On 19 May 2019, 54.56% of the Basel electorate voted against the large marine aquarium planned by the Zoo Basel on the Heuwaage. This vote was based on sound judgement and moral progress. The people of Basel have delivered a strong message to the global community: “We must protect the oceans where they are.”
The antiquated project of the Zoo Basel not only contradicted the progressive spirit of Basel, it was also in no way compatible with the goal of a 2000-watt society, which the city is pursuing. This is precisely why Fondation Franz Weber launched the campaign “NOzeanium – say NO to the Ozeanium!”.
However, despite intensive work by the foundation to educate and raise awareness, on 17 October 2018 the Grand Council of Basel-City declared their support for the construction of the “Ozeanium”. Fondation Franz Weber immediately initiated a referendum against this decision. Together with environmental organisations, marine conservationists, experts, and many other motivated supporters, we were able to collect nearly 5,000 signatures within the canton’s referendum deadline and submitted these to the Basel-City State Chancellery on 28 November 2018. Submitting more than twice as many signatures as required, the referendum was successful.
In the referendum campaign, jointly supported by the NO-committee, we demanded: “Let’s protect the oceans where they are!” On 19 May 2019, the eligible voters of Basel said NO to the “Ozeanium” by 54.56% to 45.44%. A victory for the oceans!