Basel or Basle is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the River Rhine. Basel is Switzerland's third-most-populous city with about 175,000 inhabitants. The official language of Basel is German, but the main spoken language is the local Basel German dialect.
Basel is commonly considered to be the cultural capital of Switzerland. Basel is famous for its many museums, ranging from the Kunstmuseum, the first collection of art accessible to the public in the world and the largest museum of art in Switzerland, to the Fondation Beyeler and the Museum of Contemporary Art, the first public museum of contemporary art in Europe. Forty museums are spread throughout the city-canton, making Basel one of the largest cultural centres in relation to its size and population in Europe.
The University of Basel, Switzerland's oldest university, and the city's centuries-long commitment to humanism, have made Basel a safe haven at times of political unrest in other parts of Europe for such notable people as Erasmus of Rotterdam, the Holbein family, Friedrich Nietzsche, Carl Jung, and in the 20th century also Hermann Hesse and Karl Jaspers.