Canton of Valais

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Canton of Wallis
Canton du Valais
coat of arms
coat of arms
Canton of the Swiss Confederation
Abbreviation / license plate : VS
Official language : French (63%),
German (28%)
Main town : Customs (sion)
Accession to the federal government : 1815
Canton Anthem : Valais anthem
Area : 5224.63  km²
Height range : 371–4632 m above sea level M.
Residents: 343,955 (December 31, 2018)
Population density : 66 inhabitants per km²
Proportion of foreigners :
(residents without citizenship )
23.0% (December 31, 2015)
Unemployment rate : 5.8% (December 31, 2015)
Location of the canton in Switzerland
Location of the canton in Switzerland
Map of the canton
Map of the canton
Municipal communities of the canton
Municipal communities of the canton

The Wallis [ˈvalɪs] ( French Valais [vaˈlɛ] , Italian Vallese, Rhaeto-Romanic Vallais ? / I , Franco-Provencal Valês ), officially canton Wallis or State Wallis or Canton du Valais or État du Valais , is a canton in southwestern Switzerland . The western part of the canton has a French-speaking (partly also Franco-Provencal-speaking) population, the eastern part a German-speaking population. Accordingly, it belongs to both the French-speaking Switzerland and the German-speaking Switzerland . The main town is Sion . In terms of area, the Valais is the third largest canton in Switzerland and lies entirely within the Alps . Audio file / audio sample


Location and landscape

View of the Rhone valley from Martigny

The Valais consists (with the exception of smaller areas beyond the Simplon and Gemmi passes ) of the Rhone valley (Rotten) from the Rhone glacier to Lake Geneva and the Rhone side valleys. In the north are the Bernese and Vaudois Alps , in the south the Valais Alps with the mightiest and highest mountain ranges in the Alps ( Monte Rosa , Mischabel and Weisshorn group ). The highest mountains in the Valais Alps and Switzerland are the Dufourspitze at 4634  m above sea level. M. (highest mountain in Switzerland and thus the Valais), north end 4609  m above sea level. M. , Zumsteinspitze 4563  m above sea level. M. , Signalkuppe 4554  m above sea level. M. , cathedral 4545  m above sea level. M. (highest mountain lying entirely on Swiss territory), Liskamm 4527  m above sea level. M. , Weisshorn 4505  m above sea level M. , Täschhorn 4490  m above sea level. M. , Matterhorn 4478  m above sea level. M. , Parrotspitze 4432  m above sea level. M. , Dent Blanche 4357  m above sea level. M. , Ludwigshöhe 4341  m above sea level. M. , Nadelhorn 4327  m above sea level. M. , Grand Combin 4314  m above sea level. M. and Lenzspitze 4294  m above sea level. M. With the Aletsch Glacier , the Gorner glacier and the Valais Fieschergletscher located in Valais, the three largest glacier in the Alps.

Due to the protection of the surrounding mountains, the main valley of the upper Valais, but also the Vispertal, is extremely dry and warm with a steppe climate . The water supply is guaranteed in many places by water pipes, so-called suonen or bites, which in the areas of low precipitation in Valais go back at least to Roman times.

The lowest point is 372  m above sea level. M. on Lake Geneva .

Important side valleys

The most important side valleys north of the Rhone are the Fieschertal , Lötschental and Dalatal . South of the Rhone lie the Binntal , Nanztal , Saastal , Mattertal , Turtmanntal , Val d'Anniviers ( German Eifischtal ), Val d'Hérens (German Eringertal ), Val de Bagnes (German Bangital or Baniental ), Val d'Entremont and Val d'Illiez .

towns and places

Canton capital Sion with vineyards

As of December 31, 2018, there were five municipalities in the canton of Valais with more than 10,000 inhabitants, the most populous municipality is Sion with 34,708 inhabitants. Monthey has 17,785, Martigny 18,309, Sierre 16,801 and Brig-Glis 13,058 inhabitants. Other centers are Naters , Saint-Maurice and Visp .

