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Old 01.08.2008, 03:29
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Hello all!

I am new to this site, and have been having a look around for answers to my questions, but not many seem Basel related - so forgive me for my first post being full of questions!

We are english but currently live in Australia. We are looking to move closer to home (missing family, now have 1 yr old twins), and my hubby has been offered a good job in Basel. I have never been to Switzerland, so am ignorant and nervous about possibly moving there. If you can help with any of my questions, I'd be VERY grateful!

Firstly, house renting/buying... we want to buy. But, would rent for 6 months/yr to get a feel for it all, towns etc. Having two one yr olds and a cat, we'd want a family house with garden etc, prob 4 beds. We'd live out of Basel, maybe half hr commute to city... is this possible? i would hate apartment living. From the research i have done, rentals seem to have 5 yr contracts, are there any shorter term options? what sort of price would we be looking at for rental and buying??

Healthcare: any info appreciated!

Schools: How does schooling work in Basel? we would like them to at least learn local languages at school and would consider a native speaking school - are they any good? what do private schools cost? what age does school start there?

Cars: We have a ford falcon station wagon here and would need an equally huge car for the double buggy! Dont mind something old with high kms, what sort of price?

Utilities/shopping: what do you pay/month for bill and groceries?

OK!! Thats it for now.. sorry for the full-on first post! It could all happen within the next couple of months, so I am trying to get as much info as fast as poss!!

THANKS!!!

PS As an english person, can you just buy a house in Basel, or are there criteria you must meet first etc? thanks!

Last edited by evilshell; 01.08.2008 at 04:30.
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Old 01.08.2008, 11:08
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Re: Many questions about Basel

Well, though a long post, the questions boil down to:

- Einfamilienhaus with Garten, 4 bedrooms (makes for a 5.5+ room house), pets allowed/Haustiere gestattet.
Homegate lists this one in Pratteln, just down the road from BS.
50m to Kindergarten, near train station and autobahn, shops on main street to train station.

- schools and levels: see related threads in Family, but CH manages to produce not-too-illiterate simpletons by the truckload (your irony meter should go *twoink* )

- cars/van: have a look on ricardo.ch for an idea of prices/mileage or use the "Erweiterte Suche"/extended search on the left. Else, search threads in Transportation

- health care: obligatory health insurance, see comparis.ch for prices, they depend a bit on where you settle and the level of selfcoverage (amount you pay before Krankenkasse pays up. This is cumulative over the calendar year). All other questions: see threads in Health.

- Utilities: hard to tell for a house, depends if heat/water is included (Nebenkosten/NK inkl.), but phone generally is 25 Fr./mth for the connection, ADSL somewhere around 49 Fr., TV and radio are taxed tri-monthly by Billag (probably the most bile-generating company in all of Switzerland).

Good luck!
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Old 02.08.2008, 22:23
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Re: Many questions about Basel

Hi,

I won't even try & be as informative as the last post but will just relate from our personal experience.

We moved just over a year ago & found that most houses we looked at had a 2 year contract. Our village is a 20 minute drive into the centre of Basel or 50 mins by bus/tram. We are not on the tram line so prices are slightly cheaper here but a car in my opinion (2 small children) is essential. We pay 2,700 CHF monthly for a 3 bedroom newly built house with garden in a very pretty & child friendly location.

Our eldest daughter currently goes to the local Spielgruppe & we have no qualms in sending them both through the local system.

A few months ago, we purchased a plot of land in the same village & hope to have our new house built by next spring.

I wish you a very safe & stress free journey & hope you will be as happy as we are.
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Old 03.08.2008, 08:44
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Re: Many questions about Basel

Thanks so much Twiglet and Marmoset!
Twiglet - which village are you in? Good to hear local schools are fine, I have investigated the prices of international schools - not going to happen!!!
Did you find it hard to rent a nice house with garden?

Marmoset - thanks heaps for the links and info, great!

Jude
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Old 04.08.2008, 00:04
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Re: Many questions about Basel

Hi!

To get an idea on food prices you can check out the internet shops for Migros and COOP (the 2 main chains for food) www.leshop.ch or www.coop.ch .
Depending on where you live - other alternatives than Migros and COOP may be available as well.
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Old 04.08.2008, 00:10
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Re: Many questions about Basel

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Depending on where you live - other alternatives than Migros and COOP may be available as well.
Being Germany and France

No point in not calling a spade a spade: quality here is good, but prices can be steep. A lot of people head across the border for basic (and not so basic) staples, as prices may be half of what they are in Switzerland.
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Old 04.08.2008, 00:37
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Re: Many questions about Basel

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Being Germany and France

No point in not calling a spade a spade: quality here is good, but prices can be steep. A lot of people head across the border for basic (and not so basic) staples, as prices may be half of what they are in Switzerland.
One of the benefits of living in Basel

That's true - border shopping may lower the total groceries bill.
It also depending on what you compare with (e.g. where one lived before...) - the prices in Switzerland may be higher on some things, but equal or lower on others...
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Old 04.08.2008, 02:23
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Re: Many questions about Basel

thanks for this, i shall check out those shopping sites! sussing out cheap nappies and toddler formula with will the biggest shopping saver we can make!
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Old 04.08.2008, 10:09
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Re: Many questions about Basel

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thanks for this, i shall check out those shopping sites! sussing out cheap nappies and toddler formula with will the biggest shopping saver we can make!
Definitely, one of my former work colleagues always asked me to bring some jars of Hipp babyfood from Germany.
Price at LeShop: 2.60 SFr.
Price at Schlecker.de (druggist/Drogerie in G): 7€20 for 6, i.e., 1.20 for 1 * 1.60 chf/eur = 1.92 SFr. for one.

