St. Niklaus VS

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VS is the abbreviation for the canton of Valais in Switzerland and is used to avoid confusion with other entries of the name St. Niklaus .
St. Niklaus
Coat of arms of St. Niklaus
State : SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
Canton : Canton of ValaisCanton of Valais Valais (VS)
District : Visp
BFS no. : 6292i1 f3 f4
Postal code : 3924
Coordinates : 628 127  /  113981 coordinates: 46 ° 10 '36 "  N , 7 ° 48' 10"  O ; CH1903:  six hundred and twenty-eight thousand one hundred and twenty-seven  /  113981
Height : 1120  m above sea level M.
Height range : 898-4322 m above sea level M.
Area : 89.24  km²
Residents: 2239 (December 31, 2018)
Population density : 25 inhabitants per km²
St. Niklaus village with church and steeple seen from the south.  In the background from the left Embd, Törbel and the Bernese Alps.

St. Niklaus village with church and steeple seen from the south. In the background from the left Embd , Törbel and the Bernese Alps .

Location of the municipality
Lac de Moiry Mattmarksee Lago di Place Moulin Italien Kanton Bern Bezirk Brig Bezirk Entremont Bezirk Goms Bezirk Hérens Bezirk Leuk Bezirk Östlich Raron Bezirk Siders Bezirk Westlich Raron Baltschieder Baltschieder Eisten VS Embd Grächen Lalden Randa VS Saas-Almagell Saas-Balen Saas-Fee Saas-Grund St. Niklaus VS Stalden VS Staldenried Täsch Törbel Visp Visperterminen Zeneggen ZermattMap of St. Niklaus
About this picture

St. Niklaus ( Valais German Zaniglas [ˌtsaniglaːs] or Saniglas [ˌsaniglaːs] , French Saint-Nicolas ) is a Munizipalgemeinde , a civic community and a village of the district Visp and a parish of the deanery Visp in the Swiss canton of Valais . St. Niklaus is the capital of the Mattertal (also called Nikolaital ) and in terms of population the third largest municipality in the Visp district after Zermatt and Visp . In the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, St. Niklaus was a center of mountaineering in the Alps and the center of mountain guides .


The municipality of St. Niklaus is located in the Mattertal at the foot of the Weisshorn group with the main summit Weisshorn ( 4505  m above sea level ) and the Mischabel with the main summit Dom ( 4545  m above sea level ). Of the 8,928 ha of municipal area, 1.7% is settlement area (155 ha), 8.3% is agricultural area (741 ha), 22.2% is wooded area (1 984 ha) and 67.7% is unproductive area (6 048 ha) . It is the sixth largest municipality in Upper Valais. The highest point in the municipality is the Nadelhorn of the Mischabel at 4327  m above sea level. M. and the lowest point is at 900  m above sea level. M. in the tips.

The community of St. Niklaus is a scattered settlement and consists of three village settlements

With a length of 7.5 km, it is the longest village in Upper Valais . The southernmost, permanently inhabited settlement is the hamlet Breitmatten ( 1280  m above sea level ), the northernmost the hamlet Rittinen ( 1455  m above sea level ), the highest the village Gasenried ( 1659  m above sea level ) and the lowest located Hamlet Steg ( 1060  m above sea level ).

Alp Junge above St. Niklaus Dorf, left side of the valley


Quartzite slabs from the Mattertal (here from the Lochmatter quartzite slab quarries in St. Niklaus VS) with a view of the unprocessed cleavage surfaces. The quartzite blocks loosened from the rock formation were split into these slabs by hand.

The section of the Mattertal in the area of ​​the municipality of St. Niklaus is located in the rocks of the Bernhard deck complex of the middle Penninic (Briançonnais). The peaks and upper slopes of the mountains consist mainly of two - mica gneiss and chlorite - muscovite slate and eye gneiss . These represent Variscan crystalline from the Siviez-Mischabel ceiling. Below on the slopes underscore (left) on the western flank of the Matter - with over Schiebungs contact to the eye gneiss - Permo - Triassic , greenschist facies metamorphism overprinted sedimentary rocks of the "valley of St. Niklaus" hang in parallel. This is to quartzites , mica -rich quartzite and mica schist . These are buried in the direction of the valley floor by Quaternary debris ( alluvial fans , etc.). On the eastern flank of the valley, the Quaternary overburden extends significantly further up the slope.