Regions and districts with capital

Districts of the Valais

The Valais has 13 districts , which emerged from the 13 tens . They are represented by 13 stars on the canton's coat of arms. The two sub-districts Westlich Raron and East Raron together formed a tithe.

region district Residents main place Residents
Upper Valais Goms (French Conches ) 04440 Muenster 00 '425
East Raron (French Rarogne oriental ) 10'940
(including the Westlich Raron district )
Mortar fillet 00 '686
Brig (French Brigue ) 26,911 Brig-Glis 13,088
Visp (French: Viège ) 28,454 Visp 07,665
West Raron (French Rarogne occidental ) 10'940
(including Eastern Raron district )
Raron 01'905
Leuk (French Loèche ) 12,355 Leuk 03,915
Central Valais Sierre (German: Sierre ) 49'230 Sierre (German: Sierre ) 16'711
Sion (German customs ) 47,753 Sion (German customs ) 33,879
Conthey (German Gundis ) 28,906 Conthey (German Gundis ) 08,485
Hérens (Eng. Ering ) 10,862 Vex 01,689
Lower Valais Entremont 15,261 Sembrancher 00 '984
Martigny (German Martinach ) 47,983 Martigny (German Martinach ) 17,651
Saint-Maurice 13,821 Saint-Maurice 04,494
Monthey 47,039 Monthey 17,512


In the past, the water supply in the dry Rhone Valley was secured with Suonen . Today, popular hiking trails run along the Suonen.

The Valais has a particularly dry climate with only 500 to 600 millimeters of precipitation per year: cold winters, dry summers, strong temperature differences and clear air. The reason for this is its location between the mountain massifs of the Valais Alps in the south and the Bernese Alps in the north, both of which reach up to over 4000 m and absorb a large part of the precipitation that flows into the Alps from the north or the Mediterranean. The Lower Valais is one of the driest valleys in Europe. The steppe climate also has a strong influence on the vegetation, so that not only vines but also cacti thrive.



To the east of Siders ( French: Sierre ), in Upper Valais, German or Valais German , a dialect of the highest Alemannic , is spoken. In and to the west of Sierre in Central Valais and Lower Valais, French or, in some cases, Franco-Provencal dialect are spoken . The language border is formed by the small brook Raspille north of the Rhone between Siders and Salgesch . South of the Rhone, the language border is marked by the Pfynwald . The cantonal official languages are French and German, the communal official languages ​​either French or German. In the 2000 census, the proportion of the French-speaking population was 62.8 percent, while German was 28.4 percent. Italian was spoken by 2.2 percent, Romansh and others around 6.6 percent.


The Roman Catholic and the Evangelical Reformed Church are both recognized under public law; other religious communities can also be recognized. In 2017, 77.2 percent (263,484 people) of the total population of the canton of Valais were members of the Roman Catholic Church and 5.9 percent (20,071 people) were members of the Evangelical Reformed Church (100 percent: 341,463 people ). At the 2000 census, 81.2 percent of the total Valais population were Catholic, 6.3 percent were Protestant.

According to a nationwide survey of 200,000 people aged 15 and over by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) in 2017, 69.8 percent of those surveyed in Valais said they were members of the Catholic Church, while 5.3 percent were of the Protestant-Reformed denomination 3.3 percent belonged to other Christian churches. Another 3.4 percent were Muslim , 0.7 percent said they were members of another religious community, and 15.3 percent were non-denominational .


Many people from the Alpine cantons are drawn, at least temporarily, to the urban centers of the Swiss plateau . The Valais is also affected by this migration. Every year numerous, mostly young people leave the valley to work elsewhere or to complete an apprenticeship at a college (university etc.), vocational school (vocational school etc.) or in a training company. Most of them do this because the possibilities are limited in Valais. They cannot find a job that suits them or the training they are looking for is not offered. Some of the people living outside the Valais have their own holiday homes which they visit for hiking or skiing. Some of the emigrants return to Valais after a few years or after completing their training. For university graduates in particular, it is often difficult to find a job in Valais that matches their training. According to surveys from 2004, around two out of three Valaisians with a higher education do not actually work in their home canton after completing it. As a result, he loses a lot of highly qualified workers every year and he loses capital ( talent drain ). The canton invests around 50 million Swiss francs every year in the higher education of people who later work and live outside the canton.

Constitution and Politics

The current canton constitution dates from 1907; since then it has undergone numerous partial revisions.

legislative branch

The legislative authority is the Grand Council or Grand Conseil . It has 130 members elected by the people in the proportional system for four years. 130 deputies (substitutes) are elected at the same time as the MPs.

Laws passed by the Grand Council are subject to a referendum if one is requested by 3000 voters within 90 days of their publication ( optional referendum ). Partial and partial revisions of the canton's constitution are subject to a referendum ( obligatory referendum ). The people also have the right to demand the drafting, amendment or repeal of a law or the drafting or amendment of the constitution by means of a popular initiative . A legislative initiative requires the signature of 4,000 voters; a constitutional initiative requires 6,000.

