Branches of the Establishment


Plattform, Arbeitsplatz und öffentliches Wohnzimmmer - 363 Tage geöffnet

Essen im Kaffeehaus

EINFACH GUT ESSEN: im Kaffeehaus von MO-FR jeweils von 12-14.00 Uhr, SA & SO 10-14 Uhr

Raumvermietungen und Apéro

Räume mieten für Veranstaltungen, Pressekonferenzen und Besprechungen


Auf dem Marktplatz, am Rhein bei der Münsterfähre oder an ihrem Anlass


Hauseigene Veranstaltungsformate


Arbeiten in kultur-kreativer Umgebung Bewerbungen an:


Kulturimpuls Grundeinkommen


Onlineshop mit Taschen, Plakaten, Bücher und Shirts vom und übers Grundeinkommen

First World Development

Performativer Think Tank

Feministischer Salon Basel

Salon zur Organisation von queer_feministischen Veranstaltungen

How an old bank was turned into the largest and best-known coffeehouse in Switzerland: A success story.


Where is there a need? What is meaningful and what is not? How can we design an establishment that directs its work towards actual, human needs?

The roots of unternehmen mitte lie in the following Basel cultural projects: Alte Stadtgärtnerei (1986-88), ZONE (1987-90), GEDANKENBANK (1988-90) Werkraum Schlotterbeck (1990-93), Werkraum Warteck (since 1993) and unternehmen EPOQUE (1997-98).

The prospect of buying an extraordinarily beautiful villa with park in Basel paved the way to the founding of unternehmen mitte. That was in the summer of 1998. Thomas Tschopp and Daniel Häni operated unternehmen EPOQUE in the villa by means of an interim-use contract. However, at the close of the sales negotiations “we boys outbluffed ourselves” – and thankfully so!


For only three months later, on November 4th, 1998, the ownership of a much larger and much more interesting building could then change hands – the former headquarters of the Schweizerische Volksbank (the Swiss People’s Bank) in the centre of Basel. Together with the Edith Maryon Foundation, this stately building – at the time owned by Credit Suisse – could be acquired for the moderate price of CHF 10 million.


unternehmen mitte was founded as a private limited company on December 17th, 1998 by Georg Hasler, Thomas Tschopp and Daniel Häni and entered a 15-year quasi-property rental agreement with the Edith Maryon Foundation on December 31st.


The venture’s founding was a breakthrough in the Basel cultural movement. For the first time, a building could be secured not just for the purpose of interim use but by purchase with secured, long-lasting ownership rights. The Edith Maryon Foundation’s guarantee prevents the reselling of and any speculative transactions in relation to the building. The rent reflects the sum of all actual incurred costs including mortgage interest rates, loan interests, depreciation and maintenance costs.

Since 2012, the rental agreement has been indefinite.



New Year’s 1998/99:
Relocation from the „Villa Epoque“ to Gerbergasse 30

8. April 1999:
Remodelling and opening of the Fumare non Fumare bars

Remodelling of the 1st + 3rd floor co-working space

June 2000:
Arte-Plage – Swimming Pool in the Great Hall for ART

Fall 2001:
Opening of the coffeehouse

Winter 2001:
Remodelling of the health centers

Fall 2004:
Installation of an open fireplace in the coffeehouse

New Year’s 2005/06:
Founding of the Basic Income Initiative

June 2008:
Record daily turnover during the Holland-Russia EM game in Basel > 45’000 CHF

August 2008:
Portrait in the economics magazine: brand eins

September 2008:
Film premiere: Grundeinkommen – ein Kulturimpuls

December 2008:
Benjamin Hohlmann takes over management of gastronomy

Summer 2009:
NEULAND – temporary observation platform at 28 meters high

November 2009:
OLOID-WOCHE – The ball gets rolling  

September 2010:
Radio-Kulturcafé DRS 2 – Two weeks live from the coffeehouse

October 2011:
Installation of the STEINER LINE

November 2011:
Founding of the Kaffee-Akademie

March 2012:
Start of the Kaffee-Mobil at Marktplatz

April 2012:
Launch of the people’s initiative for an unconditional basic income in Switzerland 