In smears of approximately 40 degrees to the west incident metasediments the left side of the valley of today's community of St. Niklaus at about 1,300 meters above sea level was up to the year 2005, at the north end of St. Niklauser quartzite mined commercially. It is a two to three meter thick layer of greenish quartzite. The rock was broken out of the mountain both above ground and in tunnels up to 600 meters long. St. Niklaus quartzite combines two properties that make it a special natural stone: its green color and its good cleavability. The roofs of the buildings in the center of St. Niklaus Dorf are all covered with these native quartzite slabs. In addition, the quartzite slab quarries in the municipality of St. Niklaus are among the few European quarries without road access.


Interesting finds from the Mesolithic were made near under the Balmulägni ( 1232  m above sea level ) on the way to Junge and in the Irmenzen ( 1140  m above sea level ) . Both graves and fireplaces were found, but a stone plate with spoons and a beautifully preserved stone ax that is 35 cm long were also found. 1891 were in the perforated mats at an altitude of 1098  m above sea level. M. discovered twenty stone slab graves from the Neolithic . A grave could even be opened under one of the stone slabs, which contained a stone beaker six cm high and two bracelets. On July 20, 1971, during the excavation work for the foundations of a house built in the Gerstern ( 1083  m above sea level ), a grave was found that contained bracelets and other pieces of jewelry. The Swiss National Museum described the finds as originating from the old Rhone culture. The experts in Sion and Zurich agreed that this grave dates back to the first millennium BC.

Various finds prove that the south-north trade route that goes through St. Niklaus was used thousands of years ago. At the Stone Age settlement in the Irmenzen in the direction of the Junge and Augstbord Pass ( 2893  m above sea level ) one encounters the Bicki technique of the stones placed, which was of particular importance for old connecting routes. In August 2003 was on the way to boys at an altitude of around 1440  m above sea level. M. discovered an arrowhead made of rock crystal on both sides, dating back to the first half of the third millennium BC. Chr. Allows. The stemmed arrowhead weighs 1.66 g, measures 2.4 cm in height and 1.9 cm in width. It is not completely preserved. The tip is missing, one wing tip has broken off and the second is slightly bumped. The handle is also damaged. Finally, during the renovation work on the chapel, boys at 1940  m above sea level. M. Animal bones found, which suggest a Mesolithic settlement.

In the further course of this trade route, the sick and the infirm, who tried to alleviate their suffering at the nearby healing spring , the Golden Fountain .

Place name

The current name of the parish goes back to the patron saint of the place and the parish church , Nikolaus von Myra . The church is mentioned in 1272 as ecclesia Sancti Nicholai de Chouson, Gebreitun de Gazun .

This older Franco-Provencal name for the place appears as early as 1233 when Waltherus de Chousun was mentioned . In the following centuries it can be found in different variants such as Chosun, Gauson, Zauxon, Gason, Schouson until 1674 regularly. Today he lives on in the name of the hamlet of Gasenried above St. Niklaus Dorf . It may be based on the Latin personal name Calidius ; the place name would thus go back to a former landowner.


Family coat of arms of von Riedmatten, Hildebrand von Riedmatten (around 1530–1604), Bishop of Sitten from 1565 to 1604, 1594 Imperial Assembly in the Regensburg City Hall

With the increasing collapse of the Roman Empire in the second half of the 4th and the first half of the 5th century, the Bishop of Sitten and the pastor of St. Niklaus soon assumed a position that had previously been intact as a central power and the structure of the empire. Had held members of the municipal and state administration. The former coat of arms of St. Nicholas, which is based on the exchange binding of the former town hall was found up in two diagonally opposite red fields two congruent Mitras and equal in the two other green areas two books, each with three balls represent. These were certainly sign that power in the valley was in the hands of the Church of St. Niklaus and the Bishop of Sitten. The miter stands as a symbol for the bishop and the book with three spheres as a symbol for Nikolaus von Myra , who is both the patron saint of the Mattertal and today's parish of St. Niklaus. Then St. Niklaus is cited as an episcopal ministry under the name Chouson in 1218 in a first document that has been preserved. Between 1218 and 1257, the Meier Anselm von St. Niklaus and von Chouson, who were relatives of the canon and grand cantor Walter de Chouson (around 1185–1248), are mentioned several times in old writings .

In the Middle Ages , the area of ​​today's municipality was divided into five different administrative units, namely:

  • Dorf / Dorfmark,
  • Boys,
  • Matt (or Mad),
  • Wichel and
  • Gasenried / Ried.

As far back as the Middle Ages, it can also be proven that the Dorfmark municipality is the capital of the valley . What the community of boys at 1960  m above sea level. M. concerns, it can be said that there were settlements inhabited all year round in the Alpine region up to the onset of the Little Ice Age up to altitudes of around 2,200  m above sea level. M. gave.

