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Coat of arms of Engelberg
Coat of arms
Engelberg is located in Switzerland
Country Switzerland
Canton Obwalden
District n.a.
 • Total 74.85 km2 (28.90 sq mi)
Elevation (Engelberg town) 1,000 m (3,000 ft)
Highest elevation (Mount Titlis) 3,238 m (10,623 ft)
Lowest elevation (Grafenort) 560 m (1,840 ft)
Population (Dec 2014[2])
 • Total 4,053
 • Density 54/km2 (140/sq mi)
Postal code 6390
SFOS number 1402
Surrounded by Attinghausen (UR), Gadmen (BE), Innertkirchen (BE), Isenthal (UR), Wassen (UR), Wolfenschiessen (NW)
Website .ch.gde-engelbergwww
SFSO statistics
Hubert Sattler (1817–1904): View of Engelberg
View of Engelberg from Hotel Ramada Balcony
Engelberg-Titlis cableway

Engelberg is a resort town and municipality in the canton of Obwalden in Switzerland. Besides the town of Engelberg, the municipality also includes the settlements of Grafenort, Obermatt and Schwand.

The municipality of Engelberg is an exclave of Obwalden, surrounded by the cantons of Bern, Nidwalden and Uri. Engelberg has a population (as of 31 December 2014) of 4,053.[2] As of 2007, 21.0% of the population was made up of foreign nationals.[3]

Engelberg is the leading mountain resort (Urner Alps) in central Switzerland. In the Middle Ages, Engelberg was known through the country for the educational quality of its Benedictine monastery, the Engelberg Abbey. From the 19th Century, Engelberg became internationally known as a resort and spa, but is today visited as much for skiing as for its clean air. With its combination of modern sports facilities and alpine location, Engelberg is a magnet for both summer and winter tourism. The closest large cities are Lucerne and Zurich.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Transport 3
  • Tourism 4
  • Demographics 5
  • Business and industry 6
  • Cultural references 7
  • Climate 8
  • Notable people 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Engelberg is first mentioned as Engilperc in 1122, when the Abbey was first founded there, although the mountain pasture of Trübsee was already exploited collectively before this time.

From 1850, Engelberg became an international vacation resort (mineral water, milk serum and fresh air cures). Many hotels were built by the families Cattani, Hess and Odermatt, pioneers of tourism. From 1872 to 1874, a new, wider road was built, and the Stansstad-Engelberg electric railway was opened in 1898.[4]

Hiking and other mountain sports developed at the end of 19th Century and Engelberg first held a winter season in 1903-1904. Since 1913, a funicular railway connects Engelberg to Gerschnialp and, from there, the second cable car in Switzerland (1927) led to Trübsee. The decade preceding the First World War was a period of boom conditions (165,922 visitor-nights in 1911). The widening of the road and the extension of the railway to Luzern (1964) considerably opened up the tourism catchment area of the station and, in 1967, the higher section of the Titlis cable car was opened. Recently, regular conferences in Engelberg came to supplement winter tourism. In 2000, the tertiary sector, especially tourism, offered three quarters of the employment of Engelberg.[4]


Engelberg has an area of 74.8 square kilometers (28.9 sq mi). Of this area, 28.5% is used for agricultural purposes, while 24.5% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 3.1% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (43.9%) is non-productive (rivers, glaciers or mountains).[5]

The average altitude of Engelberg is 1,020 m (3,350 ft). However the town is surrounded by the Alps, creating very steep terrain. The highest point in the borders of the town is Mt. Titlis which is 3,239 m (10,627 ft).


The municipality of Engelberg is served by two stations on the Luzern–Stans–Engelberg line. Engelberg station is located within the resort of Engelberg and is the terminus of the line. Grafenort station lies to the north, one station down the line. Both stations are served by hourly InterRegio trains from the city of Lucerne.[6]


The ski terrain is largely for advanced skiers, and although there are some easy places to ski, beginners should be wary of some challenging pistes. It is a snow-sure ski resort, with an unusually long season, generally opening for skiing at the start of October and remaining open until the end of May.

It's also a major summer resort, with many activities available both at village level and on the mountain. The lift system operates throughout the year, allowing a wide range of walking and cycling trails to be available even to the more fitness-challenged visitor.

In recent years, Engelberg has become something of an off-piste mecca, with many winter visitors, particularly from Scandinavia, coming specifically for its many challenging descents. Many of these are accessible from the lift-served ski areas of Titlis or Joch Pass, on the predominantly North-facing slopes leading down from Mt Titlis.

On the opposite side of the valley, the ski area of Brunni is much more suitable for beginners and early intermediates, but being South-facing it doesn't have quite the same snow reliability and length of season.

Engelberg also hosts a round of the ski jumping world cup at Gross-Titlis-Schanze.

The main sights of Engelberg are: Mount Titlis, Mount "Hahnen", Engelberg Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in the Swiss Congregation, the museum of the valley, the hotel Europäischer Hof, a number of old chapels.

