Basel, Switzerland, is a weird place. It sits at the confluence of the Rhine River, where Switzerland, France and Germany meet, so parts of the city have a very industrial feel, yet other areas have definitely maintained a touch of charm, especially in the historic downtown area.
I’ve been trying to think about just the right things to say about Basel since I’ve been home, as it’s home to a number of museums and culturally and historically interesting, but I haven’t really been able to decide how I feel about it.
One of the things I enjoy searching for when I visit new towns is the local street art (see my favorite shots from Reykjavik), and when I had a free afternoon in Basel, I went searching for art hidden in alleyways and tucked around corners. My favorite street artist, Invader, whom I’ve found in four cities around the world, has invaded Basel, so I spent some time researching where I might be able to find his art. Though I successfully found nine of his pieces in the city, I could see that many others had been forcefully removed, which made me think a bit about what a city might value in terms of art – and how much that destination can control it. What role does modern art (including street art) have in a city with historical significance? Can the two live hand-in-hand, especially when the modern art doesn’t encroach upon or take away from those things that have been in existence in a destination for many, many years?
These are the questions I thought about as I wandered around Basel, where I managed to grab a few interesting and colorful photos …
Beautiful buildings along the Rhine River.
Colorful storefronts in the historic downtown area of Basel, Switzerland.
Spotted: A rainbow of buildings.
Music on the streets.
Modern street art hidden in the back alleyways.
Colorful window shutters along this pedestrian-friendly street.