Part of our Shopping Essentials series, this article deals with in-person and online second-hand buying options in Basel.
Ready to step out of the (new) box and buy second-hand? Basel has a lot of great options for anyone looking to reduce their environmental footprint, find more unique items or just hold off on yet another trip to Ikea. The city is home to a large variety of second-hand shops know as Brockis (short for Brockenhaus or Brockenstube). Here’s a quick guide to help you get started.
Furniture, Homewares & More
Many of the Brockis in Basel are general purpose stores; they carry everything from furniture to household goods to clothing and more. For anyone on the hunt for furniture specifically, I recommend checking out Ecochair.ch’s interactive map of local furniture stores. This map includes many general Brockis as well as vintage and other design stores. It’s a great place to help you plan your shopping trip and some shops have online inventories as well.
Quick Tip: Some stores, but not all, offer delivery for a fee so make sure to check if that is something you will need. Alternatively, you can find a 'man with a van' service locally.
Irma & Fred: (Claramattweg 16, 4057 Basel) This multi-story wonder hosts many items from large furniture to kitchenware to wall art, making it almost impossible to not to find something you will want to take home. They also offer a free coffee at their cafe to anyone spending over 10CHF.
Glubos: (Rappoltshof 12, 4057 Basel) Not to be confused with Globus (Basel’s high end department store) Glubos is known for its enticing window displays and offers a variety of items from large to small as well. And it’s a short walk from Irma & Fred making it easy to visit both spots on one trip.
Ecochair: (Oetlingerstrasse 49, 4057 Basel) If you are looking to go a little higher end and retro cool (as well as supporting a store with a strong environmental mission) this one is worth a visit (and yup, it’s the same store that created the handy map). It has a great online shop as well as links to local makers.
Auf dem Wolf: (Auf dem Wolf 30, 4052 Basel) It’s giant and has a large selection of larger furniture (which can be on the pricier end depending on what you are looking for). As a bonus it has a 'sale barn' where you can find some great deals and it’s my go-to spot for second-hand gardening pots. Keep in mind it is a bit of a hike from the nearest transit stop and parking is limited (though you can find blue parking at the bottom of the hill on which it sits).
Many Brockis will have sections for clothing, but Basel also has second-hand stores devoted specifically to this purpose. The second-hand clothing stores are not as numerous as the all purpose Brockis, but have found a few gems:
Anna K: (Rümelinspl. 15, 4001 Basel; Bruggweg 10, 4143 Dornach; Rössligasse 18, 4125 Riehen) This shop has locations in Basel, Dornach and Riehen and trades in mostly womens clothing (with the exception of a small mens section at the Basel store). The selection is high quality and in good condition and tends towards a moderate to higher price point for second-hand shops (though you can still get a good deal there). They take items on consignment and you can also get a punch card that gives you 12 CHF off after spending 250 CHF.
Chemiserie+: (Klybeckstrasse 50, 4057 Basel) With locations in Basel and Zurich this fun, little shop offers clothing from the practical to eclectic. It has both a womens and mens section. The best part is that you can bring your own items in and on the spot they will price them for you and offer cash or credit.
Frauenverein Riehen: (Schopfgässchen 8, 4125 Riehen) As a Riehen resident I had to throw this one in there. While it also has a more general housewares section, it is one of the few stores I have found that has a children’s clothing section. It is run by a local club and all the proceeds support local nonprofits so you can feel even better about the deals you find!
You will find a smattering of books at many of the more general Brockis (sometimes even in English), but if you are looking for a more extensive English selection, I highly recommend checking out my happy place, Bücher-Brocky (Güterstrasse 137 4053 Basel). It has a wide range of adult fiction and non-fiction (almost a full aisle of both) as well as a smaller English childrens section, where I have even found first edition Harry Potters (much to the delight of my 9-year old). Want to work on your German? It also has a large selection of German books including a great childrens section. You can donate your old books there, so long as they are in good condition.
There are two general ways to go about online shopping - staying local or searching the whole of Switzerland. If you want to keep it local there is a Facebook group for everything and second-hand buying in Basel is no exception.
Local Sites and Groups
Basel Buy & Sell (English): With over 30,000 members you can find many items through this group. Personally, I scored a vacuum, tea kettle and shelves. I have, however, found that the buying and selling process is less transparent than other similar groups. For instance, you may be the first to comment on an item, but if someone private messages the seller they may get it. Or if you post something, it can take awhile for a buyer to actually show up. Hang in there though, because you may be able to find what you need for a great price. You can also link up with the larger marketplace and see items in other parts of the country.
Kiddy Buy & Sell Basel (English): While you will see some kids stuff on the Basel Buy & Sell group, this one is exclusively for kids stuff.
Verkaufseck Fur Basler Mamis (German): if you want to practice your German while finding great deals on kids items, this group is for you. With almost 9,000 members it’s larger than the English speaking group and has a lot more activity.
Basel Free Items: Who doesn’t like free stuff? It’s an eclectic mix of items, but maybe you will find just what you need here.
Basel Books: This group offers a mix of books in different languages and is perfect for feeding your book habit.
If you are open to looking further away, there are some Swiss specific options too:
Ricardo.ch is the largest online second hand retailer (you can get new stuff there too). It’s basically the Ebay of Switzerland.
Consider a Loaner
Do you need something, but only for a one-time use? Perhaps a steam cleaner or a disco ball? Then Leihlager (Feldbergstrasse 76, 4057 Basel) is for you. Basel’s new 'lending shop' allows you to borrow an item for a one-time fee or through it’s subscription program (75 CHF for an individual).
Beyond bricks and mortar or online options, Basel hosts a variety of regular and seasonal Flohmärkte (flea markets):
Petersplatz Flohmarkt: (tram stop: Shifflände) Taking place most Saturdays from 7:30 to 4:00 you can find everything from antiques to handmade crafts.
Barfusserplatz Flohmarkt: (tram stop: Barfusserplatz) Takes place twice a month on Wednesdays.
Markthalle: (Steinentorberg 20, 4051 Basel) This popular food and entertainment venue regularly hosts flea markets as well as other specialty events like cheese and wine festivals.
Neighborhood Flea Markets: (various locations) These once-a-year markets are held throughout the city and in neighbouring villages. It’s like a treasure hunt in your own neighborhood!
I hope this article inspires you to check out the second-hand options here in Basel. Go out and find your 'new' treasures! If I've missed something or you want to share another great spot please leave a comment. Happy hunting!