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Pfungen coat of arms
State : SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
Canton : Canton ZurichCanton Zurich Zurich (ZH)
District : Winterthurw
BFS no. : 0224i1 f3 f4
Postal code : 8422
Coordinates : 691 014  /  263488 coordinates: 47 ° 30 '57 "  N , 8 ° 38' 49"  O ; CH1903:  six hundred and ninety-one thousand and fourteen  /  263488
Height : 412  m above sea level M.
Height range : 375–638 m above sea level M.
Area : 4.99  km²
Residents: 3845 (December 31, 2018)
Population density : 771 inhabitants per km²
Proportion of foreigners :
(residents without
citizenship )
25.8% (December 31, 2018)
Mayor : Max Rütimann ( SVP )


Location of the municipality
Schützenweiher Bichelsee Guemüliweier Ziegelweier Deutschland Kanton Schaffhausen Kanton St. Gallen Kanton Thurgau Bezirk Andelfingen Bezirk Bülach Bezirk Pfäffikon Bezirk Uster Bezirk Zürich Altikon Brütten Dägerlen Dättlikon Dinhard Elgg Ellikon an der Thur Elsau Hagenbuch ZH Hettlingen ZH Neftenbach Pfungen Rickenbach ZH Schlatt ZH Seuzach Turbenthal Wiesendangen Winterthur Zell ZHMap of Pfungen
About this picture

Pfungen is a municipality in the Winterthur district of the canton of Zurich in Switzerland .

coat of arms


Divided by blue and a grooved silver crenellated wall with an inserted, curved blue tip


Historical aerial photo by Werner Friedli (1953)

Located south of the Töss , with the village of Pfungen on a spur of the Multberg , farm settlements in the Rumstal and the industrial settlements in the Bruni and the Töss lowlands of Neu-Pfungen (Vorbruggen) that arose in the 19th century .


Population development
year Residents
1467 approx. 50
1633 240
1850 522
1888 760
1900 1061
1910 1271
1950 1278
1970 1870
1990 2261


middle Ages

Pfungen under foreign rule

The oldest rulers over Pfungen were the barons of Wart . The first written mention goes back to the year 1322. It is believed, however, that they ruled the entire region earlier. They owned Dättlikon , Neftenbach and Pfungen almost completely and were rulers of the land, the church and the lower jurisdiction in these localities. They were held in high regard in Pfungen and were often peacemakers. The name "Wart" means "observation point". This name makes sense because the von Wart family's castle was on a hill above today's hydroelectric power station in Neftenbach. This castle was a tower from which one could see the whole plain. Over time, a house was built next door and the tower only served as a prison. The barons not only exercised power over the villagers, but also controlled the road from Winterthur to Zurzach . After 1327 there were frequent changes of ownership in the rule over Pfungen. This suggests that this was not particularly popular. From 1454 Pfungen came back into family ownership. Hans Wellenberg and his descendants ruled until 1524. In 1524 Hans Steiner succeeded in buying rule over Pfungen and Wülflingen . He was not a nobleman and felt a bond with his subjects. Six years later he also bought the Beerenberg monastery and thus owned a contiguous area. He retired to the former monastery and set up bailiffs in Pfungen and Wülflingen, who ruled in his name. The rule over Pfungen remained in family ownership again.

Social order

The question about Pfungen's social structure during the Middle Ages has not been clearly clarified. In connection with the Freiherren von Wart “own people” are mentioned. Owners were farmers who managed the land belonging to the landlord independently, but had to give up a large part of their harvest. In addition, self-employed people had to do labor. In 1479 the first written law stipulated that all Pfungen residents had to do five days of forced labor. This indicates that there were no longer any self-employed people, because only free farmers could do the temporary labor. The people of Pfungen had to work for the landlord for four days in summer and one day in winter. In general, the compulsory labor was a great burden for the medieval peasants, as they were often called to work during the sowing or harvest time, when they were urgently needed on their own fields. In addition, the citizens of Pfungen had to pay interest on their land. These remained the same and could hardly be paid for in a year with a poor harvest.


Twice a year, in May and October, all men who were over 14 years old and owned at least three square meters of land gathered on Lindenplatz to attend the public court hearings. The elders of the court declared the law. It has been passed down orally for generations, so it is a common law . There were twelve judges who were either directly appointed or at least suggested by the holder of the jurisdiction. It is true that the judges had to take an oath that they would behave neutrally and fairly, but whether they really dealt with the cases in a non-partisan way remains questionable. In the village square only cases were heard that fell into the category of lower jurisdiction. Examples are rule violations in the forest, in the field and in houses as well as disputes about taxes. Mostly fines were imposed, which the holder of the lower jurisdiction then received. Only the holder of high jurisdiction could decide on serious crimes. These were originally the Counts of Kyburg , then the Counts of Habsburg and, from 1452, the City of Zurich . These cases involved disputes between land rulers and village communities, disputes with neighboring communities as well as major criminal cases by individuals (theft, robbery, murder, witchcraft, rape, etc.). Holders of high jurisdiction could decide on physical and death sentences.