In 1361 there was a riot against Bishop Witschard Tavelli (Guichard Tavel). As a punishment, St. Niklaus was banned from church , from which it was released again in 1362. In 1435 the Zenden received the right from the bishop to appoint their Meier and Kastläne (judges) themselves. The Meier was elected by the village communities for a limited time. The duties and responsibilities of the selected Meiers can on the whole with those of today's mayors are compared. Two great Meier von St. Niklaus were Georg Majoris (1440–1506) and Thomas von Schallen (1480–1541). Georg Majoris managed to become governor of the Valais twice in 1494–1495 and 1499–1501 . On December 6, 1499, he presided over the district administrator in the Valais capital, who accepted the papal appointment of Matthäus Schiner as Bishop of Sitten. Georg Majoris was one of the most powerful men in Upper Valais at the time. Thomas von Schallen started his successful career at a young age as Meier von St. Niklaus. He was also a member of the district council of Zenden Visp in Sion several times . On March 21, 1524, as a representative for the Valais, he took part in a federal assembly in Lucerne , the first joint state organ of the federal places, which was half the conference of ambassadors half the supreme federal council. He also moved across the Alps in the pay of France. In later years he became a Grand Castellan of the Valais capital.

Since 1618 St. Niklaus and his valley were independent. Up until the French Revolution in 1789, St. Niklaus and Zermatt were together a quarter of the Zenden Visp and regularly provided the highest magistrates , the Kastlan , the banner lord or the Zenden captain. The Meier also represented St. Niklaus in the parliamentary Zendenrat in Visp and in the Valais district administrator in Sion. In 1798, Peter Josef Imboden (1763–1858) was the last Meier of St. Niklaus. In the French war Zaniglaser died twenty-two in the years 1798 and 1799th

Until 1865, today's municipality of St. Niklaus was divided into four different administrative units:

  • Dorfmark / Dorfmatt, which encompassed the area of ​​today's village of St. Niklaus with boys (southern boundary: Spisszug (left side of Mattervispa ) and Giretsche (Stockschleif, right side of Vispa)),
  • outer Matt (today's hamlets of Biffig, Ballacker, Balmatten, Schwiedernen, Stahlen and Stock),
  • inner Matt (today's village of Herbriggen and the hamlets Mattsand and Breitmatten) and
  • Gasen / Ried (today's village of Gasenried / Ried and the hamlets of Rittinen and Wichel).

This is made clear in the four stars of today's municipal coat of arms. The cloverleaf in the coat of arms indicates the von Riedmatten family, which has its roots in St. Niklaus in the hamlet of Riedmatten and has been mentioned since the end of the 13th century. Sitten , Munster and St. Gingolph were mostly her later places of residence. From it went six bishops , 20 canons, 16 governors, a general, also state and Zenden captains out. The second wife of Kaspar Stockalper (1609–1691), the Fugger of the Alps, was Cäcilia von Riedmatten. But lines of the von Riedmatten family also lead to Vienna , Paris and the USA , Argentina and Haiti .

In 1866, the two municipalities of St. Niklaus Dorf (Dorfmark / Dorfmatt) and St. Niklaus Matt (outer and inner Matt), which were still independent at that time, merged to form the new municipality of St. Niklaus. In 1870 the community of Gasenried (Gasen / Ried) was merged with St. Niklaus.

On August 26, 1890, the first train ran from Visp to St. Niklaus. At the end of 1927/1928, the Visp-Zermatt-Bahn (VZ) reached St. Niklaus for the first time during winter. Guests were taken to Zermatt by horse-drawn sleigh. From November 1928 to May 1929, a pair of trains ran for the first time on a scheduled basis between Visp and St. Niklaus. In addition, from December 21, 1928 to the end of February 1929, a sports train ran from Visp via St. Niklaus to Zermatt. With the completion of the protective structures at the end of October 1933, today's Matterhorn-Gotthard-Bahn started operating all year round to Zermatt, as it had been to St. Niklaus since 1928.

In 1937 the car road to St. Niklaus was built, which, in contrast to the old mule track, does not meander along the left, but right valley slope of the front Mattertal. Since Kantonshauptstrasse 213 was completed in 1967 as far as Herbriggen and then to the other communities of Randa , Täsch and Zermatt to the south in the Mattertal, St. Niklaus was, like Täsch today, the focal point for motorists for over 30 years. The cars had to be parked in St. Niklaus.


