Basel is Switzerland's third most populous city (165,529 inhabitants (2006); 731,000 inhabitants in the metropolitan area stretching across the immediate cantonal and national boundaries made Basel Switzerland's second-largest urban area as of 2004[3]). Located in north-west Switzerland on the river Rhine, Basel functions as a major industrial centre for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. The city borders both Germany and France. The Basel region, culturally extending into German Baden and French Alsace, reflects the heritage of its three states in the modern Latin name: "Regio TriRhena". It has the oldest university of the Swiss Confederation (1460). The first-class location and the transportation infrastructure make Basel the top logistics center for Switzerland. Basel’s airport is set up for airfreight; heavy goods reach the city and the heart of continental Europe from the North Sea by ship along the Rhine. The main European routes for the highway and railway transportation of freight cross in Basel. The outstanding location benefits logistics corporations, which operate globally from Basel. Trading firms are traditionally well represented in the Basel Region. Basel has Switzerland's only cargo port, through which goods pass along the navigable stretches of the Rhine and connect to ocean-going ships at the port of Rotterdam. Basel is at the forefront of a national vision to more than halve energy use in Switzerland by the year 2050.

In order to research, develop and commercialise the technologies and techniques required for the country to become a '2000 Watt society', a number of projects have been set up since 2001 in the Basel metropolitan area. These including demonstration buildings constructed to MINERGIE or Passivhaus standards, electricity generation from renewable energy sources (including a hot dry rock geothermal energy project which caused significant tremors, and vehicles using natural gas, hydrogen and biogas. Basel has a reputation as one of the most important cultural cities in Europe. In 1997, it contended to become the "European Capital of Culture". In May 2004, the fifth EJCF choir festival opened: this Basel tradition started in 1992. Host of this festival is the local Basel Boys Choir.

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