In the last election, the parties achieved the following number of seats:

Political party 2001 2005 2009 2013 2017 Distribution of seats in 2017 Share of voters in%
Christian Democratic People's Party (CVP) 61 58 54 49 45
8th 13 4th 10 45 26th 23 
A total of 130 seats
Grand Council elections on March 5, 2017
Turnout: 57.5%
Gains and losses
compared to 2013
 % p
Christian Social People's Party Upper Valais (CSPO) 14th 15th 14th 12 10
FDP.The Liberals (FDP) - - 28 28 26th
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 32 28 - - -
Liberal Party of Switzerland (LPS) 03 02 - - -
Swiss People's Party (SVP) 01 06th 12 21st 23
Social Democratic Party of Switzerland (SP) 18th 21st 17th 14th 13
Green Party of Switzerland (GPS) 00 00 02 02 08th
Christian Social Party (CSP) 00 00 03 03 04th
Entremont Autrement 00 00 00 01 01


The highest executive and administrative authority is the five-member Council of State or Conseil d'État . The election takes place directly by the people in the majority system for four years. The three constitutional regions (Upper, Central and Lower Valais) are entitled to at least one seat on the State Council. The district clause prevents a district from being represented twice in the State Council.

The State Chancellor (staff unit of the State Council) as well as the governors and deputy governors (representatives of the government at district level) are appointed by the State Council.

Term of office 2017–2021
State Council Political party region since department
Christophe Darbellay CVP Lower Valais 2017 Department of Economy and Education
Frédéric Favre FDP Central Valais 2017 Department of Security, Institutions and Sport
Jacques Melly CVP Central Valais 2009 Department of Transport, Construction and Environment
Roberto Schmidt CVP Upper Valais 2017 Department of Finance and Energy
Esther Waeber-Kalbermatten SP Upper Valais 2009 Department of Health, Social Affairs and Culture


The highest cantonal court is the cantonal court with its seat in Sion. It is responsible for civil and criminal cases as well as for social security law and administrative law. There are nine district courts for civil and criminal cases in the first instance . At the municipal level, there is a municipal judge's office as an arbitration authority and a police court.


Types of municipalities under public law are the municipalities with residents, of which there are 126 (2017). They are the bearers of local self-government.

Further, there are 141 citizens' associations (u. A. Management of bourgeois property), 157 Roman Catholic parishes and 10 Reformed church communities .

Party system

In the canton of Valais, the CVP (including the - affiliated with the national CVP - CSP ) has lost its dominant position. Although it still holds an absolute majority in the majority- elected government , it lost the absolute majority in 2013 in parliament, which was elected by proportional representation. Not only the CVP, but also the CSP , the FDP, the SP and the SVP are divided into autonomous German- and French-speaking parties.


Grande Dixence , one of the tallest dams in the world


The Grande Dixence dam on Lac des Dix is 285 m high, one of the highest in the world and the highest in Europe. The reservoir is located at an altitude of 2365  m above sea level. M. and has a capacity of 400 million m³ of water. The second highest dam in Switzerland is that of Lac de Mauvoisin with a height of 250 m. The Lac de Tseuzier lies in a basin surrounded by mountains up to 3200 m high. The Lac de Moiry has a light turquoise color and is located on the route of the Race across the Alps . With the Parc d'Attractions du Châtelard , the area around Lac d'Emosson is opened up; at Lac du Vieux Emosson , which is 300 m higher, there are over 800 footprints of dinosaurs, some 250 million years old . The Sanetschsee was dammed north of the Sanetsch Pass between 1959 and 1966 . During the construction of the dam on Mattmarksee in 1965, one of the most serious accidents in the Swiss construction industry occurred, 88 construction workers died when a glacier tongue fell on their barracks village. The Griessee on the border with Italy is fed by the Gries Glacier, the Ferden reservoir was built in 1975 and has a length of 1 km. Above the Massa Gorge is the Gibidum reservoir , which is fed by the largest glacier in the Alps, the Aletsch Glacier .


Tourism is the most important economic sector in Valais.

Upper Valais

Gletsch station with trains of the Furka mountain line steam train

In the district of Goms in 1850, the hotelier was César Ritz born. In the village of Fiesch- Eggishorn there are 968 inhabitants and there are over 4000 guest beds, in Bellwald there are 4300 beds with 460 inhabitants. Binn is located in the Binntal , which is known for its mineral finds. Around 200 different minerals have been found here, over a dozen are found nowhere else. Three professional emitters live in the Binntal , they live from collecting minerals. The church in Ernen has been documented since 1214, in the village center there are still many houses up to 500 years old. The terminus of the Furka mountain route steam train , which begins in Realp in the canton of Uri , is in the municipality of Obergoms . It leads over the Steffenbach bridge to Tiefenbach and on through the Furka-Scheiteltunnel over Gletsch to Oberwald . The first part of the lift was reopened in 1992, the last part between Gletsch and Oberwald in August 2010.