Population development
year 1798 1850 1900 1950 2000 2010 2012 2014 2016
Residents 450 551 922 1604 2304 2358 2325 2291 2265

Mountain guide dynasty of St. Niklaus (Zaniglas)

Alpinism pioneers

Peter Knubel (1832–1919), first to climb the highest mountain in Europe
Home of the mountain guide Alois Pollinger senior in St. Niklaus Dorf as seen from Dorfstrasse. Alois Pollinger was the inventor of double rope rappelling.

Reading in alpine literature, we repeatedly come across a name: St. Niklaus. Great and exceptional mountain guides were active here. St. Niklaus developed thanks

to the center of the mountaineering school in Switzerland and the starting point for demanding tours.

Josef Marie Lochmatter and Peter Knubel were the first knowledgeable Matterhorn guides and thus the pioneers of today's tourist development in the Mattertal and especially in Zermatt . The two friends from St. Niklaus repeated the ascent of the Matterhorn so often that they almost exclusively had a monopoly on Matterhorn climbs. Peter Knubel was the first Swiss guide to climb a mountain outside the Alps in 1874: in the Caucasus, the first ascent of the highest peak in Europe, the Elbrus ( 5642  m ). Alois Pollinger was the inventor of abseiling with double ropes, because he was the first to manage the first descent over the Ferpècle ridge of the Dent Blanche in this way . Josef Imboden was the first Swiss to climb a mountain in the Himalayas , the highest and most powerful mountain range on earth, in 1883 , where he achieved the first ascent of the then unnamed Khanla Kang ( 6058  m ).

Initiators of the new school (their sons)

The fathers took their sons with them on their tours early on. From their ranks again came the pioneers of a new school, which brought about an upswing in mountaineering that remained unmatched until the 1930s. They were no longer satisfied with climbing a high peak, but chose increasingly difficult routes. The Zaniglaser rope teams

had conquered practically everything in the Alps that there was to climb back then. The second generation of Zaniglaser mountain guides provided the first ski guides and were also pioneers overseas.

Alpine center with over 300 first ascents

The Zaniglaser mountain guides are responsible for over 300 first ascents, both in Switzerland and far beyond the country's borders. Routes and mountains in Switzerland, France, Norway and Canada have been named by them or bear their names. One of the things to think about is that

  • to the Viereselsgrat of Dent Blanche in the Valais Alps (Zinalgrat of Dent Blanche, named after a saying by Alois Pollinger, after the first ascent in 1882),
  • to the Lochmatter chimney of the Aiguille du Grépon in the French Alps (first route opened by Josef Lochmatter in 1913),
  • to the Knubel chimney of the Aiguille du Grépon in the French Alps (first route opened by Josef Knubel in 1911),
  • to the Imbodentind in Norway (first ascent by Josef Imboden in 1899),
  • to Mount Pollinger and Mount Sarbach in Canada.

To date, 21 mountain guides from Zaniglaser have died a violent death. For their wives and children, these occupational accidents meant serious blows of fate.

Mountain guide monument and the first mountain guide museum

In more recent writings, however, this chapter of alpinism was ignored more and more. Much valuable evidence from this period has been lost or destroyed. As a result, on Pentecost Sunday, July 4th 1995, a memorial for all mountain guides from St. Niklaus was inaugurated. This also refers to the historical facts described above. In 2000, a mountain guide museum was opened in St. Niklaus Dorf in the historic Meier tower , which is the first of its kind in the world.


The executive, the municipal council, consists of seven members. The mayor is Paul Biffiger ( SVP , as of January 13, 2017).


St. Niklaus is home to the industrial company Scintilla AG, a subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH . In this company, the 600 employees (550 permanent and 50 temporary) manufacture accessories for electrical devices, with St. Niklaus being the global industry leader in the manufacture of jigsaw and reciprocating saw blades as well as Starlocks. In the 60 years of jigsaw production at the St. Niklaus VS plant, the four billionth saw blade was manufactured in 2007.

In the tertiary sector , the merger of the Raiffeisen banks St. Niklaus, Grächen (1993), Randa (1997), Täsch (1998), Zermatt (1999), Embd (2000), Vispertal ( Stalden , Staldenried , Törbel and Eisten 2005), Saas-Grund (2005) and Saas-Fee (2005), one of the largest Raiffeisen banks in the canton of Valais, headquartered in St. Niklaus VS and with total assets of around 1.8 billion Swiss francs, were created under the new name Raiffeisenbank Mischabel - Matterhorn . The St. Niklaus System Raiffeisen loan fund was founded in 1907 and is the oldest of its kind in the canton of Valais.

