Switzerland explained For Members

What you can be fined for in Basel if you don't follow the rules

Sandra Sparrowhawk
Sandra Sparrowhawk - [email protected]
What you can be fined for in Basel if you don't follow the rules
Life in Basel can be costly if you don't follow the rules. Image by Birgit Böllinger from Pixabay

From wrongly disposing of your waste to making too much noise or walking your dog without a lead, life in the Swiss city of Basel can be costly if you don't follow the rules.


In 2021, the OECD Better Life Index found that Switzerland outperforms the average in income, jobs, education, health, environmental quality, social connections, safety, and life satisfaction.

But in order to maintain a  quality of life among its citizens, Switzerland has a number of rules and regulations in place, including keeping noise to a minimum and staying away from playgrounds with a dog in tow, that can result in hefty fines if ignored.

The rules and fines vary depending on where you live in Switzerland but here are four areas of everyday life you should keep on top of in Basel.


Waste disposal

According to Basel City’s Office for Environment and Energy, the cost of cleaning the city’s public areas amounts to around CHF 21 million annually, with the city cleaning department estimating the effort for clearing the littering alone to be one third of the total cleaning job.

But the issues don’t just concern the city of Basel itself. In 2021, a total of 784 fines were issued in the canton of Basel-City, 361 of which were for untimely provided Bebbi sacks and a further 235 fines were issues for illegally dumped waste, or so-called wild dumps.

Some 168 people were fined for disposing of household waste in public waste bins and 20 people for littering, carelessly throwing away small waste or leaving it lying around. Though this sounds like a lot, bear in mind that this was during Covid-19 and hence, the figures are actually significantly lower than they were during pre-pandemic times.

Here are the waste disposal-related violations you can be fined for:

Prohibited disposal of small waste, so-called littering – Fine CHF 100.

Prohibited disposal of household waste in waste bins on streets, squares and in public facilities – Fine CHF 100.

Prohibited removal of household waste, bulky goods and electronic waste in public spaces – Fine CHF 200.

Untimely disposal of waste on unfenced private forecourts near the commons border, on sidewalks or on the side of the road – Fine CHF 50.

Failure to set up a waste bin during opening hours in front of the point of sale (take-away) – Fine CHF 50.


Foreigners and locals alike are never short of praise for the Swiss transport system – and for good reason. Fast, efficient, and highly developed it gets everyone from A to Z in next to no time. It is perhaps surprising then that a significant number of people living in Switzerland choose to travel by car rather than use public transport. If you’re among them, here are some ground rules.

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According to the Polizei Schweiz, the Basel-Stadt cantonal police checked 589 vehicles around Christmas time, resulting in confiscated driver’s licenses, fines and arrests.

To spare you the same fate, we have listed the main driving offences police have observed:

Failure of the driver to wear the seat belt – Fine CHF 60.

Driving without the (right) light on – Fine CHF 40 (daylight), CHF 60. (roads and tunnel alight), CHF 40 (standard light at night-time)

Exceeding the allowed parking time – Fine CHF 40 (2 hours), CHF 60 (4 hours), CHF 100 (10 hours)


Parking on a no parking line – Fine CHF 40 (2 hours), CHF 60 (4 hours), CHF 100 (10 hours)

Not carrying the warning triangle – Fine CHF 40.

Not having your driver’s license on you – Fine CHF 20.

Failing to indicate when changing lanes or parking – Fine CHF 100.


It can be argued that nowhere else in Europe is noise regarded with such contempt as is the case in Switzerland where silence is considered somewhat sacred – and not only at night.

Thus, Switzerland has – legally – set in stone the following resting times that must be respected lest you be slapped with a fine.

Quiet times:

Afternoon rest: weekdays between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m.

Night rest: weekdays from 8 p.m. or 10 p.m. until 6 p.m. or 7 a.m.

Public Sundays and public holidays: all day

How common are fines? Not very is the short answer.


If your neighbour proves noisy on the regular (e.g., if they disturb your sleep or peace), you have the option of contacting the police about the disturbance. While the police can request they lower the noise, they cannot fine them. Fines can only be handed our if you formerly report your neighbour. Note: Calls can also be placed anonymously.


Few things are more relaxing than strolling through the city centre with your furry friend by your side, and both the canton and city of Basel offer numerous opportunities for dogs and their owners to enjoy their walk. Nevertheless, certain regulations apply in some places, such as a leash obligation or bans on entry.

Dogs are not allowed, even if not made clear with a sign, in children's playgrounds, cemeteries, public bathing areas and grocery stores, as well as wherever there are no-dog signs.

At night, in areas where dogs are allowed, they must be kept on a short leash between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Areas include: pubs and restaurants (including outdoors ones), public transport, on heavily frequented streets and squares, markets as well as bitches in general when in heat. Dogs must also be walked on a short leash wherever there are signs that require a leash.

Failure to comply with these rules will set dog owners back by CHF 100. Not cleaning up after dog's toilet trip can also lead to a CHF 100 fine if you are caught.




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