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The Gymnasium am Münsterplatz – the never-ending story

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"No matter where you stand- you can see the Basel Münster"

The Gymnasium am Münsterplatz is in one of Basel’s most beautiful locations: the heart of the historic district, just across from the city’s cathedral (Münster). Downtown Basel is just a few steps away and the historic buildings and museums are just a stone’s throw away. The school also makes use of the historic surroundings: the Münsterplatz and the Pfalz above the Rhine are used for a breaks or lessons outdoors. Basel’s history, which has great significance for the school, is ever-present: the school sports hall on Rittergasse is located next to an ancient Celtic wall (Keltenwall) and the school auditorium was built over Roman fortifications. On Cathedral Square (Münsterplatz), there is a Roman fountain and the remains of cellars where weavers and other craftsmen worked in medieval times, not to mention the Basel Münster and many other historic buildings. And it is here at the GM that you can find yourself in the oldest building in Basel built specifically as a school. For more than a thousand years, Latin has been taught right here by the Basel Münster. During the reformation, what had been an ecclesiastic school became the city’s Latin academy with a former shepherd boy from Valais, Thomas Platter, as principal. The Gymnasium was founded in 1589. In the second half of the 19th century, Jakob Burckhardt and Friedrich Nietzsche taught the upper classes. In 1968, the first girls were admitted to the school. In 1973, the first female student graduated with the Matura. Since that time, what was referred to as the boys’ school «by the fortress» is a thing of the past: these days, more girls than boys attend the GM. The sound of the many international languages spoken by the many tourists on Münsterplatz did not remain unheard at the GM: Since 1998, in addition to the modern languages of French and English, the school offers Spanish as a main subject and since 2002, students can also choose to attend immersion classes in English and graduate with a bilingual Matura. The name «Humanistisches Gymnasium», the school’s title from 1930 to 1997, stands for an educational ideal which characterizes the Gymnasium am Münsterplatz to this day: The main subject philosophy-psychology-pedagogy has been offered at the GM since 2008 and it is a logical step in the school’s humanist tradition: taking the student on a journey from classical philosophy to the study of human behaviour and education in 19th and 20th century psychology and pedagogy.

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