The Aletsch region , which extends over the districts of Goms, Ostlich Raron and Brig , is located in the center of the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage Site . It is named after the largest glacier in the Alps, the Aletsch Glacier . Bettmeralp is located on the glacier and can be reached by two cable cars . Since Bettmeralp lies above the Rhone Valley, a fog-filled valley can be observed from the sunny high plateau in inversion weather conditions. The Fiescheralp is located on the same high plateau and is one of the three access points to the Aletsch Arena ski area , which comprises 104 kilometers of slopes. In the Riederalp area lies the Aletsch Forest , an old Swiss stone pine and larch forest , directly on the Aletsch Glacier. The forest was leased and placed under protection by the nature conservation organization Pro Natura in 1933 , and the Villa Cassel in Riederalp now serves as the Pro Natura information center.

The Stockalper Palace , built between 1651 and 1671 , is one of the largest private baroque buildings in Switzerland in Brig . The castle has a three-story arcade courtyard and three square towers with onion domes , which are named after the three kings Kaspar, Melchior and Balthasar. The summer and winter sports resorts of Rosswald and Blatten bei Naters are located in the municipality of Termen . In the summer, tourists can on the Massa trail through the 6.5 km long Massaschlucht hiking and in winter, among others, on the Belalp to over 3000  m above sea level. M. skiing (66 km of ski slopes and 4 km of cross-country trails). Various ski races have been held on the Belalp every year since 1983 under the name Belalp Hexe , the Hexenabfahrt is 12 km long and overcomes an altitude difference of 1,800 m, around 2,000 participants take part in the races. In Birgisch and Mund VS there are several, in some cases very old, suonen , these water pipes were used in the dry Inner Valais to irrigate fields and meadows. The bisse Wyssa above Mund was first mentioned in 1426, but could have been built as early as 930.

Zermatt with the Matterhorn

Visp is a cultural center of the Upper Valais, operas, theater performances and concerts take place regularly in the La Poste cultural center . Visperterminen became famous for its white wine Heida (a Savagnin ), which grows on the highest vineyards north of the main Alpine ridge. The Ritibrücke in Neubrück below Stalden VS is similar to the Stari most and was built in 1599, the Kinnbrücke in Stalden in 1544. In the Staldenried hamlet of Gspon , the GsponArena of FC Gspon is located at around 2000  m . The Alp of Törbel is the Moosalp , here every year cow fights take place as part of the alpine lift . Above St. Niklaus and Grächen lie the Ried glacier and the Bordierhütte , from which the Nadelgrat and the summit of the Balfrin can be climbed. In addition, St. Niklaus is home to the globally unique mountain guide museum , which takes its visitors back to the time of the alpine and in particular the Zaniglaser mountain guide pioneers , who were in the foreground for the first two generations and who had a significant impact on mountain guides in a wide variety of areas around the world . Of the total of 82 main peaks of the four-thousanders in the Alps , 36 surround the Mattertal , which stretches from Stalden via St. Niklaus to Zermatt , including the Dufourspitze, the highest mountain in Switzerland and one of the Seven Second Summits . The Matterhorn lies between Zermatt and Breuil-Cervinia, the Hörnligrat (north-east ridge), which is climbed from Zermatt, is the most frequently climbed route and together with the Lion's ridge (south-west ridge) it is also the easiest, with a difficulty of III + on the UIAA scale .

Through the Saas valley flows the Saaservispa , in the center of the valley lies Saas-Grund . The Antonius Chapel in Bidermatten is in the Saas-Balen parish, but belongs to the parish of St. Bartholomew in Saas-Grund. The prayer house next to the chapel is from 1619 and is the oldest chapel in the Saas Valley. Saas-Fee is a ski resort above Saas-Grund, even in summer you can ski on the Fee Glacier . A special feature of Saas-Fee is the Metro Alpin , a kind of subway that takes skiers from the “Felskinn” station ( 2980  m above sea level ) to the “Mittelallalin” station ( 3456  m above sea level ). The southernmost of the Saas villages is Saas-Almagell , in addition to tourism, the electricity industry at Mattmarksee plays a role here. The lake was completely drained in 2008 for renovation work on it.

