Riehen in the canton of Basel-Stadt is a fashionable residential suburb situated on the border with Germany that boasts magnificent monumental buildings. It has successfully evaded further urbanisation. Riehen has achieved worldwide fame above all thanks to the Fondation Beyeler.
The history of Riehen can be traced back to the Neolithic Age. The town was sold to the city of Basel in 1522. At that time, wealthy Basel families began to acquire land and build stately country estates. Thanks to the fertile soil, more than 20,000 fruit trees once thrived here. In the 20th century, the municipal authority decided that Riehen should not be threatened with further urbanisation. This decision is still in evidence today, with Riehen feeling like a village despite its size. The extensive district lies nestled between the vine-covered Tüllinger Hill and the forested Dinkelberg hills.
The densely developed historic centre is dominated by the medieval fortified church complex. Some of the houses date back to the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The Fondation Beyeler is nearby with its outstanding museum building designed by Renzo Piano, which has brought Riehen international renown.
Around Riehen are villas with extensive parks – most impressively the manor estates of Bäumlihof and Wenkenhof. The French Garden in front of the New Wenken boasts statues, pavilions, fountains and other decorative elements from the Baroque period.
Basel’s central cemetery, the largest in Switzerland, can also be found in Riehen. The Hörnli cemetery takes the form of a large, beautifully designed park and is a haven of tranquillity.
ISOS is the Federal Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites of national importance. The inventory is maintained by the Federal Office of Culture (FOC) and lists the most significant settlements in Switzerland. Today, some 1,200 places are included in the inventory, from hamlets right through to cities. The inventory provides information on the development and identity of the settlements listed in it, thereby contributing to the preservation of architectural diversity in Switzerland and promoting both sustainable planning and a high-quality Baukultur.