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Old 08.09.2011, 00:18
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Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

Are the Swiss in Basel more laid back and relaxed and open to people from different countries than here in Zurich?

I always hear that Geneva and Zurich is very muilti kulti
but what about Basel?

Do you strike up a conversation with a Swiss from Basel more easily than the Zurich crowd, who tend to observe everything that is not Swiss German, more correctly Zuri Deutsch, as off limits?
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Old 08.09.2011, 00:29
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

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Are the Swiss in Basel more laid back and relaxed and open to people from different countries than here in Zurich?

I always hear that Geneva and Zurich is very muilti kulti
but what about Basel?

Do you strike up a conversation with a Swiss from Basel more easily than the Zurich crowd, who tend to observe everything that is not Swiss German, more correctly Zuri Deutsch, as off limits?
Kinda hard to make a blanket statement like that....

Basel, due to all the pharma employees, is pretty multi-cultural but as many are scientists as opposed to corporate (business degree) types, the feeling is maybe a bit different.

Also, Basel, due to having both French and German influence probably has a different feel to Zürich as well - not having been there though, except to hop on and off airplanes, it is rough for me to say.

Laid back? Definitely the general feel of the city - as someone who is not working - is a lot more laid back than when I lived in Chicago (as example) BUT far from being as laid back as when I lived in Daytona Beach.
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Old 08.09.2011, 00:35
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

well I needed to know since I am thinking of heading there or Bern next weekend for a day and night trip.

Just stopped in Basel once on my way to Paris so do not have much of a clue about it.

But what I have heard, it has a fantastic arts scene etc.
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Old 08.09.2011, 00:41
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

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well I needed to know since I am thinking of heading there or Bern next weekend for a day and night trip.

Just stopped in Basel once on my way to Paris so do not have much of a clue about it.

But what I have heard, it has a fantastic arts scene etc.
I've heard the same.

My downstairs neighbors are an "artsy" couple, working at a theatre that shows indy films and he also teaches piano. Very cool couple.

Just walking around the city, I imagine there are plenty who are like them.


One thing to keep in mind is that Basel is almost a "tale of two cities" type place. Grosse Basel and Klein Basel, on opposing sides of the river with distinct personalities to the communities on either side. So far as the particulars about the differences and what the people are like, hopefully some of the folks who experience more of the museums and nightlife here can offer more insight. (I'm chained to the house much of the time. )
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Old 08.09.2011, 16:22
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

I've been in Basel nearly a year and I think I've only properly met one Swiss person. I'm in Kleinbasel and it is very mixed nationalities - which I like. I met the swiss woman in the Gym. She spoke english, and when I asked where she was from she said she was ''Swiss as a cow"!!

I think if you hang out in cool, artsy places - you'll meet cool artsy people. If you go to quiet, stuffy places - that's the kind of people you'll meet there.
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Old 10.09.2011, 08:17
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

Basel is crazy about football (the round ball which you kick with your feet), its dialect and Hip-Hop. They're as open as any other "big" Swiss city, but you are the one that has to adapt to those forms of local patriotism.

Inbetween that you will find people who don't give excrements about those things and are actually nice to hang out with.
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Old 10.09.2011, 18:17
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

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Swiss...laid back...relaxed...open to people...Zürich
all those words in the same sentence...

no seriously, Basel >>> Zürich
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Old 10.09.2011, 18:50
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

I work in Financial Services and based on my experience, the Swiss from Basel are more warm and friendly. The Zurich Swiss can also be nice and friendly. Then again, people are different. I have only been here a year and so far, from my experience- I just happen to get along more with the Swiss people from Basel.
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Old 10.09.2011, 23:28
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

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The Zurich Swiss can also be nice and friendly
Certainly my impression, I've been here for about a week and have found the Zürchers to be friendly, relaxed and easy to talk to - contrary to some things I've heard here. Haven't been to Basel (yet), but I'm sure generalisations are of little use.

Go with the right frame of mind and hang out in the kind of places where you'll meet like-minded people and you'll have a great time.
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Old 10.09.2011, 23:41
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

I've been around for 20 years between Zürich, Geneva and Basel. It's hard to summarize a city in few words. I don't like generalisation too much, so frankly, both Zürich and Basel can be nice cities.
The only difference I would dare to formulate is about money. There is more money around in Zürich. Few negative consequences: lots of tasteless show off, but not only from the Swiss, and quite a large part of the population trying to keep up with money aristocracy and failing ridiculously. HOWEVER: Zürich's money pays for a lively city that one can enjoy and profit from even without playing richman. The lake would be sad without those expensives boats. Basel doesn't have that money, so doesn't have the life this money finances in Zürich but doesn't have the show off circus either. One could even say that Basel's money is concentrated in a very little overclass and the rest of the population is proud to be workers living in a city with good museums. Zürich has nice galleries, that's the difference: Zürcher money high class can pay for art, Basler can just afford to look at it.
But that is a generalization, the only one I dare to articulate here but still a generalization, by definition very imperfect.
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Old 11.09.2011, 00:16
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

i agree that zurich can be annoyingly money/image/status oriented. some experiences:

