 1,300 academic staff are dedicated to advancing knowledge and fostering independent thinking and socially responsible action. We are proud of our high female student roll (55%) – tending upwards – and an increasing number of international students (20%).
  • Successful - Our mission is to accomplish first-class research, teaching, and public service. We rank among the world’s one hundred best universities and boast a top-ten place among German-speaking universities.


Geography and Climate  

Switzerland, one of Europe's smallest countries, with the Alps at its core, has an area of 41293 square kilometers. Its 1850 kilometers of borders link it to France in the west, Germany in the north, Liechtenstein and Austria in the east and Italy in the south.

Surrounded by the great continental cultures, its central position and control of the alpine passes have made Switzerland a classic transit region, across which goods were, and still are, moved from east to west, from north to south, and vice versa. Switzerland is a European watershed whose rivers flow in all directions, and is the source of Rhine, Rhone, and of major tributaries to Danube and Po.  140 glaciers and some 1500 lakes make Switzerland Europe's moated castle. The other major mountain range is the Jura, which extends from the Basel region along Switzerland's western border to Geneva.  The Swiss midlands lie between the Jura and the Alps, and south of the Alps lie the Ticino and a few valleys that belong to the canton of Grisons. The country's highest point, 4634m above sea level, is the Dufourspitze in the Monte Rosa massif; its lowest, at 193m, is Lago Maggiore.

Like its topography, Switzerland’s climate also varies very widely. In the west, the Atlantic is the dominant influence; in the east, continental air currents dominate; in the north, the Arctic makes its influence felt; and the south is often subjected to hot and humid Mediterranean air. The Föhn, a warm, dry southerly wind, blows mainly down the Alpine valleys and can cause severe storms; it is also often blamed for moodiness. Because the Alpine region is rather inhospitable, most of Switzerland's population is concentrated in the country's midlands, which are also used for intensive agriculture, and in its cities; the biggest of these are Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Berne, and Lausanne. Foreign nationals account for about one-fifth of Switzerland's population of some seven million, but the ratio in some cantons, such as Basel-Stadt, may be as high as thirty percent.


Switzerland has four official languages. The majority speaks German; next comes French, followed by Italian and Romantsch, an ancient form of Latin struggling for survival in the Alps. Protestants and Roman Catholics are the main denominations, the latter with a slightly higher share of the total population.


Switzerland is divided into 23 cantons, three of which are split into two half-cantons: Unterwalden  (Obwalden and Nidwalden [those above and below the woods]); Appenzell  (Innerrhoden and Ausserrhoden [those on the near and far banks of the Rhodan river]); and Basel  (Stadt and Landschaft). Though Berne is the country's capital, Zurich is the country's biggest city.

Two peculiarities distinguish the canton of Basel-Stadt from the other 25 cantons and half-cantons: like all half-cantons, it has only one representative in the Upper Chamber of the federal parliament, the Ständerat  (Council of State); and because the territory of its biggest municipality is almost identical with that of the canton, it is practically a city-state.

Welcome to Basel - ‘Basel beats differently’ is the motto with which Basel wants to draw attention to itself at home and abroad. Unique to Basel is its position in the so-called Dreiländereck, the triangle formed by the three countries of Switzerland, Germany, and France. Basel is known as an open, many-faceted cultural, educational, and economic metropolis.

Population of the Canton  Basel-Stadt at the end of the year 2006

Cultural, educational, and economic metropolis

Despite its social dynamism and innovative economic strength, Basel is a lively border town, with a strong traditional base rooted in history which can be experienced at its carnival, the Basler Fasnacht. Both its historic townscape and modern architecture are part of Basel's living present.

Contact Information

Andrea Delpho & Gérald Zimmermann 

Petersplatz 1

4003 Basel


Tel.: ++41-(0)61-267-30 28

fax: ++41-(0)61-267-30 35