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Awarded as UNESCO Cultural Heritage: The Carnival of Basel (Basler Fasnacht)

Aktualisiert: 13. Juli 2023

First things first, on this site you will find all the information about the Carnival of Basel and its UNESCO entering. If you want to know more about our Carnival in Basel, we invite you to embark on an immersive journey into the lively world of Basel Carnival through our affiliated portal, "Visit the Basel Carnival". The platform, designed for easy navigation and entirely in English, delivers a complete suite of comprehensive guides, user-interactive maps, and straightforward booking facilities to enhance your experience of this extraordinary event. Dive into the core of the festivities here, and enrich your understanding of the globally celebrated tradition and spectacle that Basel Carnival offers, brought to life through a plethora of valuable information.


Our Carnival and the UNESCO World Heritage


The Carnival of Basel (Basler Fasnacht), a cultural event that attracts thousands of people every year, has been added to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO on December 7th, 2017. The decision was made by the twelfth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage on Jeju Island, South Korea.


The event, which unites music, oral expressions, and handicrafts, is an integral part of the social, economic, and political life of the city of Basel and helps shape the city's spirit. Its inclusion in the Representative List highlights the importance of language, particularly the Basel dialect, in conveying cultural heritage.



Carnival of Basel in the UNECSO World Heritage: The Basel artist mask (Basler Künstlerlarve) does its part.


As larva makers, we are incredibly proud of the Basler Fasnacht and the city of Basel for this achievement. We have been aware of the significance of the Basler Fasnacht for a long time, and it's great that now everyone knows. We have been making Basler Künstlerlarven for decades and are happy to contribute to this enormous autonomous apparatus.


The UNESCO video for the Basel Carnival - with footage from the Larven Atelier Charivari


The UNESCO video about the Basler Fasnacht includes footage from the Larven Atelier Charivari, and in the film, the founder and owner of the studio, Roman Peter, speaks about the tradition. Watch it here:




Click here for quick questions and answers to the Carnival of Basel, its UNESCO award, the Basler Künstlerlarve and its context, instead of reading the article.


Carnival of Basel (Basler Fasnacht) included in the UNESCO list


The Carnival of Basel (Basler Fasnacht) has been inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since December 7, 2017. The decision of the twelfth Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was announced on Jeju Island in South Korea.

The Basel Fasnacht is a cultural event that attracts thousands of people year after year. The diverse tradition combines music, oral expressions and crafts. Fasnacht is present in many aspects of the city's social, economic and political life and shapes the spirit of Basel. Inclusion in the Representative List reinforces the visibility of the intangible cultural heritage in the urban area and underlines the important role of language, in this case the Basel dialect, in conveying this cultural heritage.


Exemplary candidacy


The candidacy has been recognized by UNESCO as exemplary because it highlights the use of dialect to communicate the intangible cultural heritage. The proposed preservation measures are supported by UNESCO. They concern in particular the promotion of the participation of the younger generations through the promotion of young musicians or through educational material for the schools of Basel.


Other Swiss traditions


In October 2014, the Federal Council approved a proposal list of eight Swiss traditions whose candidacies are being submitted to UNESCO on an ongoing basis for inclusion on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In addition to the Basel Carnival, this list of proposals includes the Wine Festival in Vevey, which was included on December 2, 2016, as well as watchmaking, Swiss graphic design and typography, the Swiss Alpine season, yodeling, historical processions in Mendrisio, and dealing with avalanche danger, whose candidacy was submitted in March 2017.


Protection of the intangible cultural heritage


Through the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, UNESCO aims to address and protect a cultural heritage that is not so much related to buildings or spaces, but primarily to time and to community practices and social interactions. This heritage includes living traditions such as oral expressions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festivals, knowledge and practices in dealing with nature and the universe, and expertise in traditional craft techniques. Intangible cultural heritage thus reflects cultural diversity and bears witness to human creativity.



By being inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the Basel Carnival not only receives international recognition, but also a certain responsibility. Those responsible must ensure that the traditions and customs of the Basel Fasnacht can be preserved and passed on in the future.

This also includes involving the younger generation in the traditions and motivating them to participate in the Basel Fasnacht. Musical promotion of young people as well as educational material for the Basel schools are important components to keep the Fasnacht tradition alive in Basel.

The inscription of the Basel Carnival in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is a proud moment for the city of Basel and its inhabitants. The tradition is not only a significant cultural event, but also an important part of Basel's identity.

Its inclusion in the list is also another example of the importance of preserving and protecting intangible cultural heritage. With the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, UNESCO has created an instrument to protect and promote cultural diversity and human creativity. The inscription of the Basel Carnival on the Representative List is another milestone on this path.


Questions and answers about the article above and the context:



What is the Carnival of Basel (Basler Fasnacht)?