Many Indian tour groups come to Engelberg, and claims are often made of an association with Bollywood movies, citing Engelberg as a filming location, even going so far as having a cutout poster of the two main characters from a well-loved 1995 production Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge on the terrace at the top lift station of Klein Titlis, but this appears to be untrue, as other Swiss locations are cited in the films credits [7]


Engelberg has a population (as of 31 December 2014) of 4,053.[2] As of 2007, 21.0% of the population was made up of foreign nationals.[3] Over the last 10 years the population has grown at a rate of 7.1%. Most of the population (as of 2000) speaks German as their mother tongue (88.2%), with Serbo-Croatian being second most common ( 2.5%) and English being third ( 2.2%).[5] As of 2000 the gender distribution of the population was 49.9% male and 50.1% female. As of 2000 there are 1,650 households in Engelberg.[3]

In the 2007 election the most popular party was the SVP which received 37.4% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were a variety of other parties (not major) (28.6%), the CVP (22.7%) and the SPS (11.3%).

The age distribution of the population (as of 2000) is children and teenagers (0–19 years old) make up 26.2% of the population, while adults (20–64 years old) make up 58.3% and seniors (over 64 years old) make up 15.4%. In Engelberg about 65.5% of the population (between age 25-64) have completed either non-mandatory upper secondary education or additional higher education (either university or a Fachhochschule).[5]

The historical population is given in the following table:[4]

year population
1709 678
1799 1,468
1850 1,737
1900 1,973
1950 2,544
2000 3,544

Business and industry

There are 320 local businesses which employ 1700 people. 11% of these are in the agricultural sector, 14% in trade and industry, 75% in services.

Engelberg has an unemployment rate of 1.22%. As of 2005, there were 176 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 65 businesses involved in this sector. 227 people are employed in the secondary sector and there are 36 businesses in this sector. 1,295 people are employed in the tertiary sector, with 186 businesses in this sector.[5]

Due to the risks of filming in the disputed region of Kashmir, many Bollywood films requiring a Kashmir/snowy mountain setting are filmed in Engelberg.

Cultural references

Engelberg is mentioned in chapter XXIV of Henry James's 1875 novel Roderick Hudson.

Giuseppe Piazzi bishop of Bergamo died in Engelberg in 1963.

Contemporary artist "Jean-François Réveillard* have is main cross media studio installed in Engelberg since 2002


Between 1961 and 1990 Engelberg had an average of 157.9 days of rain per year and on average received 1,510 mm (59 in) of precipitation. The wettest month was August during which time Engelberg received an average of 185 mm (7.3 in) of precipitation. During this month there was precipitation for an average of 14.7 days. The month with the most days of precipitation was June, with an average of 16.1, but with only 179 mm (7.0 in) of precipitation. The driest month of the year was February with an average of 90 mm (3.5 in) of precipitation over 14.7 days.[8] This area has a long winter season, with little precipitation mostly in the form of snow, and low humidity. The Köppen Climate System classifies the climate in Engelberg as subarctic and abbreviates this as Dfc.[9]

Climate data for Engelberg (1981-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 1.0
Daily mean °C (°F) −2.7
Average low °C (°F) −6.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 91
Average snowfall cm (inches) 81.6
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 12.3 11.7 14.0 14.2 15.6 16.1 15.2 14.7 10.9 9.4 11.8 12.0 145.6
Average snowy days (≥ 1.0 cm) 9.2 8.9 8.6 5.6 0.8 0 0 0 0 0.8 4.5 9.1 47.5
Average relative humidity (%) 78 78 76 74 76 79 80 82 83 82 82 80 79
Mean monthly sunshine hours 51 91 122 133 145 150 165 152 132 114 61 31 1,350
Source: MeteoSwiss [10]

Notable people


  1. ^ Arealstatistik Standard - Gemeindedaten nach 4 Hauptbereichen
  2. ^ a b c Swiss Federal Statistics Office – STAT-TAB Ständige und Nichtständige Wohnbevölkerung nach Region, Geschlecht, Nationalität und Alter (German) accessed 31 August 2015
  3. ^ a b c Canton Obwalden Statistics accessed 2 September 2009 (German)
  4. ^ a b c Engelberg in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  5. ^ a b c d Swiss Federal Statistical Office accessed 03-Sep-2009
  6. ^ "Luzern–Stans–Engelberg" (PDF). Bundesamt für Verkehr. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Temperature and Precipitation Average Values-Table, 1961-1990" (in German, French, and Italian). Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology - MeteoSwiss. Retrieved 8 May 2009. , the weather station elevation is 1035 meters above sea level.
  9. ^ Climate Summary for Engelberg
  10. ^ "Climate Norm Value Tables". Climate diagrams and normals from Swiss measuring stations. Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss). Retrieved 31 January 2013.  The weather station elevation is 1,035 meters above sea level.

External links

  • Engelberg Tourism
  • Free Pictures Engelberg
  • Titlis Glacier
  • Ski Club of Great Britain Resort Info
  • Brunni area
  • Engelberg in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.

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