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Old 04.07.2021, 21:06
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From Florida to Basel

Hello Everyone!

I've been reading the posts here over the past weeks and thought was time to introduce myself. We are relocating from Florida to Basel in October and looking forward to this new experience.

I have a few questions and was wondering if anyone have some tips.

We are a mixed race family. I work for pharma company and my husband is a musician and has a jazz / soul radio show. We have a 5y old boy. Since we need space for his music equipment, I believe we will have to live in a house outside of downtown. We thought about Riehen since not too far from where my office will be in St Alban district.

We would like to live in a place that is diverse. Any thoughts about Riehen? Any other recommendations? My son will probably go to school at ISB.

Thank you
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Old 04.07.2021, 21:22
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Re: From Florida to Basel

First, welcome to Basel (well, soon).
Riehen is about as lily-white as you can get, without venturing in to full-on SVP-territory. I don't think there are "diverse" neighbourhoods as you would know them in the US. Kleinbasel (the lower part) is probably as close as you could get to that, or St. Johann. OTOH, at least around Basel, there's no KKK-mentality, either. I have to admit, I don't really understand what you're looking for in a "diverse" neighbourhood.
Bear in mind, compared to the US, everything is super close together. So you could also look at Birsfelden, Muttenz, Münchenstein, Binningen, Allschwil etc.

Anyway, looking forward to hearing how it turns out and maybe hearing your husband play. What instrument?
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Old 04.07.2021, 21:26
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Re: From Florida to Basel

Welcome. Make sure to buy the right garbage bags. Can't help with the Basel stuff.
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Old 04.07.2021, 21:42
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Re: From Florida to Basel

@komsomolez Thanks

@Dare,

Sorry I made a mistake. I was meant to write Reinach, not Reihen.

Re 'Diverse', ideally we did not want to be the only Black & Latino family in the neighborhood. It makes a big difference.

He's a bass player and soul music Dj. Fingers crossed we will find a single family home with concrete walls and at a decent $ :-) so neighbors will not complain about loud music
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Old 04.07.2021, 22:04
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Re: From Florida to Basel

Are you thinking of Reinach because of the International school?
To get from Riehen to St Alban that’s gonna be about 45 mins ( public transport) so not close by Swiss standards.
As Dare eluded, Basel is mainly whiteish, like the whole of Switzerland in fact, so forget about finding a diverse neighborhood. Kleinbasel is diverse because it’s cheapish, and the diversity is mainly Turkish, Italian, east European and (dare I say it) the working class.
Personally I’d say try and be in Basel where the natives are used to the foreigners that Pharma brings in, if that’s a concern, but anywhere on the tram network would be ok. The locals are not rednecks!
I know mixed race families in Muttenz, Reinach and Oberwil, all perfectly happy.
Try and reduce your commute, gain an advantage from the migration here. Get the relocation people on it, but also use https://www.alle-immobilien.ch yourself to find something.
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Old 04.07.2021, 22:04
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Re: From Florida to Basel

Reinach is still lily-white, but not as posh (or wannabe-posh) as Riehen. Blacks and Latinos are relatively rare here (Latinos not as much, but still...). When you see non-white people, it's mostly Turks, Tamils or Asians. The french-speaking part of Switzerland has a larger black community, it seems.

I can now understand what you're looking for, but especially when you're looking for an "upscale" neighbourhood, we're simply not there yet. We're getting there, but slowly. As long as you don't chose the poshest neighbourhood, you will see some non-white people, but unless you're moving somewhere like the neigbourhoods mentioned above, not that many.
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Old 04.07.2021, 22:26
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Re: From Florida to Basel

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Reinach is still lily-white, but not as posh (or wannabe-posh) as Riehen.
I’d take the expat enclave of Riehen over Reinach any day of the week.
Easy into town, village feel, lovely river, countryside, used to the Pharma employees, wealthy neighborhood and cheap shopping a few hundred meters away in Lörrach.
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Old 04.07.2021, 22:37
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Re: From Florida to Basel

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@komsomolez Thanks

@Dare,

Sorry I made a mistake. I was meant to write Reinach, not Reihen.

Re 'Diverse', ideally we did not want to be the only Black & Latino family in the neighborhood. It makes a big difference.

He's a bass player and soul music Dj. Fingers crossed we will find a single family home with concrete walls and at a decent $ :-) so neighbors will not complain about loud music
Hi welcome to the forum.

As Dare mentioned latinos are scarce. I'm Mexican and people ask me if I come from Pakistan, India, Lebanon. Central and South America are simply not in the mind of people. This is just a funny story because as schoggiweggli, the locals make an effort to be perceived as pleasant. So, no problem at all.

As Dare mentioned, if you rent in an apartment building you'll find yourself surrounded by immigrants. During the ongoing football tournament I've learned about the the country of origin of my neighbors haha. If you rent outside city center a house with a garden, well diversity plunges. But, I guess it's no problem at all. After some years in Switzerland I'm finding out that the issue is not the skin color. I could have been born to Swiss mom and dad, be named Hansruedi Bolliger and lived my whole time in central Aargau (rural canton south of Basel) and still have the problem of being the only on in town. There's a strong desire for conformity, any cultural difference will be more relevant than your physical appearance. So, feel confident that it's not racism, they just want everybody to live life like them. Since we're not doing that, well.....be happy.

On noise, this is an issue. So far my only clash with the locals has been due to noise. What locals do is rent a hobbyraum (literally hobby room) in an industrial area and be free to do all the noise you want while making music, repairing a car or any other noisy job/hobby. Or look for a cultural association that already has a place perfect for this.
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Old 04.07.2021, 23:24
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Re: From Florida to Basel

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@komsomolez Thanks

@Dare,

Sorry I made a mistake. I was meant to write Reinach, not Reihen.