In the wake of the large industrial company Scintilla AG as well as the proximity of the Grächen and Zermatt tourist stations, a small business has grown in the municipality of St. Niklaus.

On February 25, 2005, the general assemblies of the Embd community and on March 12, 2005 the St. Niklaus community granted EVN Energieversorgung Nikolai AG the concession for power supply on their territory. So far, these two communities have been supplied with electricity by Walliser Elektrizitätsgesellschaft AG (WEG). On April 26, 2005 EVN was founded in the burger room of the mountain guide museum in St. Niklaus Dorf and the statutes were approved. The municipality of St. Niklaus holds 55%, the municipality of Embd with 10% and EnAlpin AG with 35% of the shares in the public limited company based in St. Niklaus.

KW Jungbach AG was founded on July 2, 2012 , in which the community of St. Niklaus has a 51% stake and Aletsch AG, a subsidiary of EnAlpin AG, has a 49% stake. Their power plant on Jungbach was inaugurated on April 29, 2015. The water intake is located in the Jungtal at an altitude of 2360  m above sea level. M. and the completely underground headquarters at 1259  m above sea level. M. , which connects the 2.8 km long pressure pipe with a diameter of 500 mm. The annual production of 14.3 million kilowatt hours covers the annual electricity consumption of 3,000 households.


Domestic goats on the wooden bridge over the Jungbach on the hiking trail from St. Niklaus Dorf to Alp Junge ( Jungeweg ).
Cable car on boys . View above Gafinu to St. Niklaus and the rear Mattertal . In the background from the right Klein Matterhorn , Breithorn , Pollux and Castor . Group of houses on the right rafters , including Teli .

St. Niklaus was of great importance for tourism (see above under “ The mountain guide dynasty of St. Niklaus (Zaniglas) ”) and is the starting point for the towns of Grächen , Zermatt and Saas-Fee , especially in winter .

Walking and hiking

The network of hiking trails around the municipality is constantly being expanded:

Alpine lift and alpine festival

At the beginning of each summer, the Alp is occupied with a mass celebration in the Junge chapel . In midsummer the alpine farmers and the animals move on to the Jungtal .

Since 1980, the Alpine Festival has been taking place on Alp Junge every year towards the end of July or the beginning of August, which opens with a field service at the Seewjinen rest area ( Valais German Seewjini ) at 1998  m , which is not far above the terminus ( 1990, 5  m ) of the St. Niklaus Dorf - Jungs passenger cable car. At this rest area there is a small lake, fire pits and wooden tables with benches.

Recreation center, mountaineering and climbing

The Schwiedernen local recreation center ( 1163  m ) with its parking lots, fire pits, tables and toilets is the starting point for the Medji St. Niklaus VS climbing garden . The hamlet of Schwiedernen is located two kilometers south of St. Niklaus Dorf ( 1120  m ) on the left side of the Vispa at the foot of the Wänguberg ( 2219  m ) or Walkerschmatt ( 2139  m ). In the local recreation center there is an old water-powered frame saw and a restored grain mill with horizontal wheel , above which a bakery with an oven from 1930 has been preserved. At the northern end of the local recreation center there is a footbridge over the Vispa, which was renovated in 2006, so that the hamlet of Balmatten ( 1100  m ) can be reached on the right-hand side of the Vispa.

The 26 routes of the gneiss crack climbing garden Medji St. Niklaus VS ( 1480  m ) are up to 90 meters long and between 6a and 7b difficult, which is located above the hamlet of Schwiedernen ( Valais German Schwiedernu, 1163  m ) south of St. Niklaus Dorf.

From Junge are mountains like the Sparrenhorn ( 2988  m ), Festihorn ( 3092  m ), Wasuhorn ( 3343  m ), Rothorn ( 3278  m ), Steitalhorn ( 3164  m ), Schwarzhorn ( 3201  m ), Dreizehntenhorn ( 3052  m ) and Augstbordhorn ( 2971  m ) can be reached. The Augstbord Pass ( 2893  m ) runs between the Steitalhorn and Schwarzhorn .

In the area of ​​the municipality of St. Niklaus there are two high alpine huts:

Mountain run

The Zermatt Marathon or Gornergrat Zermatt Marathon has been taking place in July since 2002 and is the third largest mountain marathon in Switzerland and runs from St. Niklaus Dorf ( 1116  m ) via Zermatt ( 1616  m ) to the Riffelberg ( 2585  m ) and the Gornergrat ( 3089  m ) leads. On May 12, 2005 the sponsoring association of the Zermatt Marathon was founded in St. Niklaus. The first chairman of the board and organizing committee was the former mayor of St. Niklaus Stefan Truffer.