Nappies? Wouldn't be caught dead with them, erm, didn't have the space in my backpack (no car) .

Some other stuff: onions
Net 1kg at Migros: 3.20 SFr.
Net 1kg at Plus: 0.29 Eur * 1.60 chf/eur = 0.47 SFr.

Toast bread (I normally buy whole wheat, price diff. ratio about the same):
LeShop: 2.50 SFr. / 0.5kg
At Plus.de: 0.69€ * 1.60 chf/eur = 1.10 SFr

I head on over (am further away from border, small expedition really) to Jestetten (Zurich's Weil am Rhein so to speak) once a month, barely ever buy for more than 60€ (big 80L backpack full to bursting) as I can't shlep it home. Lasts for a good 3 weeks (am single).

You get the idea.
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Old 04.08.2008, 11:08
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Re: Many questions about Basel

awesome, thanks!! Had a look at le shop and it seems that prices on there are really comparable to here in aussie, so that helps me work out sums... Especially if i can expect to get it cheaper over in Germany.. Its so hard to know if the wage we are being offered is enough!!
shame you cant help recommend some good nappies though....

Cheers!
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Old 04.08.2008, 15:52
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Re: Many questions about Basel

The local schools are good (our daughter, age 12, has done fine in them) but if you think you might want the international school, then your husband should negotiate this into his contract before you come. Some of the companies will pay for this at least the first few years. It's almost impossible to get them to pay for this after you're here.

Groceries are expensive here, but if you are working at home and can go shopping frequently, then the sales can be very good - as cheap as Germany or France most the time. I used to go to Germany in the past, but once I figured out the sales and started working from home, I don't often bother anymore, except for a few items.
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Old 04.08.2008, 16:20
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Re: Many questions about Basel

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Firstly, house renting/buying... we want to buy. But, would rent for 6 months/yr to get a feel for it all, towns etc. Having two one yr olds and a cat, we'd want a family house with garden etc, prob 4 beds. We'd live out of Basel, maybe half hr commute to city... is this possible? i would hate apartment living. From the research i have done, rentals seem to have 5 yr contracts, are there any shorter term options? what sort of price would we be looking at for rental and buying??

Healthcare: any info appreciated!

Schools: How does schooling work in Basel? we would like them to at least learn local languages at school and would consider a native speaking school - are they any good? what do private schools cost? what age does school start there?

Cars: We have a ford falcon station wagon here and would need an equally huge car for the double buggy! Dont mind something old with high kms, what sort of price?

Utilities/shopping: what do you pay/month for bill and groceries?

OK!! Thats it for now.. sorry for the full-on first post! It could all happen within the next couple of months, so I am trying to get as much info as fast as poss!!

THANKS!!!

PS As an english person, can you just buy a house in Basel, or are there criteria you must meet first etc? thanks!

First of all: welcome to the forum!

Housing in the Basel area is insanely expensive - calculate between 800'000 and 1.2 million CHF for a normal sized house on a major road or near the tram line, 1.5 million for a bigger and/or quieter house.
A semi-detached in a noisy area will go for about 750'000.
You'll be required to come up with at least 20% of that amount yourself in order to get a mortgage from a bank. Because of the banking issues in the US and the UK that's more like 30% right now - and you need to have an excellent credit history and a high income.
You're probably better off renting a house than buying one until you've settled in and accumulated a good credit history in Switzerland.

Health-care is mandatory here - costs between 250 and 450 Fr. per family member / month for full coverage, between 200 and 350 for basic coverage (which is quite good - the only thing you absolutely have to get is the nation-wide free choice of doctors / hospitals option as you're confined to the canton you're living in otherwise - and hospitals in Baselland are horrible (well, compared to other cantons, they're still all better than anything you'd get in say Germany, France or England).

Schools: if you're planning on staying, the only option that will help your children integrate and learn German is public schooling. Public schooling in Switzerland is excellent. I'd never even consider an international school here.

Ways to save money:

- Move to Baselland (20% lower taxes). The communities with the lowest taxes around Basel are Therwil, Oberwil, Bottmingen and Binningen. Allschwil and Münchenstein are rather high. Muttenz is ok too, but we've lived there and would never move there again - I didn't like the constant smell (chemical industry) and the overall low quality of living there.
Forget about Pratteln.