The Schwarzsee in the Lötschental

The Lötschental is in the Westlich Raron district and is traversed by the Lonza . The Lang glacier , located at the far end of the Lötsch valley, is the source of the river. The alpine skiing center in the Lötschental is the Lauchernalp , in addition to one of the highest ski areas in Switzerland, there is also the highest winter hiking trail in Europe at a height of 3000 m. In 1957, women voted for the first time in a Swiss vote in Unterbäch ; they were allowed to take part in the federal ballot box on the extension of the civil protection obligation to women. The community introduced municipal suffrage for women that same year, 14 years before the nationwide decision that women were allowed to vote.

In Dala Valley is Leukerbad , the beginning of the valley is the Dala gorge . The thermal spring footbridge has been running here since 2004, along the route of which you can see the layers of rock carrying thermal water . Wine has been grown around Salgesch since the end of the Second World War. The Illgraben (a torrent channel ) carries large amounts of sediment with it and, through several debris flows, has ensured that the Rhone could not be canalized here.

Between Leuk and Sierre lies the Pfynwald , one of the largest pine forests in the Alps and part of the Pfyn-Finges Nature Park. Orchids and small crown vetch grow in the nature park and there are many species of insects. A seven-kilometer section of the Rhone flows through the park and spreads there undisturbed, with alluvial forests, islands and oxbow lakes.

Central Valais

In the vicinity of Sierre lies the Val d'Anniviers , in which several ski areas are located and Valais dried meat is also produced. Zinal is located in the municipality of Anniviers , in summer there are 300 km of marked hiking trails, in winter there are cross-country skiing trails and downhill slopes.

Basilique de Valère in Sion

The cityscape of Sion is shaped by the Middle Ages, one of the oldest playable organs in the world is in the Basilique de Valère . The core of the current bell tower of the Cathedral of Our Lady was built at the end of the 12th century. In addition to 140 km ski slopes has Crans-Montana with the Golf Club Crans-sur-Sierre one of the oldest golf courses in Switzerland, in the square is a year, the Omega European Masters held. The Lac de Derborence lies in the Conthey area . It was caused by one of the most violent landslides in Switzerland in the spring of 1749, and the area has been a nature reserve since 1961.

Road tunnel through the earth pyramids

In Ardon VS there is a gorge of the Lizerne , an old bisse is hung on the vertical rock wall. Evolène is the capital of the Val d'Hérens , through which the Borgne flows. The Haute Route leads through Arolla , a holiday resort at the upper end of the Val d'Hérens. On the road to Euseigne are in the Val d'Hérémence the Pyramids of Euseigne . They consist of a material called concrete moraine and were created after the Worm Ice Age . A small part of the pyramids is broken through by the road in a tunnel.

The 4-Vallées ski area is located in the municipalities of Nendaz , Verbier , Veysonnaz , Thyon and La Tzoumaz and with 626 kilometers of slopes is the largest ski area in Switzerland.

Lower Valais

In Lower Valais near Ollon

In Martigny one is the amphitheater , the La Bâtiaz Castle and the Museum of Gianadda Foundation and the St Bernard Museum . Above Vernayaz lies the Salanfe gorge and the Pissevache waterfall . In Saint-Maurice VS lies the Saint-Maurice Abbey , a monastery founded in 515 by the Augustinian Canons . Monthey is known for its Carnival, which was held for the 140th time in 2012. The Portes du Soleil ski area is partly in France and partly in Switzerland, it includes the Morgins and Torgon ski resorts in the Valais and the three towns of Champéry , Champoussin and Les Crosets in the Val d'Illiez . In Saint-Gingolph VS the Morge stream forms the border between France and Switzerland, while Saint-Gingolph (Haute-Savoie) is on the French side .

Winter sports

603 km of cross-country skiing trails and / or 3096 km of ski slopes offer a total of 60 destinations in Valais. More than 100 km of slopes can be found in Champéry , Champoussin and Les Crosets in Val d'Illiez , Morgins in Val de Morgins and Torgon that are in the Wallis and together with the French places the ski resort Portes du Soleil form, the total 650 km of ski slopes includes, Nendaz , Verbier and Veysonnaz (412 km), Zermatt (360 km), with a total of 427 km of ski slopes in the Mattertal ( Grächen - St. Niklaus 42 km and Törbel 25 km), Thyon (178 km), Crans-Montana (140 km), Anzère (58 km), Grimentz and Zinal (115 km), with a total of 210 km of ski slopes in the Eifisch Valley ( Chandolin / Saint-Luc 60 km and Vercorin 35 km), Bettmeralp , Fiesch and Riederalp the Aletsch Arena (104 km) and Saas-Fee (100 km), with a total of 202 km of ski slopes in the Saas Valley ( Saas-Almagell 12 km, Saas-Balen 3 km, Saas-Grund 35 km, Staldenried -Gspon 5 km and Visperterminen 20 km). With a total of 86 km of trails, Goms ( Blitzingen , Geschinen , Gluringen , Grafschaft VS , Münster VS , Obergoms and Reckingen VS ) is a Mecca for cross-country skiing.