The church tower of St. Niklaus is decorated as a figure of Santa Claus in Advent. According to the entry in the Guinness Book of Records , this is the world's largest figure of St. Nicholas.

Mountain biking and paragliding

A total of thirteen mountain bike tours are available in St. Niklaus , including a .:

  • St. Niklaus Dorf - Tennjen ( 1360  m ) - Hellenen ( 1523  m ) - Schalbett ( 1683  m ) - Flüewald - Biffig ( 1272  m ) - Schwiedernen ( 1151  m ) - Balmatten ( 1100  m ) - St. Niklaus Dorf (medium level of difficulty : asphalt roads, dirt roads and good paths)
  • St. Niklaus Dorf - Schwiedernen ( 1163  m ) - Mattsand - Herbriggen - Breitmatten - Randa - Täsch - Zermatt (difficult level of difficulty: mostly natural roads and paths)
  • St. Niklaus Dorf - Kalpetran - Stalden - Visp (difficult level of difficulty: mostly natural roads and paths that always remain on the left side of the river between Kalpetran and Visp)
  • St. Niklaus Dorf - Jungs ( 1960  m ) - Moosalp ( 2048  m ) - Brand ( 1595  m ) - Unterbäch ( 1193  m ) - Turtig ( 635  m ) - Visp ( 658  m ) - Stalden ( 795  m ) - Kalpetran ( 896  m ) m ) - St. Niklaus Dorf (extreme degree of difficulty: steep paths, with carrying routes)

I.a. Alp Junge ( 1960  m above sea level ) above St. Niklaus Dorf is a suitable starting point for a paragliding flight .

Culture / events

Every year, the New Year's song, which is over 250 years old, is sung and musically accompanied by members of the New Year's Club in the households during the New Year's season.

The home conference in St. Niklaus has been held every five years on the weekend of Pentecost since 1949 and 1955 .

Since 1998, the world's tallest Nicholas has always been in St. Niklaus in December. For this purpose, the St. Nicholas event and a mass celebration in honor of the patron saint take place on December 5th and 6th ( Zaniglastag ) .

Largest Nicholas figure in the world

The church tower of St. Niklaus VS received an entry in the Guinness Book of Records in 2000 . During the Christmas season of 1998, the entire church tower, which measures 36.80 meters in height, was dressed as St. Nicholas under the slogan the tallest St. Nicholas in the deepest valley of Switzerland , with the onion cap serving as the head. Nikolaus is both the patron saint of the Mattertal and the parish of St. Niklaus.


Medieval steeple of the church of St. Niklaus, which is the largest onion dome in Upper Valais and measures 36.80 meters in height
The former parish hall of St. Niklaus, built in 1640
  • The church of St. Niklaus with its medieval onion dome, which is the largest onion dome in Upper Valais.
  • The 3.70 meter high mountain guide monument located on the church square.
  • The Meier Tower with mountain guide museum , which was built in 1273 and which is the oldest surviving building in the Mattertal . The mountain guide museum was opened in 2000, making it the first in the world.
  • The former Hotel Kreuz / Croix, whose first written mention dates back to 1563 and is therefore the first hotel in the Vispertal valleys (Matter and Saas valleys ).
  • The former parish hall, which according to the inscription was built in 1640.


