Basel-Schänzli (Basel Switzerland)

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Basel-Schänzli, a Mennonite congregation in the city and canton of Basel, whose beginnings go back to 1790, when Christian Röthlisberger moved from Courtelaryberg (Feuerstein) to Liestal and leased the farm known as the "Schillingsraingütli." He was a preacher, later became elder, and died in 1845, at an age of more than 80 years. Hans Schräg was also a preacher at the same time. Other family names in the church in this early period were Böbli in Oberaesch, Hylti on Homberg near Bückten, Jakob Wagner, Aeschlimann, Schneider, Strohm, and Burkholder. Some families apparently immigrated to America; others died out. In 1850 the church had a membership of only about 30; they were farmers living scattered throughout the canton. Meetings were held on the first Sunday of the month in the homes of the members. In the 1840s several new families settled in the canton of Basel, among them Michael Nussbaumer, born at Lüterkofen in the canton of Solothurn, who had lived for some time in Couroux near Delsberg. He was also a preacher; his descendants today make up a large part of the congregation.

In 1891 David Nussbaumer furnished a room in his house at Schänzli (a suburb of Basel) for meetings, which were held every two weeks. Through the sale of the Schänzli estate the congregation was compelled to find another place for meeting. On 28 February 1902 it decided to build a combined chapel and residence on the road from Basel to Muttenz, for which David Nussbaumer contributed the land. On 22 March 1903, it was dedicated, the name Schänzli having been brought along from the old meeting place. The congregation, in 1914 numbering about 130 members, in 1952 about 150, met there every two weeks in the 1950s, with Sunday school for the children, introduced in 1948. Church records have been kept since 1900. The seal of the church is an open book with the verses 1 Corinthians 3:11 and 1 John 5:5, with a cross underneath, around which two hands are clasped, and the words Altevangelische Taufgesinntengemeinde Schänzli-Basel. In 1901-1944 Samuel Nussbaumer, an outstanding leader among the Swiss Mennonites, served as resident elder. Upon his death Elder Fritz Goldschmitt of the Basel-Holeestrasse congregation was given elder charge of the congregation.

In 2006 there were 365 members.


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 134.

Additional Information

Address: Pestalozzistrasse 4, 4132 Muttenz, Switzerland

Website: Evangelische Mennonitengemeinde Schänzli

Denominational Affiliation: Konferenz der Mennoniten der Schweiz (Alttäufer)


Map:Basel-Schänzli Mennonitengemeinde (Basel)

Author(s) Samuel Nussbaumer
Date Published 1953

Cite This Article

MLA style

Nussbaumer, Samuel. "Basel-Schänzli (Basel Switzerland)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 27 Feb 2024.

APA style

Nussbaumer, Samuel. (1953). Basel-Schänzli (Basel Switzerland). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 February 2024, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 246. All rights reserved.

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