The Carnival of Basel is a cultural event that combines music, oral expressions, and handicrafts and is an integral part of the social, economic, and political life of the city of Basel.


When was the Carnival of Basel included in UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity?

The Carnival of Basel was included in UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on December 7, 2017.


Who made the decision to include the Carnival of Basel in the UNESCO list?

The decision to include the Carnival of Basel in the UNESCO list was made by the twelfth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage on Jeju Island, South Korea.


What is the significance of the Carnival of Basel for the city of Basel?

The Carnival of Basel is an important part of Basel's identity and helps shape the city's spirit. It is also significant in the city's social, economic, and political life.


What are the components that make up the Carnival of Basel?

The components that make up the Carnival of Basel include music (Trommeln und Pfeifen, Guggenmusik a.m), oral expressions (Schnitzelbänke u.a), and handicrafts such as the Basler Künstlerlarve (Basel artist mask), or the various Costume tailors and lantern painters.


What role does language play in conveying the cultural heritage of the Carnival of Basel?

Language, particularly the Basel dialect, plays an important role in conveying the cultural heritage of the Carnival of Basel.


Who are the larvenmacher (mask maker) and why are they proud of the Carnival of Basel's inclusion in the UNESCO list?

The Larvenmacher are proud of the Carnival of Basel's inclusion in the UNESCO list because they have been aware of its significance for a long time. They have been making Basler Künstlerlarven for decades and are happy to contribute to the tradition.


What does the UNESCO video about the Carnival of Basel include?

The UNESCO video about the Carnival of Basel includes footage from the Larven Atelier Charivari, and in the film, the founder and owner of the studio, Roman Peter, speaks about the tradition.


What preservation measures are supported by UNESCO for the Carnival of Basel?

The proposed preservation measures supported by UNESCO concern in particular the promotion of the participation of the younger generations through the promotion of young musicians or through educational material for the schools of Basel.


What other Swiss traditions are on the list of proposals for inclusion in the UNESCO list?

Other Swiss traditions on the list of proposals for inclusion in the UNESCO list include the Wine Festival in Vevey, watchmaking, Swiss graphic design and typography, the Swiss Alpine season, yodeling, historical processions in Mendrisio, and dealing with avalanche danger.


What is the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage?

The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage is a UNESCO convention that aims to address and protect a cultural heritage that is not related to buildings or spaces, but primarily to time and to community practices and social interactions.


What is the goal of UNESCO's Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage?

The goal of UNESCO's Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage is to protect and promote cultural diversity and human creativity.


What types of cultural heritage does the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage aim to protect?

The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage aims to protect living traditions such as oral expressions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festivals, knowledge and practices in dealing with nature and the universe, and expertise in traditional craft techniques.


What responsibility comes with being inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity?

Being inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity comes with the responsibility of ensuring that the traditions and customs of the Carnival of Basel can be preserved and passed on in the future.


How can the traditions and customs of the Carnival of Basel be preserved and passed on in the future?

To preserve and pass on the traditions and customs of the Carnival of Basel, it is important to involve the younger generation in the traditions and motivate them to participate. Musical promotion of young people as well as educational material for the Basel schools are important components.


Why is it important to involve the younger generation in the traditions of the Carnival of Basel?

Involving the younger generation in the traditions of the Carnival of Basel is important to ensure that the traditions are carried on into the future and do not die out.


What is the importance of the inclusion of the Carnival of Basel on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity?

The inclusion of the Carnival of Basel on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity not only receives international recognition, but also highlights the importance of preserving and protecting intangible cultural heritage.


What is the Larven Atelier Charivari?

The Larven Atelier Charivari is a studio that makes Basler Künstlerlarven (Basel artist masks) for the Carnival of Basel, Theater-Groups or other Stageevents, Art colletors u.m.m.


Who is Roman Peter, and what does he speak about in the UNESCO video?

Roman Peter is the founder and owner of the Larven Atelier Charivari, and he speaks about the tradition of the Basler Künstlerlarve and the Carnival of Basel in the UNESCO video.


What is the economic impact of the Carnival of Basel on the city?

The Carnival of Basel has a significant economic impact on the city, as it attracts thousands of people every year and brings in tourism revenue.


How long has the tradition of the Carnival of Basel been around?

The tradition of the Carnival of Basel has been around for over 700 years.


What is the significance of the Basel dialect in the Carnival of Basel?

The Basel dialect is an important part of the Carnival of Basel, as it helps convey the cultural heritage of the event.


What other events and festivals are celebrated in Basel?

Other events and festivals celebrated in Basel include the Art Basel fair, the Basel Autumn Fair, and the Basel Tattoo.


What is the history of the Vevey Wine Festival?

