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Local News Summary of November, 12th

  • Companys closes shop at Marktplatz 
  • The final bell of the 547th Basler Herbstmesse officially rings out 
  • Car destroyed in motorway accident after driver loses control 

Companys closes shop at Marktplatz 

Companys, a Danish-owned fashion retailer, is to close its Marktplatz branch in February 2018. 

The city centre branch of the multi-brand retailer will hold a clearance sale until the closure. Companys belongs to the Danish DK Company concern and sells a range of Scandinavian fashion brands. 

The closure of the shop means that Companys will no longer be present in Basel’s city centre but its outlet shop at Stücki shopping centre will remain open. The other Company branches in Switzerland are in Zurich, Lucerne, and Zug. 

The final bell of the 547th Basler Herbstmesse officially rings out 

Exactly two weeks after the start of the Basler Herbstmesse, its ceremonial closure took place yesterday (Saturday) at noon when official bell ringer, Franz Baur, rang out the fair in the Martinskirche tower. The fair, however, will actually finish tonight. 

The custom of ringing the Herbstmesse in and out is actually an old Basler tradition: The «Mässglöggli», the fair-bell, which hangs in the tower of the Martinskirche, has been rung since the Middle Ages as the signal for the start and the end of the fair. For the last 29 years, the bell ringer has been Franz Baur. 

After the last chime of the 12 o'clock bell, the strenuous work starts – since Franz Baur must ring the bell for 15 minutes by hand. To hear its beautiful chimes, Baslers young and old gathered at the Martinskirchplatz or climbed the 117 wooden stairs up to the tower, to join the ringer. 

According to the tradition, the ringer is given a black woollen glove before ringing in and the ringing out as a reward for his hard work. For the ringing in, he receives the left glove, then to be sure that he appears at the ringing out, he receives the right glove two weeks later. 

Until 1926, the autumn fair always started on 27th October. Since then, however, the start of the fair has coincided with a specific day of the week; it has always been on the last Saturday before 30th October. Two weeks later, on the Sunday, it is all over. This might have something to do with the long tradition that the ringing out happens on a Saturday. In the old days, the fair might have ended on a Saturday. And those did not have enough after two weeks can still stroll around the stands on Petersplatz for two more days. This exception too has a long tradition in Basel. 

Car destroyed in motorway accident after driver loses control 

A young driver and his two passengers escaped injury after the car they were in crashed into a barrier on the A2 motorway on Friday night. 

The accident happened at around 9.30pm shortly after the car entered the motorway at the St.-Jakob-Strasse junction. 

According to a traffic police investigation, the 21-year-old driver lost control in wet conditions near the Wolf motorway entrance and crashed into a concrete barrier. The car spun around before coming to a halt in the opposite direction. 

The driver, who only passed his driving test seven months ago, and his passengers – a man aged 20 and a 19-year-old woman – were uninjured. The left lane of the motorway was closed for several hours during the recovery operation. The car was a complete write-off.