- Buy food in Germany - good quality, much lower prices and you get the VAT back. You can import up to 300 CHF of goods tax-free and you still get the German VAT back. Meat costs about 1/3 there (I'm not kidding).

- Car: don't go overboard with the size of your car. I'm aware that you might need a huge car in Australia but here in Switzerland big cars, especially SUVs, are frowned upon. Gas prices are extremely high here (about 7 USD for the gallon) and very soon, big cars will be taxed massively higher than smaller ones. Parking lots are very small here - forget about parking a minivan or an SUV in Basel. I'd go for a Japanese car with good mileage - a Prius for example. If it has to be a minivan, buy a French one (Renault Espace), they're safe and have massively better mileage than the American ones.

peter

peter
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Old 04.08.2008, 21:29
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Re: Many questions about Basel

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- Buy food in Germany - good quality, much lower prices and you get the VAT back. You can import up to 300 CHF of goods tax-free and you still get the German VAT back. Meat costs about 1/3 there (I'm not kidding).
Hi Infoseeker,

To pad out above statement, here's the Swiss Customs list of how much of each food item can be brought in, for a max total of 300 SFr per person.
Warning: it says "at one's home"! That's open to interpretation as "per household", so some customs officers (not all) won't allow the quantity to be multiplied by number of adults in the same household.

Tip: beef/pork/mutton fresh or frozen: max 0.5kg (hardly worth it for the couple of cutlets or mince meat)
However, processed/dried/smoked/canned meats of same animal group: 3.5kg!
Load up on the cold cuts (typically 200-250g packages) of anything ham, salami, serrano, bologna, smoked bacon etc. Prices range from 0.99-1.99€
(1.60 - 3.20 SFr.), whereas in CH you'll hardpressed to find any cold cuts, same weight, under 3.80 SFr.
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Old 04.08.2008, 22:36
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Re: Many questions about Basel

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Warning: it says "at one's home"! That's open to interpretation as "per household", so some customs officers (not all) won't allow the quantity to be multiplied by number of adults in the same household.
If you read the German version, you'll find that it's just an inaccurate (literal) translation of "private use". We sometimes imported exactly the allowed amount of food multiplied by four persons and this unproblematic, except if you have the words "German Food Imports GmbH" painted on your car.
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Old 05.08.2008, 02:51
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Re: Many questions about Basel

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If you read the German version, you'll find that it's just an inaccurate (literal) translation of "private use". We sometimes imported exactly the allowed amount of food multiplied by four persons and this unproblematic, except if you have the words "German Food Imports GmbH" painted on your car.
And I've had an Über-Zöllner demand proof of different addresses when I drove over with my brother

Just depends what mood they're in I guess, but in the German version it clearly says "pro Person", so keep a copy of that list handy, just in case.
In fact, I have it on the pinboard next to the door so I don't forget it
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Old 05.08.2008, 03:12
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Re: Many questions about Basel

Excellent, this is all great, thanks guys! Where do i find the german version? cheers!
Peter, all this is excellent... we have to go with a big car because of our double buggy for our twins, trust me, i'd much prefer a small town car! We shall have to try and find the most economical car which it fits into. The kids just need to blinking hurry up and walk, haha
As for house buying - OMG!! I looked online at homegate etc yesterday and thought we may be able to get something for 800K in the areas you mentioned which is high anyway, but they were probably on big roads... not great with a roaming cat. As for mortgages, can you get 3x salary as per UK, or is it different? if thats the case, we'll never be able to buy....
would def rent at first even if we could afford to buy, to have time to suss out how it all works and different areas to live etc.
*SIGH*... really wanted to be able to buy a house....

right, must track down a german language CD!! ;o)
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Old 05.08.2008, 10:08
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Re: Many questions about Basel

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Excellent, this is all great, thanks guys! Where do i find the german version? cheers!
Easy, same link, click on Deutsch for german version (top right)

Translation problems? Plug the offending word into Leo!

More "shopping across the border" links:
German supermarkets :
Weil am Rhein
Lörrach

French supermarkets in:
full list in Haut-Rhin (Alsace) (curiously no Carrefour )
St. Louis: Géant, Rond Point (Coop Alsace), ATAC, Intermarché
Huningue: Match,
Mulhouse: Carrefour
To get there, click on the "plan d'accès" mentioned on the websites
Pesky French? Leo French!
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Old 05.08.2008, 10:55
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Re: Many questions about Basel

excellent, cheers!! My french is pretty good... unfortunately my german is non-existant..ahhem....
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Old 05.08.2008, 11:36
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Re: Many questions about Basel

Addendum:

Marktkauf in Weil am Rhein turns out to be in the Rhein Center Mall.
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Old 16.08.2008, 13:14
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Re: Many questions about Basel

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...
French supermarkets in:
full list in Haut-Rhin (Alsace) (curiously no Carrefour )
...
Actually, there's a Carrefour in Mulhouse, about a 20 minute to half hour drive from Basel, right off of the main French highway, you can't miss it.

details
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