Pfungen Castle

Pfungen Castle by Johann Jakob Biedermann

Pfungen Castle formed the end of the Hinterdorf, the original village center of Pfungen. There were only a few changes to the castle, it remained a medieval building until it was demolished in 1875. The walls were then removed to make way for the railway. The stones were reused for the construction of the embankment over the Bachtobel. Most of the court lords lived in the castle, but when the city of Winterthur began to rule over Pfungen, a castle warden was needed to take care of the building maintenance. The courtyard of the castle was 31 meters long and 21 meters wide and was surrounded by a 90 centimeter thick wall. The tower was 10 meters high.


Even today you can still find two ditches on the ridge of the Multberg through which the hiking trail leads. It is a remnant of the Multburg. The moats were created artificially at that time because an attacker could not come directly to the gate or the wall of the fortress. It is believed that the Multburg was destroyed in 1309 during a campaign of revenge by the Habsburgs. The remaining stones were probably used as building materials for Pfungen houses. In 1953 the Swiss National Museum carried out excavations.


reformed Church

Hinterdorf with ref. church

It is not known when the first church in Pfungen was built. During excavation work in 1964, various remains of the wall were found. It was found that the original church was repeatedly rebuilt and expanded. The pastor had a very important role in medieval village life. He mediated between the authorities and the villagers. The clergyman also cared for the poor in the community. He made sure that they got the financial support they needed from Winterthur. The population of Pfungen was never particularly wealthy because the community's location was previously economically unfavorable. There were long and arduous access roads, and the fields, which were already poor in yield, were also relatively shady. In 1523 the decision came from Zurich that in future all priests should preach Protestantism. The Pfungen pastor at that time, Johannes Müller, was a combative personality. It is believed that he reformed the Pfungen church on his own. With the Reformation the fight against poverty was declared. The basic idea of ​​the Reformation was that the poor should be given the opportunity to earn their own living. People who could not work were given food and, if necessary, clothes and money. When a bad harvest in 1770 led to a great famine, the pastor at the time organized a public pantry so that one was better prepared for future events. The richer citizens of Pfungen had their own reserved space in the church (pew). The chairs had armrests and backrests and could be rented or bought for life. In 1919 the cemetery was moved to its current location (Buckstrasse). Before that, the people from Pfungen were buried in front of the church, but there was little space there.

Catholic Church

Roman Catholic Church of St. Pirminius of Pfungen

The Catholics who moved there because of jobs in industry wanted their own Catholic church in 1896. They came from Germany, Italy and the Catholic areas of Switzerland. The first services took place in a factory hall of the wool factory. A pastor from Bülach held the services bilingual in German and Italian. In 1899 the Pfungen Catholics received their first pastor and the building of the church began. In 1900 there were 200 Catholics in Pfungen, plus 300 Italian seasonal workers in the summer. The church was completed in 1901. In 2014 the parish of St. Priminius had 2933 members. The church is a listed building.

French Revolution

The revolutionary years

The villagers managed the public property independently before 1798. However, it was not possible to step up and leave peasant life behind. Because people from the country were not allowed to become pastors or officials, and it was also forbidden to trade or work as craftsmen. All of these professions could only be exercised by city dwellers. Furthermore, the Pfungener were subjects of the Winterthur and had to deliver taxes. The ideas of the French Revolution promised a way out of injustice ; educated revolutionaries demanded freedom of trade and industry as well as the abolition of basic interest rates. The city of Zurich recognized the threat posed by the French invasion and on February 5, 1798 eliminated the legal differences between city and country. However, the French troops had already marched into Switzerland by this time. In March they took Bern, at the end of April Zurich was finally occupied and on May 5th the French reached Winterthur. The city of Winterthur finally released Pfungen from its subjects. For the Pfungen people, freedom came in one fell swoop. Suddenly they no longer had to obey the strict laws of the court lords and taxes no longer had to be paid (for the time being). The French invasion, however, also had its downsides. Soldiers from Napoleon's army were quartered in Pfungen. These uninvited guests stayed for over half a year and slowly but inexorably used up the supplies. In the meantime, Austria and Russia saw themselves threatened by Napoleon and started a counterattack. On May 19, 1799, the Austrians stood before Neftenbach. The Neftenbachers tried to drive the French out on their own. They succeeded, but the French swore vengeance. The next day the French occupied and sacked the village. There were seven dead, including one from Pfungen. On May 27, 1799 the Austrians attacked and the French had to retreat across the Töss, that is to Pfungen. The Austrians fired cannons at the French. The fighting took place outside the actual village, so Pfungen was only hit with three bullets. A division of the Austrian army was sent to Dättlikon so that the French could be attacked from two sides. However, they recognized the danger and withdrew to Embrach. Finally, on June 4, 1799, the Austrians managed to advance to Zurich. This led to the reintroduction of the old laws. The Pfungener cared little about this, they were much more concerned about their own village. Because after the French had used up most of the supplies, many fields were devastated by the battle. The transitional government was unable to solve the population's problems. Three months later, in September 1799, the French succeeded in retaking Zurich. Again between 250 and 500 French people were quartered in the village. In November the French withdrew. The Pfumgener had meanwhile become very poor. A flood in 1800 made the situation even worse.

