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Moving to Basel from the UK, tips for new arrivals.

Introduction to Expat Life in Basel

Thinking about moving to Basel from the UK? You’re in for an exciting adventure! This Swiss city is not only a cultural hub but also a fantastic place to live. From its picturesque old town to its modern business district, Basel offers something for everyone. But as an expat, you might wonder about the best areas to live in, whether you need a car, how to open a bank account, and more. Let’s dive into these aspects and help you get settled in Basel with ease. Removals in Basel Classic Umzüge prepared for you a list of tips as a new comer from the UK.

Moving to Basel from the UK, tips for new arrivals.
Basel living insights for expats

What is the Best Areas to Live in Basel?

Basel is divided into different neighborhoods, each with its unique charm. Some of the most popular areas among expats include:

  • Grossbasel (Greater Basel): Known for its historical significance and cultural spots, it’s ideal for those who love being in the heart of the action. The old town is here, along with many museums and theaters.
  • Kleinbasel (Lesser Basel): Situated on the northern bank of the Rhine, this area is vibrant and diverse. It’s a bit more affordable and is known for its nightlife and international community.
  • Gundeldingen: A trendy area with lots of cafes, shops, and young families. It’s close to the SBB railway station, making it convenient for commuters.
  • Riehen: If you prefer a quieter, more suburban feel, Riehen is perfect. It’s green, spacious, and great for families, with excellent schools and parks.

What is the Best Areas to Live with Small Children?

For families with small children, areas like Riehen and Gundeldingen are ideal. They offer green spaces, playgrounds, and family-friendly amenities. The schools in these areas are also well-regarded.

Where to Look for Apartments in Basel?

Finding an apartment in Basel can be competitive. Here are some top resources:

  • Homegate.ch: One of the largest real estate platforms in Switzerland.
  • Comparis.ch: Aggregates listings from various websites.
  • Facebook Groups: Groups like “Basel Buy and Sell” and “Basel Expat Apartments” can be useful.
  • Basel Connect: Offers services and information to help newcomers find housing.
  • Local Newspapers: Sometimes, the best deals are found in print, so check out local publications like Basler Zeitung.

It’s important to start your search early and be prepared with all necessary documents to secure a rental quickly.

Is It Worth Having a Car in Basel?

Basel’s public transport system is excellent. With trams, buses, and trains, you can get anywhere you need without a car. Parking can be challenging and expensive in the city center, so many expats find it more convenient to rely on public transport. However, if you plan to explore the Swiss countryside often, having a car can be beneficial.

How to Opening a Bank Account in Switzerland?

For UK citizens, opening a bank account in Basel is straightforward but requires some documentation:

  • Passport
  • Residence permit
  • Proof of address

Banks like UBS, Credit Suisse, and PostFinance are popular choices. Tips from fellow UK expats suggest making an appointment and bringing all necessary documents to avoid multiple trips. It’s also helpful to have a reference from your employer if possible. Some banks may offer special packages for expats, so inquire about these options.

Getting a Residence Permit for Family Members

If you’re bringing family members to Basel, you’ll need to apply for a family reunification visa. The process can be complex and requires:

  • Proof of accommodation
  • Proof of financial stability
  • Marriage and birth certificates

It’s crucial to start this process well in advance and consult with local authorities or your employer for guidance.

Learning German: Is It Necessary?

While many people in Basel speak English, learning German can significantly enhance your experience. Removals in Basel Classic Umzüge thinks It’s particularly useful for dealing with local authorities, healthcare, and integrating into the community. Free German courses are sometimes offered by local municipalities or community centers, so it’s worth checking these options.

German vs. Swiss German Dialect

While learning High German (Hochdeutsch) is beneficial, understanding Swiss German dialects can be a plus, especially in social settings. Most official communication and written materials are in High German, so prioritize that first.

Social Life: Pubs, Bars, and Restaurants

Basel has a vibrant social scene. Removals in Basel Classic Umzüge recommend you some popular spots for you:

  • Zum Braunen Mutz: A traditional Swiss pub with great local dishes.
  • Bar Rouge: Offers stunning views of the city from the 31st floor of the Messeturm.
  • Klara: A trendy food court with international cuisines and a lively atmosphere.
  • Markthalle: Near the train station, it has a large selection of food stalls, an ice cream place, and a beer bar.

Forums and Facebook Groups for Expats

Connecting with other expats can make your transition smoother. Moving company in Basel found some useful forums and groups for you:

Real-Life Case: Moving to Basel from the UK

Amelia’s Journey: “I moved from London to Basel with my family. Initially, we struggled with finding the right apartment but eventually settled in Gundeldingen, attracted by its family-friendly atmosphere. Having a car was unnecessary due to the efficient public transport. Opening a bank account took a bit of paperwork but was manageable. Learning German was essential for integrating into the local community, and I attended free courses offered by the city.”

George’s Experience: “I arrived during a cold season from California, so the weather was a bit of a shock. The first challenge for me was adjusting to the climate. I moved to Kleinbasel for its lively nightlife and proximity to work. I didn’t need a car and enjoyed the convenience of the tram network. Opening a bank account was smooth, and I appreciated the English-speaking staff at my local UBS branch. I joined several expat groups on Facebook, which helped me make friends and get insider tips on living in Basel. Fasnacht is a must-see; the early morning start is magical!”

Anne’s Story: “I moved to Basel with my young child and chose to live in Riehen due to its excellent schools and green spaces. Finding housing was easier after spending some time in an Airbnb to explore neighborhoods. I found that learning German was crucial for communicating with teachers and other parents. I joined local forums and expat groups, which provided invaluable support during our transition.”

FAQ: Basel Expat Life

  • Is Basel a good place for expats? Absolutely! Basel is welcoming, with a strong expat community and excellent amenities.
  • Where is the best place to live in Basel for families? Riehen and Gundeldingen are popular choices for families due to their parks and schools.
  • Do I need a car in Basel? Not necessarily. The public transport system is excellent.
  • How do I open a bank account in Basel? You’ll need your passport, residence permit, and proof of address.
  • Is it necessary to learn German? While many speak English, learning German is beneficial for integration and daily life.
  • Are there free German courses available? Yes, check with local municipalities or community centers for free course offerings.
  • Should I learn High German or Swiss German? Start with High German, as it’s used in official settings, but understanding Swiss German can be helpful socially.
  • What are some good social spots in Basel? Zum Braunen Mutz, Bar Rouge, and Klara are popular among expats.
  • Where can I connect with other expats? Join Expats in Basel or forums like The English Forum and Internations Basel.

To Wrap It Up

Living in Basel as an expat can be a rewarding experience with the right preparation. From finding the best neighborhoods and understanding local transport to opening a bank account and learning the language, this city offers a vibrant and welcoming environment for newcomers. If you need assistance with your move, our moving company in Basel Classic Umzüge is here to help. Send us an inquiry, and we’ll provide a free moving quote without obligation.


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