Fall 2012:
Founding of Generation Basic Income

June 2013:
mitte-COLA is here 

June 2013:
Portrait in the business section of ZEIT

July 2013:
Opening of Café Frühling in Kleinbasel

4. October 2013:
Submission of the people’s initiative and money-mountain performance 

February 2014:
Swiss championship title in coffee brewing

June 2014:
12th place in coffee brewing at the world championships 

Partners of the GmbH were and are:

Daniel Häni (since 1998)

Thomas Tschopp (1998-2014)

Georg Hasler (1998-2006)

Rembert Biemond (2001-2004)

Anton Marty (2001-2001)

Rainer Senn (2001-2010)

Carmen Bregy (2004-2006)

Tarik Nazari (2004-2007)

Benjamin Hohlmann (since 2010)



unternehmen mitte: Facts + Figures 2013


Gastronomy Revenue: 3.7 million CHF

Number of effective work hours as hosts: 42’272

Number of guests per day: 1000

Coffee processing per year in tons: 3.2

This equates to a coffee plantation with about 650 coffee trees

Employees: 91

Number of coffee drinks sold per year: 240’000

Of which are Latte-Macchiatos: 59’000

Cows for milk used in the coffeehouse: 7

Usage of toilet paper per year: 10’000 Rollen

Registered payments 2013: 8069

Baristas trained in the Kaffee Akademie: 239

Number of events and meetings 2013: 1200

Rented co-working spaces: 100


Gerbergasse 30

Year of construction of the bank building: 1912

Usable space: 4000 m2

Site area: 1008m2

Floors: 5

Children born in-house: 4






 New Business Models – Non-Profit Status

unternehmen mitte also represents new business models. Founded as a private limited company in 1998, the undertaking distinguishes itself as a new form of non-profit status. This status is comprised of two principles:

1. The owners of the private limited company do not partake in the profit earnings.

They may not privatise profit earnings. Additionally, the owners themselves are obligatorily active managing directors. Thus, the profit earnings remain bound with the business objectives, and the ownership cannot be separated from the entrepreneurship.

2. Should an owner leave the business, he may not claim his ownership as a valued asset.

He may resign from the company, only nominally, with his share value. This is – in comparison to the value of the company as a whole – much less, thereby keeping the company’s objectives targeted not towards profit maximisation but rather towards the development of meaningful purpose.

With these two principles, it is possible to achieve a transparent motivation: The work itself is the motive, not the money. Consequently, increased quality is attained in the business. This principle of free motivation is also extended to the guests. They may freely stay in the house, without any obligation to consume product. Initially, many believed this was “a foolish business model.” Nevertheless, it has been the foundation of our success.

He who is not forced to, has the freedom to.

Press Archive:

Kaffee ist mehr als nur ein Koffeinlieferant
20 Minuten | 2014

Generation Grundeinkommen

ORF 2 | 2014

Das Grundeinkommen für jeden

Bayrisches Fernsehen | 2014

Kaffeegenuss der langsamen Art

Hotel Revue | 2014


Unternehmen Mitte eröffnet Café Frühling
Tageswoche | 2013


Neue Gedanken denken
Gastro Journal | 2013

Metropolenreport Basel

ARTE Metropolis | 2013

Generation Grundeinkommen

Info 3 | 2013

Was bewegt Daniel Häni?

ZEIT | 2013

Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen: Sind Sie Fantast oder Visionär?
Tele Basel | 2012

Wir sind besser als unser Ruf

ZEIT | 2010

Daniel Häni – Grundeinkommen für alle
3SAT | 2010

Unternehmeen Mitte – Geld ist ein super Ermöglicher
a tempo | 2010

Grundeinkommen: 2500 Franken für alle
SRF ECO | 2010

Der Turmbauer zu Basel
TAZ | 2009

Dem Himmel ein bisschen näher
BAZ | 2009

Ein Film-Plädoyer für eine radikale Idee
DRS 2 | 2008

Wer nicht muss, der kann

brand eins | 2008

Contact Information for Press Inquiries:

Daniel Häni

  •  0041 (0) 79 693 18 21

Benjamin Hohlmann

  •  0041 (0) 78 884 50 70