Effects of the revolution

On the one hand, the people of Pfungen benefited from the freedom gained by the French Revolution, and on the other hand they suffered great damage from billeting. The abolition of the base rate dragged on over several decades. Because the people of Pfungen had to buy themselves free from their tax obligations. In 1818 the sum of 18,750 guilders was negotiated with Winterthur for the purchase of the tithe. However, this was so much money that the community had to pay off the amount in installments. It wasn't until 1831 that they could pay off everything. Next, the basic rate was tackled. However, the replacement was further delayed due to unforeseen expenses. Winterthur could only be paid out between 1857 and 1870. In 1872 Pfungen was finally officially exempt from all tax burdens.


Before industrialization

At the beginning of the 19th century, most of the Pfungen population were farmers. Grains were grown and a cow or a few goats were kept to meet daily milk needs. These small businesses often did not produce enough income to feed a whole family. The father of the family also looked for another source of income, e.g. B. as a day laborer with the community or the wine growers. The work in the field had to be done by the wife and children. The poorer people in Pfungen made money working from home .

Wool factory

Villa Schlosshalde

When the Eulach flooded in 1852, the basement of the Wollenhof, a dye works for wool, yarn and cloth in Winterthur, was flooded. The wood stored in it was washed away. Ferdinand Ernst, the owner of the Wollenhof, went looking for the wood and found most of it on the banks of the Töss in Pfungen. When his employees were preparing the wood for transport back to Winterthur, he found that the area would be suitable for the construction of a hydropower plant and a factory. In 1853 Ferdinand Ernst bought land and began building the factory building. The "Ernst Wollfabrik" opened just one year later. The factory included a Karderei , a spinning mill , a weaving mill and a fullery . Many people from Pfungen found jobs in the wool factory. They worked 11 hours a day (including weekends). If there were urgent orders or the factory could be brought back into operation after a flood, the work had to be extended even further. The railway line opened in 1876 brought advantages and disadvantages for the company. Although the transport of raw materials and finished products was massively simplified, many workers left the factory because, thanks to the railroad, there was the possibility of finding a job elsewhere. More than half of the products were made for the Swiss Army . In 1888 the woolen factory produced 20,000 military blankets. Ferdinand Ernst's son, Conrad Ernst, built the Schlosshalde villa in the same year because he preferred to live near his factory. In 1900 the "Ernst Wollfabrik" merged with a blanket factory in Turbenthal. The “Swiss Blanket and Cloth Factory Pfungen-Turbenthal” was created. There were some difficulties at first. Business did not go as expected. Ten years after the merger, the situation improved. This succeeded, among other things, because the efficiency could be increased. During the First World War , the military urgently needed blankets and fabrics for uniforms, and production was in full swing. In the interwar period, Pfungen products were first exported to England and South Africa. The factory was expanded further. This paid off during the Second World War when the army relied on a weekly delivery of 1,000 blankets and 65,000 meters of uniform material. In the 1970s, sales fell markedly because the processing of the fabrics into clothing was increasingly relocated abroad. Swiss fabrics have also been supplanted by cheaper cloths produced abroad. The conversion from the factory to the commercial center began. The former factory halls have been renovated and rebuilt to make them attractive for new companies. Today, in addition to various logistics companies, you can also find a manufacturer of steel goals and a sportswear outlet on the former factory site.

Brick factory

Johann Jakob Keller built a brick factory in Neftenbach in 1876. He planned to build an even bigger business in Pfungen, because there were larger clay deposits and a rail connection in Pfungen. The Pfungen brickworks was opened in 1889. The approx. 40 - 50 workers, mainly from Germany, started their work at 4 a.m. A shift lasted ten to twelve hours. Eight years later it became necessary to build a second furnace because more houses were being built as a result of industrialization. To speed up the drying process, JJ Keller also built an artificial drying system. This enabled bricks and roof tiles to be produced even in winter. With the year-round operation, locals also became increasingly aware of the work in the brickworks. Due to the economic boom, up to 100 Italians were also employed, some of whose descendants still live in Pfungen today.

