GGG Courses – a fascinating story!

1784 The Paper School: There was still no general compulsory schooling in Basel. The paper mills in the St. Albantal employed boys as cheap labour. Through the "Paper School", the GGG provided these boys with two hours of lessons a day in reading and writing.

1827 The Factory School was founded for young workers in other areas of industry and manufacture.

1838 The Revision School: Primary school was now compulsory, but only to the age of twelve. The GGG therefore changed over to a "Revision School" to enable youngsters to deepen what they had already learned. Probably without realising it, the GGG thereby founded Switzerland's first institution for optional continuing education.

Foreign languages: Foreign languages for young men were also offered at the Revision School - a far-sighted action.

1879 For young women too: After a couple of false starts, this year saw the introduction of French courses for women. Courses in English and Italian soon followed. Ten years later, 375 people regularly attended courses in the Revision School.

1912 German as a foreign language: Immigration to Basel in the years before and after the First World War led the GGG to offer German courses for people from Ticino. These always took place at "six in the morning". It seems the courses were a great success: in 1926, more than 1000 people attended the courses regularly - even during the Second World War.

From 1950 Signs of change: After the war, people demanded more. In 1950, courses in Russian were introduced, followed by Modern Greek (1961) and Arabic (1964).

GGG evening courses: Courses and events were only offered in the evenings at this time, and were enhanced by cooking courses, guided tours of the city and museums, and excursions to nearby places of interest in the evenings and at weekends.

After 1970 Company courses: Courses were and still are taught as needed at companies and institutions.

1996 The GGG Courses - now 200 years old - expanded considerably with the takeover of the courses formerly offered by the COOP. Day courses took place in its own premises at Eisengasse 5 next to Schifflände in addition to evening courses in two state schools.

2011 Around 1600 people took courses in Basel German, German as a foreign language und 16 other languages, taught by over 50 qualified teachers. The language courses - inexpensive and open to everyone - have formed the kernel of GGG Courses' activities for years. Thanks to contributions from GGG Basel (, reductions in course fees can be made on request from registered unemployed, those on a grant or with valid Colour Keys, students at the FHBB or the University of Basel, exchange students, apprentices, au pairs with contracts, and schoolchildren.

2013 New rooms in our course centre: From the beginning of the 1st semester of 2013, additional courses have been taking place in 5 newly decorated rooms on the 1st floor of Eisengasse 5 overlooking the Rhine.