During the past centuries, the city of Basel has suffered damage caused by earthquakes. One extraordinary event described in historical documents is the strong earthquake which occurred in 1356. The 1356 event, one of the strongest earthquakes in northwest-Europe, was obviously much stronger than the low-magnitude earthquakes observed in the area during this century. Even though the present seismicity in the Basel area is low, strong earthquakes have to be expected due to the city's geographical location close to the northern boundary of the African-European convergence zone, at the southern end of the Rhinegraben. A crucial step towards preparedness for future events and mitigation of earthquake risk involves a microzonation study of the city. The study is carried out in three steps: (1) a detailed mapping of the geology and geotechnical properties of the area, (2) measurement, interpretation and modelling of ambient noise data, and (3) numerical modelling of expected ground motions during earthquakes. A qualitative microzonation of the centre of Basel is presented, and it is discussed by comparing it to the historically reported damage of the 1356 earthquake.