Railway line

Winterthur originally planned to establish a rail connection with Koblenz . There were calculations that were supposed to show that the new route represented the shortest connection between Vienna and Paris and would therefore be internationally important. As with most railway constructions, the individual villages fought over the exact route. There were three main variations and numerous other plans about where exactly the railroad should go in the future. The people of Neftenbach did not want the “devil's work” too close to the grapes because they feared that the smoke emitted by the railway would worsen the quality of the wine. At first, the people of Pfungen were not very interested in the railway. However, when the construction management approached to mark the course of the route with sticks, they noticed that the line was not in their minds because the railway line would have "cut" many fields. A commission was formed to stand up for the interests of the landowners. In the end a compromise was reached, to which, however, Pfungen Castle fell victim. It was canceled to avoid an expensive detour. The railway line was inaugurated on August 1, 1876. From the opening, five trains a day ran in each direction. A drive from Pfungen to Winterthur took a little more than 20 minutes (today: 9 minutes). In the meantime, the people of Neftenbach saw the advantages of the railway and demanded that the station building be relocated to the current location, the station name "Neftenbach-Pfungen" and that the inauguration ceremony should take place in Neftenbach. All of these wishes were granted to them. It was not until 1885 that the name of the station was reversed and since December 2014 the station has only been called “Pfungen”. This change of name was requested by both communities because the double name was misleading (Neftenbach is not near the train station).

Töss correction

Straightened (corrected) course of the Töss

Until the Töss was corrected, it was a wild river with many arms, which repeatedly flooded the broad Töss plain. Village pastor Johann Jakob Meyer worked out a draft for an artificial canal in 1774 and listed the advantages that would result:

  • The road between Winterthur and Zurzach would be safer for travelers because a bridge could be built.
  • A further spread of marsh fever (= malaria ) could be prevented.
  • The river bed of the Töss could be limited to a narrower area and there would be more arable land.

It was not until 1846, 50 years after Pastor Meyer's death, that the Töss correction began. A 4.5 meter deep canal was dug in which the Töss should flow calmly in the future. Soon after, there was a flood and the canal blocked - the Töss plain was flooded once more. In 1854 a dam was built on the Pfungen side of the Töss to protect the new woolen factory in the future. After a few more floods, the task of correcting the Töss was transferred to the canton of Zurich, which in 1881 was able to get the problem under control over the long term. In 1999 the Töss carried so much water that the power station there was completely flooded. However, the dam has not broken since 1953.


Mayor is Max Rütimann ( SVP ) (as of May 2020).



  • Hans Martin Gubler, Art Monuments of Switzerland Volume 76 “The Art Monuments of the Canton of Zurich Volume 7 The District of Winterthur Southern Part” Society for Swiss Art History GSK Bern 1986 ISBN 3-7643-1786-8 pp. 172–212.

Web links

Commons : Pfungen  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Permanent and non-permanent resident population by year, canton, district, municipality, population type and gender (permanent resident population). In: bfs. . Federal Statistical Office (FSO), August 31, 2019, accessed on December 22, 2019 .
  2. Data on the resident population by home, gender and age (community profile). Statistical Office of the Canton of Zurich, accessed on December 22, 2019 .
  3. Heini Steiner: “Pfungen. Local history and homeland book. ”Pfungen community, Pfungen 1954.
  4. Heini Steiner, Mario Bont: 993 Pfungen 1993. Pfungen community, Pfungen 1993.
  5. Heini Steiner: “Pfungen. Local history and homeland book. ”Pfungen community, Pfungen 1954.
  6. Catholic Church of the Canton of Zurich (ed.): Annual Report 2014., Zurich 2014, p. 78.
  7. Heini Steiner: “Pfungen. Local history and homeland book. ”Pfungen community, Pfungen 1954.
  8. Hans Rudolf Steiner: "Industrialization and its repercussions on agriculture using the example of the Pfungen community." Geographical Institute of the University of Zurich, Zurich 1957.
  9. Swiss blanket and cloth factories: "Fifty years." Swiss blanket and cloth factories, Winterthur 1950.
  10. Eskimo Textil AG: "Eskimo through the ages." Eskimo Textil AG, Turbenthal 2006.
  11. Heini Steiner: “Pfungen. Local history and homeland book. ”Pfungen community, Pfungen 1954.
  12. Heini Steiner: “Pfungen. Local history and homeland book. ”Pfungen community, Pfungen 1954.
  13. Heini Steiner: “Pfungen. Local history and homeland book. ”Pfungen community, Pfungen 1954.
  14. Heini Steiner: “Pfungen. Local history and homeland book. ”Pfungen community, Pfungen 1954.