  • Walter de Chouson (around 1185–1248), Canon and Grand Cantor .
  • Members of the von [de] Riedmatten family (see above under “ History ”). The family name Riedmatten comes from the hamlet Riedmatten , which is located in the north of today's municipality of St. Niklaus VS, where the Riedbach flows into the Vispe .
  • Georg Majoris (1440–1506), Meier von St. Niklaus (see above under “ History ”).
  • Thomas von Schallen (1480–1541), Meier von St. Niklaus (see above under “ History ”).
  • Johann Peter Imboden (1686–1764), priest in his home parish of St. Niklaus from 1730 to 1764, poet and theater director . Among other things, he wrote several popular plays , including tragedies , which he also performed in St. Niklaus. Canon Dr. Albert Carlen as an important poetic creation.
  • Josef Marie Lochmatter (1833–1882), founder and ancestor of the well-known St. Niklaus mountain guide dynasty. The family name Lochmatter comes from the hamlet of Lochmatten in St. Niklaus.
  • Otto Bayard –Chanton (1881–1957), doctor in St. Niklaus, who is the father of iodine prophylaxis and the correct doses of iodine potassium added to table salt to treat iodine deficiency symptoms.
  • Rudolf Bittel (1901–1977), mayor of St. Niklaus from 1944 to 1960, who initiated the establishment of Industrie Scintilla AG in St. Niklaus from 1946 to 1947. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Scintilla AG, the memory of President Bittel was honored with a bronze relief at the regional school building in St. Niklaus Dorf, the location of the former Grand Hotel and the first production facility of Scintilla AG in St. Niklaus.
  • Erwin Lochmatter (1911–1987), entrepreneur , mountain and ski guide, who made St. Niklaus quartzite stone slabs known in Europe beyond the borders of Valais.
  • Ulrich Imboden (1911–1988), entrepreneur, politician and mountain guide, who until the 1960s expanded his company into the largest Swiss private construction company and is considered a pioneer in mountain hut and high mountain construction (Klein-Matterhorn cable car at 3820  m above sea level). above Zermatt, rotating restaurant Metro Alpin on the Mittelallalin at 3500  m above sea level above Saas Fee etc.).
  • Hieronymus Lochmatter (1916–1993), conductor and composer a. a. of the famous Walliser March.
  • Karl Burgener (1918–1994), priest in St. Niklaus from 1965 to 1993, composer, writer, songwriter, choir director and conductor, who was one of the most important promoters of church singing in Upper Valais in the 20th century.
  • Hans Schock (* 1934), former director of Scintilla St. Niklaus VS, who led the company between 1970 and 1996 to become the global industry leader in the manufacture of jigsaw blades. He became a burger from St. Niklaus in 1969 and received the honorary citizenship of the St. Niklaus community in 2015.
  • Jean-Paul Brigger (* 1957), former Swiss national player and football coach. In his honor, one of the three sports fields in the area of ​​the municipality of St. Niklaus was named after him (sports field Jean-Paul Brigger, which is located not far above the St. Niklaus train station ( 1126.7  m above sea level ) on the route of the Brig- Visp-Zermatt-Bahn of the Matterhorn-Gotthard-Bahn is located at 1142  m above sea level , Birchmatten sports field ( 1142  m above sea level ) and Herbriggen sports field ( 1236  m above sea level )).


The first school in Mattertal was in St. Niklaus. Wolf writes about this: In 1509 Pastor Anton Platter opened a school at St. Niklaus, which was attended not only by his cousin Thomas Platter , but also by other boys.

In 1626, the Valais bishop Hildebrand Jost ordered that girls should also be taught in the parish schools. School instruction was then made compulsory for seven to fourteen year old boys and girls for five months a year in 1828.

In 1874 a school building was built near the church in St. Niklaus Dorf. Previously, the lessons were held in hotel rooms, in private homes or in the rectory.

Viktor Summermatter from St. Niklaus was one of the great sponsors of the secondary school in Valais. The parish of St. Niklaus had its own secondary school from 1949.


The two still preserved tin cans of the Herbriggen rifle guild from the 19th century

The citizens of the community of St. Niklaus stand out among others. a. also through a lively club life . There are 69 active associations in the community (as of September 2015). The oldest clubs in St. Niklaus are the following:

  • The theater association Alpenrösli St. Niklaus VS, which still exists today, was founded in 1934. A theater association may have existed in St. Niklaus before that, as Johann Peter Imboden (1686–1764) performed plays in St. Niklaus in the 18th century.
  • The oldest club in St. Niklaus that still exists today is the New Year's Club. Handwritten documents from the library of the Brig college show that in the folk play Contrafei of the noble virgin Walesia , written by Johann and Augustin Steffen zu Viesch 1770–1780, the stage directions say that the chorus ending of the first act should be sung in the tone like a happy New Year become. The St. Niklaus New Year's Song is therefore assumed to be known. In addition, the New Year's song of 1833 is mentioned in the parish chronicle, which is sung and musically accompanied by the members of the New Year's Association to this day in the households of St. Niklaus during the New Year.
  • The Herbriggen rifle guild was founded in 1848. There are two old tin cans. The year 1826 is engraved on one of the covers.
  • The Edelweiss St. Niklaus VS music society, which is still active today, was founded in 1872. The founding statutes of the Edelweiss St. Niklaus Music Society say: In 1872, November 14th, at St. Niklaus, a new music society was founded. Consequently, there must have been a music society in St. Niklaus beforehand.

Myths and legends

Like every village, St. Niklaus has its sagas and legends . Probably the most famous is that of St. Nicholas when he saved the village from being buried.