Re 'Diverse', ideally we did not want to be the only Black & Latino family in the neighborhood. It makes a big difference.

He's a bass player and soul music Dj. Fingers crossed we will find a single family home with concrete walls and at a decent $ :-) so neighbors will not complain about loud music
Outside of Basel the number of Blacks will be low and Latinos likewise. The number who are both black and Latino will be approaching 0 even in Basel. Certainly in Reinach you will be in a very small minority.

Thus, your aim of living in a multicultural area and getting a single family home (very difficult / expensive in Basel) are seriously in conflict. You will probably have to choose.

FWIW I am white, but my wife is Chinese. She's pretty happy out here in rural Aargau. It's Conservative and not remotely diverse (it is by nationality but the immigrants are mostly white / Turkish) but we've had no problems whatsoever. It's not the US and racial tension is a lot lower. Not saying it's perfect but with Axa above that makes two minority folk who are happy out here in SVP country (a red state if you like...). Certainly there's been nothing overt. I commute to Basel, she commutes to Zurich. You save a lot on tax being in AG rather than BS or BL. Certainly enough to get that hobbyraum where you can make loads of noise...

PS: personally at 5 I'd stick the kid in local school. At that age they'd catch up no bother.
and be pretty fluent in a year or two.

Last edited by HickvonFrick; 04.07.2021 at 23:48.
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Old 04.07.2021, 23:48
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Re: From Florida to Basel

Welcome FLtoBasel. Among the places mentioned, note that Riehen is in Basel-Stadt, where your work will be, but Reinach is in the surrounding and separate (half) canton of Basel-Landschaft. This matters not so much for commuting, but for permits and taxes etc. Welcome to one of the most subtle distinctions in Switzerland.
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Old 05.07.2021, 08:06
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Re: From Florida to Basel

Oh dear, if you are worried about diversity, are you sure you want to make the move?

Klein Basel is more diverse, but not in the same way you are used to. (The few black people you will find will be African, Latinos almost non-existent - perhaps Portuguese or Spanish immigrants.) But the atmosphere is more open minded, diverse and welcoming rather than the suburbs of Basel. However it may not be the best place to raise children as it is also where there is the most concentration of bars & night life is (including the red light district).

Wishing you all the best, we moved here from Florida and lived in Basel for 10 years, here if you need anything or have any questions. My husband is half Latino and half-Swiss.
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Old 08.07.2021, 16:12
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Re: From Florida to Basel

Welcome! I lived in Bottmingen (just outside Basel Stadt) on the tram line.
Adjusting to Switzlerland was difficult for me due to the language. However, it is important to remember that wherever you live you will seek out and find like minded people. There will always be folks who are not welcoming. There are a lot of educated and worldly people in the wider Basel area. I'm sure you will be fine.
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Old 08.07.2021, 16:21
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Re: From Florida to Basel

Welcome to Switzerland! Basel is really nice and artsy
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Old 08.07.2021, 17:22
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Re: From Florida to Basel

Thank you everyone who took the time to reply, we really appreciate!
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Old 09.07.2021, 17:42
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Re: From Florida to Basel

Hi, I live in Breite, it's just up from the Rheinweg at St Alban and walking distance of Birsfelden. It's also only 5 stops into the city centre on the tramline 3.

I'd say it's pretty diverse here, a lot of different nationalities and I frequently hear Spanish, Portuguese and Italian being spoken. A lot of my ex-pat neighbours work for Novartis and Roche. We lived in Kleinbasel before, but it got a bit too noisy during the night as we were very close to the red light area.
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Old 09.07.2021, 18:05
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Re: From Florida to Basel

I suggest that you find an apartment that is comfy and in a "good location" (based on what you find further), and as mentioned, rent a Hobbyraum. The noise levels tolerated in a more residential area are probably too low to make your life happy.

I know of a place where a colleague's band practices in Allschwil (near Letten center), but I am sure that there are other options scattered throughout the city and neighboring villages.

Also, at age 5, the local school is a great option! That will really help your boy settle in quickly and meet the neighborhood kids.
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Old 10.07.2021, 09:06
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Re: From Florida to Basel

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Oh dear, if you are worried about diversity, are you sure you want to make the move?

Klein Basel is more diverse, but not in the same way you are used to. (The few black people you will find will be African, Latinos almost non-existent - perhaps Portuguese or Spanish immigrants.) But the atmosphere is more open minded, diverse and welcoming rather than the suburbs of Basel. However it may not be the best place to raise children as it is also where there is the most concentration of bars & night life is (including the red light district).

Wishing you all the best, we moved here from Florida and lived in Basel for 10 years, here if you need anything or have any questions. My husband is half Latino and half-Swiss.
It must be very different than Zuri and its suburbs then, I found ZH city to be the least friendly place as a foreigner, even when you live in a building full of immigrants or with people with an immigrant background.

On the other hand, in my experience, the Swiss-Swiss in smaller places (in our building we were the exception at the time we moved ) were the friendliest, most welcoming and helpful people one can wish as neighbours. I'm seriously grateful to these people who knew how to make us feel welcome here. Not that I had any doubts in regards with Swiss people, but life in Zurich city in a multiculti environment was a lot less friendlier. (and we are white, is not even that, I don't know what it is)

I'm usually looking into less diverse places because the Swiss seem to be nicer and friendlier in my experience. I repeat - in my experience. I have friends from all over the world but you don't get to live with your friends.

Last edited by greenmount; 10.07.2021 at 09:19.
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