Basel's Grand Council considers a ban on ringing church bells at night

Basel's Grand Council considers a ban on ringing church bells at night

The Grand Council of Basel-Stadt has approved a petition calling for church bells to be silent between 11pm and 7am, to help residents get some much-needed sleep. Opponents of the move say it hurts "European culture", as many Swiss historical sites are churches.

Church bells at night make people's sleep worse

“No one needs the bells to strike at 3.15am,” said organiser of the petition Simon Aeberhard. He made the case that residents near churches in Basel are often awoken by the bell chimes every quarter of an hour, having an adverse effect on their sleeping patterns.

It has also been found that ringing bells at night can even make people sick. A study by ETH Zurich in 2011 showed that even the quieter chimes of church bells disturbed sleep patterns and made people more ill as a result. The petition says that many people who are looking for a house in Basel have been put off by the knowledge that a large clocktower is nearby.

Church bell ban in Basel planned for 11pm to 7am

The petition has called for the bells to cease ringing between 11pm to 7am in the morning, to help people sleep. The Grand Council debated the petition earlier this week, with the one opponent, Councillor Dr. Stefan Suter, saying that the striking of the clock is a “European cultural asset” and that the ringing of bells shouldn’t be stopped on the whim of one petition.

Supporters of the bill have said the need for the clocks to chime had passed. Councillor André Auderset noted that other sources of noise, like terraces on bars and restaurants, had to close at 11, and that church bells should be treated in the same way. The Grand Council passed the motion with 70 votes to 17. The matter is now being passed to the executive Regierungsrat for approval.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

Read more



Leave a comment