How the little ones come out on top
Basel operates a child and family-friendly social policy: the City invests a great deal in additional family day care and is expanding its services for families even further. Children and young people benefit from optimal medical and nursing care in the University Children’s Hospital. In 2013, Basel was awarded the “Baby Friendly Community” certificate by UNICEF.
There is a park and several playgrounds in every district. Neighbourhood streets with reduced speed limits make outdoor playing and exercise safer. The Children’s Office is committed to the needs of children in the planning and design of the living environment, and is an advocate for the rights of children. And the Familienpass (Family Pass) provides children and their parents with reduced price entry to swimming pools, skating rinks, the zoo or the cinema. But this list doesn’t include by far all the measures, amenities and facilities available for families, teenagers and children.
Baleidoskop.ch gives parents and children the opportunity to explore and experience Basel in a variety of ways.
Basel for Children
Basel has recognized how important children and families are for the city's future. Therefore, the government promotes an extensive range of local services. The city has invested a lot of money into creating more child care facilities for children of pre-school age. Local authorities and employers work together to create family friendly working conditions.
During the past 10 years, many new day care centres were founded. The "Fachstelle Tagesbetreuung" gives advise on all issues concerning child day care. There is also a network of day mothers. A number of public institutions, such as the university and some of the big companies in Basel, have also set up their own crèches.
Children and health
The University Paediatric Hospital, centrally located in Basel, provides children and teenagers with state-of-the-art medical care. Over 60 paediatric physicians and about 30 child psychiatrists are available. In addition, there is a network of advisors for young families in all community centres answering all questions concerning babies and small children.
Short and safe routes
Children should be able to walk around their homes on their own as much as possible. Therefore, there are several playgrounds and at least one park within walking distance in every neighbourhood. Traffic-calming measures have been introduced on an increasing number of roads to make them safer for children. The community centres available in all neighbourhoods always welcome families and children.
The "Kinderbüro" (Children's Office) provides a central contact point for children, adults, authorities and institutions on topics or issues related to children. The aim of the Kinderbüro is to make sure that children are involved in the planning and design of residential districts, to defend their rights and to build a powerful lobby for the children. The Kinderbüro also runs a small bistro, where children prepare snacks and wait on customers.
There is a broad range of courses for parents and families offered by the city. This comprises information evenings, discussions, lectures, seminars and courses given by specialists drawn from a variety of different institutions. The programme is available at the Department of Youth and Family.
The "Familienpass" Region Basel is a relatively new offer for families in the Basel area. Families pay a small annual fee of CHF 30.- and receive a pack of vouchers for reduced entry tickets to museums, the zoo, public pools and ice rinks or the cinema. There is also a number of shops with special offers for members.
"Familien- und Erziehungsberatung"
When parents argue or separate, or if parents fail to give their children the necessary support, the "Familien- und Erziehungsberatung" (Families and Educational Advice Office) arranges psychological support and therapy as well as advice on who to contact next. There is also a crisis hotline for children.
Leisure for Kids
There is a lot to do!
The four "Robi" playgrounds offer a special adventure environment for children and teenagers. The playground has no fixed equipment: the children and the caretakers build their own equipment. The children also help to set up the changing activity programmes organised on the playground. Self-initiative is the key here. During the summer and autumn vacations the "Robi-Spiel-Aktionen" association organises day-camps and special adventure weeks in Basel and the surrounding area.
A number of public swimming pools, indoor swimming pools, two ice-skating rinks in winter, countless football pitches and some 50 basket ball courts, as well as a large number of other sports facilities are available for use by children (and their parents...). Many of the more than one hundred sports associations in the region have junior sections. Trend sports, such as inline skating and skateboarding can be pursued in indoor and outdoor arenas throughout the year. All activities can be found in the Sportkalender.
Several of the major museums have special programmes with (multilingual) guided tours, theme afternoons and workshops. The following museums are fun for children: the "Spielzeugmuseum" (Toy Museum) in Riehen, the "Papiermühle" (Paper Mill) in St. Alban, the "Naturhistorische Museum" (Natural History Museum), the "Fondation Beyeler" in Riehen, the "Antikenmuseum" (Museum of Ancient Art), the "Museum der Kulturen" (Museum of Cultures) as well as the "Tinguely Museum".
Theatre and circus kids
Both the Basel Theatre and other playhouses in the region present plays suitable for children - and not only during the Christmas season. The "Basler Kindertheater" (Children's Theatre) stages plays for children all year round. In addition, there are a variety of youth circuses in the region which put on shows mostly during the summer months, and in which children can play an active part.
Cinemas in Basel present more than just the standard international film productions aimed at children and teenagers. A special film club provides additional cinematic know-how: children aged between 6 and 11 are introduced to the world of cinema at the "Zauberlaterne" (Magic Lantern). Parents are not allowed.
Book kids and game kids
Libraries run by the "Gesellschaft für das Gute und Gemeinnützige", GGG (Association for the Public Good), with their multimedia children's and youth departments are found throughout the city. Three "Ludotheken" offer the same service with games and toys. And the "Interkulturelle Kinder- und Jugendbibliothek" (Intercultural Children's and Youth Library) offers the widest possible variety of children's literature in many languages.
The "Dreiland-Ferienpass" (Three Nations Holiday Pass) for 6 to 17 year-olds is valid internationally and offers a boundless variety of fun, sport and games during the summer holidays from July to August. All activities are free or cost only a small charge.
"Kinderferienstadt" (Children’s Holiday City)
In the spring at the spacious and leafy Schützenmattpark, in the summer at the Old Town Wall in St. Alban-Tal, in the autumn at the new Claramatte park in Kleinbasel on the north bank of the Rhine - these are the sites of the "Kinderferienstadt" (Children's Holiday City). Here, with the exception of –supervisors, Basel belongs completely to children. Workshops, circus experience, an introduction to traditional craftsmanship and plenty of sport and fun are offered.
Membership of the "Colour Key" offers young people between 15 and 25 years of age a wide variety of leisure opportunities. Members benefit from some 50 free offers - including the zoo, museums and many sporting facilities – and around 200 reduced-entry tickets to parties and concerts.
The "Colour Key" is supported by the "JuAr Basel", a state-subsidised association for children and adolescents. This association operates several youth centres and local club houses for the young, offering a wide range of fun and craft activities.
The city of Basel has a well-developed network of youth centres, known as Jugendtreffpunkte. They are equipped with a good infrastructure for various activities (games, toys, libraries, Internet corner, courses, music rooms, parties etc.), and represent an important pillar of youth culture.