- as i don't need to wear a suit to work, i normally dress casually - so quite often, i noticed that people would ignore/blank me when i was dressed casually

- one person i who was a FOAF basically ignored me for about 4 months until he learned that i had a senior position in a firm and thus was a useful contact after which he quickly got my contact details and started talking to me

- girls who very unsubtly ask you a series of questions in the first 30 seconds designed to work out how much money you earn and your status within the company you work for - in one case, i brushed of the questions with vague answers and got 2 follow-up questions to work out exactly my job title and seniority! if anyone needs to know if they are being paid enough, just talk to a zurich girl - they will probably be able to tell you what you should be earning based on your company and job title

- very image conscious. you will be looked down on if you don't look perfect and are wearing the right clothes. normally i dress like crap but on the few occasions where i make an effort, i do notice a big difference.
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Old 11.09.2011, 01:23
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

I haven't yet been to Basel, but it sounds like I might like it a lot more than Zurich...

I've heard that there is an actual art scene there! (I'm still amazed at the lack of one in Zurich). Does anyone know if there are a lot of art galleries in Basel? (not the uptight, pretentious ones but more of the laid back, wow-i-can-actually-afford-this type).
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Old 11.09.2011, 10:16
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

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I haven't yet been to Basel, but it sounds like I might like it a lot more than Zurich...

I've heard that there is an actual art scene there! (I'm still amazed at the lack of one in Zurich). Does anyone know if there are a lot of art galleries in Basel? (not the uptight, pretentious ones but more of the laid back, wow-i-can-actually-afford-this type).
There are a lot of galleries and museums in Basel. In addition to these: http://www.museenbasel.ch/ there are a number of little galleries/shops with quirky and original work dotted all over the place, on main, otherwise uninteresting shopping streets and tucked away as little gems elsewhere. Whether affordable or not, depends on your budget . I'm commissioning something from a local artist I saw exhibiting at a charity fundraising exhibition up the road from me. A bit more than the two paintings I brought over from a local artist at home, but it's a very different kind of work.

I haven't quite figured out what's going on at this place yet http://www.dreispitz.ch my German's not quite up to working out if you can visit, but there are a lot of artist workshops here.
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Old 11.09.2011, 11:36
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

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I haven't quite figured out what's going on at this place yet http://www.dreispitz.ch my German's not quite up to working out if you can visit, but there are a lot of artist workshops here.
The Dreispitzhalle, yes. They have special events. Next one:
http://www.dreispitzhalle.ch/Kalender/aktuell
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Old 11.09.2011, 12:31
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

Excellent, thank you very much Faltrad!
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Old 11.09.2011, 13:07
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

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I haven't yet been to Basel, but it sounds like I might like it a lot more than Zurich...

I've heard that there is an actual art scene there! (I'm still amazed at the lack of one in Zurich).
I've heard there is a lively art scene in Winterthur, though. I would really like to check it out.
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Old 11.09.2011, 13:46
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

Can recommend Winterthur for culture and friendliness.
Many people talked to me there and often smiled, too!!
St Gallen was also good for this.
I like ZH a lot, but seems less friendly to me.
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Old 11.09.2011, 16:47
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

I have been living in Basel for 5 weeks now, and I have found no issue speaking to the locals. They seem quite friendly and open when approached, and have yet to give me any indication of this supposed swiss closedness.
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Old 11.09.2011, 17:44
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

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I haven't yet been to Basel, but it sounds like I might like it a lot more than Zurich...

I've heard that there is an actual art scene there! (I'm still amazed at the lack of one in Zurich). Does anyone know if there are a lot of art galleries in Basel? (not the uptight, pretentious ones but more of the laid back, wow-i-can-actually-afford-this type).
In all the years of living in Basel, I found there are some amazing artists (take a look at the Fasnacht lanterns, for example), but very little in the way of an independent art movement where you can go in and buy relatively inexpensive works of art. Unfortunately
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Old 11.09.2011, 17:54
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Re: Swiss mentality in Basel and Zurich

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I work in Financial Services and based on my experience, the Swiss from Basel are more warm and friendly. ...
According to my Zürcher friends, this is true, only if you're not a Zürcher. Which is a bit sad really.
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