this is the biz: a preview

A few images reflect the concepts and ideas that are brought to life for a visitor to this is the biz:


Visitors to the exhibition are first introduced to some key concepts, such as:

  • What is a central bank?
  • What is monetary and financial stability?

They will hear from central bank governors firsthand about the international cooperation that is at the heart of BIS activities.

A dark and unsettling room at the beginning seeks to prompt an emotional response to the consequences of breakdowns in the financial system.

Then, in a visually attractive display, visitors will be taken back in time to the days before there was an international organisation serving central banks, and to the founding of the Bank for International Settlements in 1930.

The difficult years of the Great Depression and Second World War are featured, as is the turning point marked by the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement that launched the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

After the Second World War, the BIS and Basel played a key role in restoring currency convertibility in Europe and in the subsequent drive toward European Monetary Union.

Visitors to the exhibition will find out how the BIS has helped support the functioning of the international monetary system, and has become, over the past few decades, a truly global organisation.

Finally, the exhibition provides an insight into how the BIS is organised and works today.

As well as showing what the BIS does today in terms of promoting international financial cooperation, the exhibition also celebrates the close relationship between the BIS and the city of Basel.

So why is the BIS in Basel?

The choice of Switzerland for the seat of the BIS was a compromise by those countries that established the BIS: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. When consensus could not be reached on locating the Bank in London, Brussels or Amsterdam, the choice fell on Switzerland. An independent, neutral country, Switzerland offered the BIS less exposure to undue influence from any of the major powers.

Within Switzerland, Basel was chosen because Geneva already hosted the League of Nations, Lausanne was felt to be too small and Zurich was for some "too German". Basel also had an important trump card: its location, with excellent railway connections in all directions, especially important at a time when most international travel was by train.

The BIS is proud to have been part of the city of Basel for 75 years. We look forward to welcoming the people of the Basel region, and those from further afield, to come inside the Bank and discover more about what we do