The Vevey Wine Festival has been held every 20 years since 1797 and celebrates the wine-making traditions of the Lavaux region.


What is the history of watchmaking in Switzerland?

Switzerland has a long history of watchmaking, dating back to the 16th century.


What is Swiss graphic design and typography?

Swiss graphic design and typography are renowned for their minimalist and functional style, and have had a significant impact on the design industry.


What is the Swiss Alpine season?

The Swiss Alpine season is the period in the year when the alpine pastures are used for grazing and cheese-making, typically from June to September.


What is yodeling?

Yodeling is a form of singing that involves rapid changes in pitch between the chest voice and the head voice. Its a swiss tradition also.


What are historical processions in Mendrisio?

Historical processions in Mendrisio are a tradition that dates back to the 16th century, and involve the reenactment of historical events and figures.


What is avalanche danger dealing?

Avalanche danger dealing is a practice that involves assessing and managing the risk of avalanches in mountainous regions.


How does the Carnival of Basel reflect cultural diversity?

The Carnival of Basel reflects cultural diversity through its combination of music, oral expressions, and handicrafts, as well as the use of the Basel dialect to convey cultural heritage.


What is the role of community practices and social interactions in the Carnival of Basel?

Community practices and social interactions are an integral part of the Carnival of Basel, as it brings people together to celebrate and participate in the traditions.


How can tourists participate in the Carnival of Basel?

Tourists can participate in the Carnival of Basel by attending the various events and parades, wearing costumes and masks, and enjoying the music and food.


What are some traditional foods associated with the Carnival of Basel?

Traditional foods associated with the Carnival of Basel include Mehlsuppe (flour soup), Zwiebelwähe (onion tart), and Fastenwähe (lenten tart).


What is the significance of the Basler Künstlerlarve in the Carnival of Basel?

The Basler Künstlerlarve is a traditional mask worn during the Carnival of Basel and is an important part of the event's cultural heritage.


What is the significance of music in the Carnival of Basel?

Music is an integral part of the Carnival of Basel and helps to create a festive atmosphere during the various events and parades.


What is the significance of handicrafts in the Carnival of Basel?

Handicrafts, such as the Basler Künstlerlarve masks, are an important part of the Carnival of Basel and reflect the city's artistic traditions.


How has the Carnival of Basel evolved over time?

The Carnival of Basel has evolved over time to incorporate new elements, such as new music and costumes, while still maintaining its traditional elements.


What is the significance of the Carnival of Basel for the people of Basel?

The Carnival of Basel is an important part of the identity of the people of Basel and helps to shape the city's spirit and social, economic, and political life.


What is the dress code for the Carnival of Basel?

There is no specific dress code for the Carnival of Basel, but many people wear costumes and masks.


What is the weather like during the Carnival of Basel?

The weather during the Carnival of Basel can vary, but it is typically cold and often rainy or snowy. Typical February/march weather.


What is the best time to visit Basel for the Carnival of Basel?

The Carnival of Basel typically takes place in February or March, and it is recommended to visit during this time to experience the event.


What is the best way to get around Basel during the Carnival of Basel?

The best way to get around Basel during the Carnival of Basel is on foot, as many roads are closed to traffic during the event.


Are there any safety concerns for tourists during the Carnival of Basel?

Tourists should be aware of pickpockets and large crowds during the Carnival of Basel, but overall it is a safe event to attend.


What is the cultural significance of the Carnival of Basel for Switzerland?

The Carnival of Basel is an important cultural event for Switzerland and reflects the country's rich artistic and cultural heritage.


How does the inclusion of the Carnival of Basel on the UNESCO list impact tourism in Basel?

The inclusion of the Carnival of Basel on the UNESCO list can attract more tourists to the city and increase tourism revenue.


What is the economic impact of the Carnival of Basel on Basel?

The Carnival of Basel has a significant economic impact on the city, as it brings in tourism revenue and supports local businesses.


How does the Carnival of Basel promote the use of the Basel dialect?

The Carnival of Basel promotes the use of the Basel dialect through its music and oral expressions, which help to convey the cultural heritage of the event.


What is the significance of the Carnival of Basel's inscription on the UNESCO list for the preservation of intangible cultural heritage?

The inscription of the Carnival of Basel on the UNESCO list highlights the importance of preserving and protecting intangible cultural heritage, and sets an example for the preservation of similar cultural events and traditions around the world.



More information and sources:


Photo: Musuem of Cultures Basel; classic Waggis mask by Larven Atelier Charivari


Unesco.ch, 11.12.2017


Fasnachts-Comité Ressourcen, 07.12.2017


Fasnacht.ch Beitrag, 07.12.2017


Medienmitteilung Bundesamt für Kultur, 07.12.2017

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