The Baslerin who created an innovative cultural center in a historic lighthouse ship
Von Connie Radavero
Both a certified nurse and a journalist with a famous show on radio Basilisk as well as a shiatsu therapist, Katja knew since her childhood in Basel she wanted to connect people and stories by building bridges between them.
With a remarkable interest in culture, Katja and her husband came up with a brilliant idea two years ago. They bought an old Irish lighthouse vessel (named Gannet) to convert it into a very special cultural project. They towed the ship southward and lifted its 550 tons from the Rhine River on to earth in the Holzpark Klybeck.
Last July Gannet, the new cultural center in the Basel Harbor area, opened its doors to the public. It houses a concert and theater stage for an audience of 300 people standing. There is a small restaurant which serves locally made pasta from Chef Basil Hofmann. Additionally, an outdoor bar was built on the former upper deck helipad.
Different genres of high-quality live music (jazz, punk, alternative pop, classical and unplugged concerts will be performed. Workshops for adults and children’s activities will take place too. Book presentations and specialized talks will be held inside the belly of the ship. Larger cultural events are planned from October onwards. On November 6th the amazing Afterlife will perform at Gannet, choreographed by Lilian Stillwell and directed by Tom Ryser.
In the lighthouse tower, a radio studio will be installed and from here musical performances will be streamed live while new radio shows will fill the air. Almost two years after the spectacular lift of the 550-ton huge red ship to land, a comprehensive renovation by the Gannet crew with the help of a hundred volunteers and a 1.2 million CHF investment the «old lady» is now ready for her second purpose in life.
Katja’s curiosity and her ambition for a bigger cultural proposal that connects people in a different way led her to take this significant step forward. With the Gannet initiative, she has fulfilled her dream of transforming Basel’s residents through culture.
Embark yourself on new cultural discoveries in the Basel Harbor!