Peace, passports and Pokémon: What are people in Basel's wishes for 2023?
For many in Switzerland and across the world, the end of one year and the start of another is a good time to set goals, hopes and aspirations for the 12 months ahead. To see what people in Switzerland are hoping for the most in 2023, 20 Minuten has taken a look at the “Wish Book” in the town hall of Basel.
What did people in Basel wish for this year?
For nearly 30 years, the people of Basel have been able to write down their wishes for the new year in a public wish book housed in the town hall. Started by local Willi Paulussen, who financed the book for 18 years, the project is now run by the local council (Gemeinde), which uses it to catalogue what was top of people’s minds each year.
"The wish book has developed into a place where you can express yourself about everything that is on your mind or that you think should be improved," Basel government spokesperson Marco Greiner told 20 Minuten. While a lot of the wishes relate to current events, “many of the entries are simple Christmas greetings and congratulations", creating a truly eclectic mix of messages.
Peace in Ukraine, Kurdistan and Palestine top of the wishlist
Unlike in 2021, when most people wished for an end to the COVID pandemic, the wishes that were written down in this year’s book were as diverse as the city itself. From one man calling for an end to a new road-building project across the River Rhine to a child writing, "I wish for the best Pokémon cards and a Swiss passport."
This year, a lot of the wishes related to the war in Ukraine, specifically calling for peace and glory in Ukraine, and for the Russian president Vladimir Putin to “go to hell.” 20 Minuten noted that a large number of the messages were written in Ukrainian. Other international events also stuck out in 2022. References to events in Kurdistan, Israel and Palestine were regular, with the messages written in a mixture of Arabic, Greek, and even Korean script.
In closing the book for 2022, Greiner said that he thinks the wish book shines a light on what people hope for both globally and personally. When asked what he wished for, he asked for "more peace to return to Europe and, especially for Basel, that the relationship between Switzerland and the EU will improve again."