Thermal baths and golf courses

In Valais thermal baths in Leukerbad (largest thermal spa center in the Alps), Ovronnaz , Saillon -les-Bains, Brigerbad and the saltwater spa in Breiten at Mörel VS . There are golf courses in the following locations: 18-hole golf courses in Crans-Montana , Leukerbad, Sierre , Sion and Verbier (two courses). 9-hole golf courses in Crans-Montana, Obergesteln , Zermatt / Täsch and Riederalp , which is the highest golf course in Europe.


On the southern slope of the Rhone Valley, vineyards are predominant in Lower Valais (area-wide) and Central Valais (partially), in places also in the side valleys as far as Upper Valais. With over 5236 hectares of vineyards, the Valais is the largest wine-growing region in Switzerland. It could be proven that in the canton of Valais already between 800 and 600 BC. Vines were cultivated. In addition to the leading variety , Fendant , more and more old, local varieties such as Humagne ( white and red ), Petite Arvine , Amigne , Resi or Malvoisie have recently been used again . In Visperterminen is the highest vineyard north of the main Alpine ridge, at an altitude of 650 to 1150  m above sea level. M. In the Val d'Anniviers , the glacier wine produced, one oxidative wine .

Fruits are grown on a large scale in Valais, around 95% of Swiss apricots and half of pears come from the canton. The vegetables with the largest acreage are in descending order bearing carrots , cauliflower , carrots and spring onions. Asparagus cultivation in particular has grown in importance in the last ten years; white and green asparagus together now have the third largest cultivation area among the vegetable varieties. Saffron has been grown in Mund since the Middle Ages , and it is believed that it came to Switzerland through pilgrims or mercenaries.

In addition to traditional dairy farming, sheep and goat husbandry are of great importance in animal husbandry. The high alpine conditions are increasingly being used as an opportunity to give rare and threatened species a chance to survive, for example the Valais black-necked goat and copper- necked goat as well as black-nosed sheep . However, there are also conflicts between animal husbandry and species protection, for example in connection with the reintroduction of wolves . Since the 1980s it has been immigrating from France and Italy to the canton of Valais, but it is still very much endangered by farmers who fear for their animals and the hunting lobby.

Collombey refinery


The industrial company in St. Niklaus of Scintilla AG of Robert Bosch GmbH is the global industry leader in the manufacture of jigsaw and reciprocating saw blades as well as Starlocks. In the 1960s of the jigsaw production at the St. Niklaus VS plant, the four billionth saw blade was manufactured in 2007.

The chemical and pharmaceutical industries are also important employers in Valais , such as Lonza AG in Visp. The energy industry has good prerequisites thanks to many storage power plants . The Collombey refinery was one of two oil refineries in Switzerland and belonged to the Libyan oil company Tamoil . It is located in the municipality of Collombey-Muraz not far from the eastern tip of Lake Geneva . The aluminum producer Constellium has locations in Chippis, Siders and Steg.

In Valais, 380,000 tons of anthracite coal were mined during the Second World War . The extraction activities took place underground. There are large quartzite slate deposits in and around Sembrancher ; extensive mining declined in the middle of the 20th century. Black slate was also extracted from Leytron . Small mining activities for lead ores existed in the Lötschental and for copper ores near Grimentz .

As early as the 1960s to 1980s, uranium was sought in Valais , but the mines were not competitive due to the low world market prices. At Martigny and Salvan-Les Marécottes , new explorations have been undertaken since 2008.


Valais hymns

Since 2016, the Valais song “Wallis, our homeland” and the accompanying instrumental version of the Marignan March are now officially the Valais canton anthems. The "Walliser Lied" from 1890 by Leo Luzian von Roten (text) and Ferdinand Othon Wolf (melody) has long been popular as a Valais anthem. The Swiss composer Jean Daetwyler incorporated the well-known Valais song into the Marignan March, which he composed in 1939 for the 50th anniversary of the Central Valais Music Association.

