Hallo Basel answers your questions about moving to Basel

Brunnen (Fountains)

Recently, while biking home after work, I stopped to get a drink of water at one of the many fountains I pass during my commute.  You don’t have to spend much time here before you notice them, they’re strewn all over Switzerland.  I once mentioned them to a Swiss friend in the context of features I like about Switzerland and her blank look betrayed how she took them for granted.  I suppose this is easy to do when living in a country so overflowing in beauty and abundance but not wanting her to remain unappreciative I felt moved to explain why I like them so.
Hallo Basel explains about fountains Brunnen (Fountain)


I started with the basics, the water itself.  Simply stated, it’s perfect.  Not possible to improve.  Cool, fresh and free.  


Next is their ubiquity.  Hiking, running or biking, their water has slaked my thirst in every corner of the country.  As a dog guy, one feature I especially like is that many incorporate a nice little perpetually refilling bowl for your thirsty pup.


Equally entrancing is their varied and charming appearance as well as the Swiss culture they represent.  Far from mere public bubblers, they’re art, crafted from stone, bronze and cast iron, many with gilded figurines. 

History & Culture

They’re also a walk through history.  Bern, which calls itself the “City of Fountains”, boasts over 100, including 11 classics from the 16th century. Their most notorious may be the Kindlifresserbrunnen  (child eater fountain), starring an ogre holding a bag of squirming babies, devouring them as if they’re M&Ms.  Hans Gieng, the 16th century Fribourg artist responsible for most of these, may have had a good explanation for this one but, alas, it was lost to posterity.  In Basel, Pascal Hess and Martin Stauffiger developed a terrific website for their 2002 Maturarbeit project which catalogs Basel’s 231 fountains, a tool begging for use in the creation of a treasure hunt.  Their guide is especially useful for those wishing to take a dip on a hot summer day as it notes in which fountains bathing is permitted. 

Hallo Basel Fountain at Fischmarkt

My daughter’s favorite is the Schöneck-Brunnen nestled at the corner of Mühlenberg and St. Alban Vorstadt. 

Standing out among many, Basel’s most famous has to be the ornate Fischmarkt Brunnen (pictured here), Switzerland’s oldest and believed to have been in operation since 1390.  Zürich, as usual not to be outdone, offers guides and brochures to assist in the enjoyment of the 1,224 fountains scattered throughout the city. Number 1 on their list is the Amazonenbrunnen which was the first supplied from spring water and dates back to 1430. 

Regardless of the canton, it’s clear that in both villages and cities there’s a great deal of pride and affection felt by the country’s citizens for their fountains.   Well deserved, too, as this network of structures brings together elements of culture, art, history, environment and economics while offering the opportunity to stroll through the centuries in the community of your choice, satisfying your thirst when desired.  And rest assured that while they may be old, they’re subject to typical Swiss quality standards, meeting the same contemporary ISO 9001:2000 certified test requirements as the water flowing from the household tap. Wow, my friend said when I finished my exuberant if impromptu lecture, you’re right!  Sometimes it takes a foreigner to point out the little things that we overlook, even while enjoying them every day.

If you have questions, Hallo Basel we can point you to the answers.

Ask us a question and we will call or email you back, completely free of charge. No strings attached. Simply a helping hand from those a few steps ahead on a similar journey.