Local History

Jean Tinguely (1925-1991), Fasnacht-Brunnen, 1977. Photo: TES.

Basel Gateaway to a Civil Society

History, trade, science and art form a fluid unit in Basel, carried by citizens of the city, a civil society that is characteristic of Switzerland. Basel is not only the hub and physical gateway to this society but symbolises the involvement of citizens in their canton, city or living environment. In Basel, the Museum of Cultures (Museum der Kulturen) and the Amerbach-Kabinett were among the first art collections in Europe to be made accessible to the public. The Amerbach-Kabinett later gave rise to the Kunstmuseum. In the 1960s, the citizens voted massively in a referendum in favour of purchasing Picasso’s, at the expense of these citizens. Picasso was so impressed by this that he then donated four works to the city. Art collections can be seen not only in the largest privately financed 40 museums, but also everywhere on the street.   The so-called Fasnacht-Brunnen, usually called Tinguely-Brunnen, is a tribute to the Basler Fasnacht and was inaugurated in 1977.