The Casino-Gesellschaft Basel Celebrates 200 Years!

The Casino-Gesellschaft Basel, originally called the Stadtcasino-Gesellschaft, is a non-profit association that owns the Stadtcasino Basel and has the aim of promoting culture in the city. It emerged from the ranks of Basel’s Lesegesellschaft (General Reading Society), which was founded in 1787. The members of the reading society wanted premises where they could devote themselves to playing games and entertainment. They began to meet in 1808, in rented rooms on Reinacherhof where people could meet, debate, and play card and board games. This became an important element of social life in Basel. However, it soon became apparent that these premises would not be sufficient in the long run.

Around the same time, enthusiasm for music grew in Basel and the desire for a new and modern concert hall was expressed. In 1820, a circle of Basel music lovers formed the “Provisorische Commission zur Errichtung eines Gesellschaftshauses” (Provisional Commission for the Construction of a Society Venue) to plan for their own building. Various locations for the construction of this society venue were examined, and the society documented the broad interest in such a venue by collecting signatures. The Basel City Council was prepared to provide a suitable building site at Barfüsserplatz, and so the Stadtcasino-Gesellschaft was officially founded on February 16, 1824. Operations at the Stadtcasino on Steinenberg began in 1826.

The Casino-Gesellschaft Basel is celebrating this 200th anniversary with its members, customers, and employees, as well as guests from politics and society, with a concert on March 1, 2024. As the owner of the Stadtcasino Basel, the Casino-Gesellschaft Basel has been providing the region with a center for classical music for 200 years. The remarkable building, which was extensively renovated from 2016-2020, is internationally renowned for its excellent acoustics—sixth-best of its kind in the world—making it a popular venue for concerts and shows of all kinds. A public anniversary event to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the opening of the first Stadtcasino on Steinenberg is planned over the course of several days in early summer 2026.

To learn more about the Stadtcasino Casino Basel, its history and renovation, read the article below, published originally in Basel Life Magazine in July/August 2020.