Basel, Switzerland’s third city in size with a population of more than 171,000 inhabitants (2012), is located by the Rhine and on the borders to France and Germany. A famous place nearby is the Dreiländerecke where the three countries meet at a fork in the Rhine river.
By Britta Rossander
The city is well known for its rich cultural life and prosperous finance sector. It has several important museums for art, architecture and design, such as Kunstmuseum Basel, Museum Tinguely, Fondation Beyeler in Riehen, Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum and Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein. In early summer the Art Basel is arranged, one of the major fairs for contemporary art. In the same fairgrounds, almost in the center of town and spread out over several blocks, a world famous watch and jewelry show has been arranged since 1917. Today it encompasses more than 2,000 exhibitors from 45 countries and audiences are usually around 95,000 people.
Baselworld, as the fair is known today, is held in spring – right when the magnolias and tulips stand in bloom and the asparagus is ripe for harvesting. The world’s biggest, most important and most well attended watch and jewelry show welcomes not only business professionals but also the general public. During the show weekend all you have to do is buy an entrance ticket, step inside and enjoy. The history of the fair goes all the way back to 1917 and the very first Schweizer Mustermesse Basel (Muba), which was in part aimed at watches and jewelry.
1925: Muba invited several watchmakers.
1931: Schweizer Uhrenmesse (Swiss Watch Show) was arranged for the first time in a separate pavillion.
After 1972, Basel became Europe’s meeting point, now also inviting companies from France, Italy, Germany and Great Britain.
1983: The show was renamed Basel with two digits representing the year, such as Basel 83.
1986: Companies from outside Europe participated for the first time, mirroring the increasing number of visitors from non-European countries.
1995: The show was renamed Basel 95 – The World Watch and Jewelry Show.
In 1999, a new hall was introduced, increasing the fairground’s space with another 36,000 square meters.
2000 saw a 6 percent increase in the number of professional visitors.
In 2003, the fair once again got a new name: Baselworld – The Watch and Jewelry Show.
2004: A new exhibit hall complex increased total floor space to 160,000 square meters. More than 89,000 visitors came to see the show.