Closing of Basel’s Central Post Office

In recent years, in an era where emails often replace letters and online banking makes a trip to the bank or post office for paying bills unnecessary, the Swiss Post has been closing down many of their branches or converting them to agencies placed within other local businesses. The most prominent victim of this reorganization in the region is Basel’s old central post office (Hauptpost Basel). Located in the heart of the city center at Rüdengasse 1, it was shut down on November 12, 2021, after 168 years of operation at this location. The continual decline in walk-in traffic at this central location, which was only exacerbated during the pandemic, made the facility no longer profitable. It was originally scheduled to be shut down in 2018, but following some political intervention, the closing date was postponed until 2020, and finally until the end of 2021.

© wikipedia / andreas schwarzkopf

The Swiss Post currently operates 23 branches throughout Canton Basel-Stadt. The two downtown locations at Spalen 3 and Elisabethen 10 will remain in operation, and one or two additional postal agencies will be set up centrally to offer everyday postal transactions, including one at the Orell Füssli bookstore on Freie Strasse, which will provide postal services during the shop’s normal opening hours (Monday to Friday from 9:00-18:30, Thursday until 20:00, and Saturday until 18:00).

The Hauptpost’s historic sandstone building was built in the 14th century, originally as a department store in the heart of the city. In 1853, it was converted into a post office building and expanded accordingly. The future plans for the magnificent building are at present unsure. According to its owners, the AXA Investment Foundation, it will undergo extensive renovations starting in mid-2022 at the earliest. All that has been promised thus far is that the outside of the building should not change visually, and that the building should be open for public use in the future. For now, the mailboxes, the business customer office, the letter box, and the Postomat on Rüdengasse will continue to be available to customers. Meanwhile, the Jobfactory shop has temporarily moved into the former post office hall to sell attractive, diverse, and local products that benefit the Jobfactory’s very important social engagement.