Valais German

The Valais German of the Upper Valais, together with the South Walser dialects spoken in Piedmont, the Aosta Valley and Ticino, has in many ways preserved the declension and conjugation diversity of Old High German . It is spoken by around 80,000 Valais today.

Authors who u. a. Also written in Valais German are: Frieda Berchtold, Ludwig Imesch, Eduard Imhof, Georg Julen, Bernadette Lerjen-Sarbach, Markus Marti, Hannes Taugwalder , Hubert Theler and Otto Zumoberhaus.

For example, the pop singer Sina sings in Valais German . Her single “Wänn nit Jetzt wänn dä” (“If not now when then”) from 2008 also celebrated success beyond the borders of Switzerland.

Valais cuisine

The canton of Valais has developed its own cuisine, which differs from other Swiss regional cuisines. Typical regional products are the round Valais rye bread made from wholemeal rye flour with a maximum of 10% wheat content, the lean, salted beef preserved by air-drying, the Valais dried meat and the Valais saffron . The name Valais rye bread is registered in the register of designations of origin (GUB / AOP ) and is therefore a protected trademark. The information Valais dried meat and Mund saffron are protected.

The Valais plate (also called Valais plate) dried meat is made in thin slices cut Valais from beef, Valais dried bacon and Valais ham ( Walser German Hamma ) of pork, Valais dried sausage (Walser German Hüswurscht ) of beef and pork, wherein the meat products all by means of air drying maturation can be preserved, as well as Valais rye bread and Valais cheese ( sliced and sliced ​​cheese ). Valais raw ham and Valais dry bacon are also protected as IGP.

Typical dishes are the Valais raclette , the boiled (Valais German Gsottus ) and the cholera . The Valais raclette cheese is characterized by its fresh and spicy nature, whereby Valais Raclette AOP is a protected designation of origin. Gsottus consists of air-dried and boiled pork and beef, bacon and sausage products and is served with sauerkraut or white cabbage and potatoes. Cholera is a vegetable cake with leeks, potatoes, cheese and apples.

Typical wines are the Valais white wine Fendant and the Valais red wine Dôle . The name Fendant is a protected designation of origin and may only be worn by wines that come from the canton of Valais. The Dôle is also an AOC -certified wine. The Valais red wine varieties Durize and Eyholzer as well as the Valais white wine varieties Gletscherwein , Heida , Himbertscha , Lafnetscha , Mennas , Planscher and Resi are real rarities .

Origin of the Polyphemus motif in Homer's Odyssey

Plot elements (eg "A monster checks animals that are going away") of the episode about Polyphemus from the Odyssey can be recognized in the folklore of many other European groups, often referred to as "The Blinding of the Ogre". Therefore the Finnish School assumes a common origin. On the basis of 98 elements from 44 different ethnic groups, a phylogenetic reconstruction (a method from evolutionary biology to determine ancestry and relationships ) was carried out. The tradition in the version of the Valais was the one that came closest to a prehistoric, European original version.



SBB train near Illarsaz ( Collombey-Muraz municipality )

There are several express train routes in Valais, and the train stations in Visp and Brig are important junctions. The Brig station has connections to Geneva - Lausanne -Milan (Rhonetalstrecke) and Basel- Bern -Milan, from here drive the car trains through the Simplon tunnel to Iselle di Trasquera . The Lötschberg base tunnel went into operation in 2007, making the Visp train station a transfer station for the surrounding towns and communities. Due to the increased rail traffic and associated infrastructure projects, the population of Visp has increased significantly since it opened.

Other routes are Lausanne- Simplon , Bern- Lötschberg -Simplon, Martigny - Orsières - Le Châble and Saint-Maurice - Saint-Gingolph .

There are several narrow-gauge railways in Valais, some of which are also cog railways . The Matterhorn-Gotthard-Bahn consists of the former Brig – Visp – Zermatt and Furka – Oberalp railways . The Furka-Oberalp-Bahn runs through the cantons of Graubünden , Uri and Wallis over the Furkapass and Oberalppass to Brig , from where the Brig – Visp – Zermatt-Bahn continues to Visp and to the final stop in Zermatt . The Transports de Martigny et Régions has two separate rail networks, it was created by the merger of the Martigny-Châtelard-Bahn (MC) with the Martigny-Orsières-Bahn (MO), which do not use the same gauges . The MC operates the Mont-Blanc Express from Martigny via Salvan VS up to Le Châtelard VS , from where the SNCF operates the route to Chamonix-Mont-Blanc . The Saint-Bernard Express is operated by the MO and, in contrast to the Mont-Blanc Express, is a standard-gauge railway from Martigny via Sembrancher to Orsières . The Aigle-Ollon-Monthey-Champéry-Bahn is a meter-gauge railway that runs from Aigle VD via Ollon and Monthey to Champéry . It is one of the five lines of the Transports Publics du Chablais. From Zermatt, the Gornergratbahn leads up to the Gornergrat , where the mountain station is at an altitude of 3,089  m above sea level. M. lies. This makes it the second highest mountain railway in Europe after the Jungfrau Railway.

There are also 78 Postbus routes that operate overland transport and the city networks of Brig-Glis / Naters, Monthey / Collombey-Muraz, Sitten and Martigny, and many tourist mountain railways.


In front Grimselstrasse and in the back Furkapassstrasse

The Autobahn 9 runs through the cantons of Vaud and Valais and is partly not dual-lane and directionally separated in Valais. The section in Upper Valais between Susten and Gampel is expected to be completed in 2017. The whole connection from Siders Ost to Gamsen cannot be closed until the late 2020s; The part of Siders Ost to Susten , which leads through the protected Pfynwald nature park , and the Visp tunnel , which is geologically very difficult to complete, pose major problems .

The best known and most important pass roads from Italy are the Simplon Pass and the Great St. Bernhard , from France the Pas de Morgins and the Col de la Forclaz . To other cantons there are the Nufenen Pass to Ticino , the Furka Pass to Uri and in the canton of Bern the Grimsel Pass and the Sanetsch Pass . However, the Sanetsch Pass can only be accessed from the Valais side; from the nearby Gsteig near Gstaad in the canton of Bern, construction would have been too complex because of the steep terrain. In 2019, the degree of motorization (passenger cars per 1000 inhabitants) was 644.


Since 2008, from the age of four, every child has to attend kindergarten for two years. The actual school time consists of six years of primary school and three years of orientation school (including secondary level I ), at the end of which a diploma is awarded if the requirements of the program of the last year of compulsory school are met. If the nine years of compulsory school have been attended but the requirements of the third year of lower secondary school have not been met, only a certificate of school leaving certificate is issued.

The upper secondary level in Valais can be completed as a basic vocational education with a subsequent vocational certificate , certificate of proficiency or vocational baccalaureate , as well as a technical middle school with a final technical baccalaureate or at grammar school with a final high school diploma. The tertiary level comprises training in the field of higher vocational training , higher technical colleges and universities .

Flag and coat of arms

The seal of the canton of Valais from 1582

The Valais flag shows 13 stars in three vertical rows (distribution 4-5-4) on a red and white background. The red half with the white stars is on the right, the five stars in the middle are two-colored. If the flag is mounted on a flagpole, the white half with the red stars is on the side of the mast, thus forming the leech .

Red and white (formerly red and silver) are the colors of the Bishop of Sitten. The 13 stars represent the tens , which is an old name for the districts of Valais. The flag and the coat of arms, at that time still without stars, have been around since 999, when Rudolf III. the Valais handed over to the diocese of Sitten . The flag has been documented since 1220. Sources from the end of the 15th century show coats of arms with 6, 7, 9, 11 and 16 stars. From 1802 there were twelve stars, with the new Conthey district on May 12, 1815, the 13th and so far last star was added.


After 57 BC The area of ​​today's Wallis, called Vallis Poenina by the Romans, was conquered and became a Roman province. Around 888 it became part of the Kingdom of Burgundy . King Rudolf III of Burgundy handed over the county of Valais with all rights and privileges to the Bishop of Sitten in 999. From the second half of the 15th century until 1798, the Valais was divided into seven tens and was therefore also called the Republic of the Seven Tens . This republic asserted its independence from the bishops of Sitten in the 16th century. In 1802 Napoleon I declared the area an independent Republic of Valais and in 1810 the French department du Simplon . In 1815 Valais became the 22nd canton of the Swiss Confederation. The constitution, which is still valid today, was passed in 1907, but since then some passages have been changed by referendums. The women of the canton have been entitled to vote since 1970. In 2000 there were strong floods on the Rhone .

See also

Portal: Valais  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the subject of Valais


Web links

Commons : Canton of Valais  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Canton of Valais  - Sources and full texts
Wiktionary: Wallis  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

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Coordinates: 46 ° 4 '  N , 7 ° 36'  E ; CH1903:  612485  /  101695