It is striking that the ancestors of St. Niklaus built their church and the village under such a steep and jagged mountain, the Dorftossen (in the dialect “Dorftossu”) and in the area of ​​a dangerous avalanche train. When one wanted to build a new church, the old one was buried, in a field where there was no danger, the building materials and tools mysteriously disappeared every night. They were found under the village jar and the dangerous rafters. One evening two shepherd boys said they had seen two goblins in the village and heard them making the attempt to throw down the village in order to spill the valley. One was supposed to dig loose the supports of the mountain at the bottom, the other push down the mountain at the top. Both immediately got to work. But it didn't work. The mountain didn't move an inch. The lower goblin, furious about it, cheered on the assistant: "Choluremi zich!" («Pull tight!»). This howled loudly: "The Glasi is not laht!" («Saint Nicholas does not allow it!»). Because St. Nicholas did not let the mountain fall down, the Zaniglaser built a church in his honor in the same place where the old one stood.

According to a legend, today's St. Niklaus village stands on a buried village. The hamlets of Biffig and Balmatten on the right side of the valley are in landslide areas. Opposite the Blattbach, according to the legend, there is a submerged village under the rubble. Likewise, the hamlet of Mattsand is said to lie on the rubble of a settlement destroyed by a landslide.


"Zaniglas over the year"

The four-season film “Zaniglas over the year” shows the beauty of nature in the community of St. Niklaus (Zaniglas) and its play with time. For this purpose, a wide variety of landscape shots were captured with cameras and time-lapse photographs over a year from March 2014 to March 2015.

"My village St. Niklaus" and "Hiä im liäbu Zaniglas"

The two songs "Mein Dorf St. Niklaus" and "Hiä im liäbu Zaniglas" ("Here in love St. Niklaus") were composed by Karl Burgener , who was pastor in St. Niklaus from 1965 to 1993.

See also


Web links

Commons : St. Niklaus VS  - 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. See for example Poscht us Zaniglas, Mitteilungsblatt der Gemeinde St. Niklaus.
  3. ^ Linguistic Atlas of German-speaking Switzerland , Volume V, 1a.
  4. a b Lexicon of Swiss Community Names, ed. from the Center de Dialectologie at the University of Neuchâtel under the direction of Andres Kristol, Frauenfeld / Lausanne 2005, p. 793 f.
  5. ^ Foundation "Pro Nikolai": place and field names St. Niklaus - Herbriggen - Gasenried . Rotten Verlag, St. Niklaus 2017, ISBN 978-3-906118-64-2 .
  6. complete paragraph after P. Bearth: Geological Atlas of Switzerland 1: 25,000, sheet N ° 71: St. Niklaus (LK 1308). Federal Office for Topography, Wabern 1978.
  7. Christian Imboden: Mountains: Profession, Vocation, Fate. Rotten Verlag, Visp, 2013, p. 96.
  8. Christian Imboden: Mountains: Profession, Vocation, Fate. Rotten Verlag, Visp, 2013, p. 23
  9. Poscht us Zaniglas. St. Niklaus parish, 1981/1982, p. 18.
  10. Christian Imboden: Mountains: Profession, Vocation, Fate. Rotten Verlag, Visp, 2013, p. 23 f.
  11. ^ Yearbook of the Swiss Alpine Club. 1922, p. 247
  12. Walther Staub: About the spread of "heathen graves" at the exit of the Vispertal and the Turtmann valley in Valais. in the annual report of the Swiss Society for Prehistory (Société suisse de préhistoire) . Volume 18, 1926, p. 150 f.
  13. Christian Imboden: Mountains: Profession, Vocation, Fate. Rotten Verlag, Visp, 2013, p. 25
  14. ^ Josef Summermatter, Michael Imboden: Zaniglaser Chroniksplitter. 1980, p. 20.
  15. ^ Amei Lang: University research on prehistoric archeology. Volume 172, University of Leipzig, 2009, p. 713 ff.
  16. Christian Imboden: Mountains: Profession, Vocation, Fate. Rotten Verlag, Visp 2013, p. 32
  17. ^ J. Ruppen and V. Summermatter: St. Niklaus. 1975, p. 511
  18. ^ A b Josef Summermatter, Michael Imboden: Zaniglaser Chroniksplitter. 1980, p. 21.
  19. a b Josef Summermatter, Michael Imboden. Zaniglaser chronicle splinters. 1980, p. 22.
  20. ^ J. Ruppen and V. Summermatter: Family statistics . 1975, p. 474
  21. ^ J. Ruppen and V. Summermatter: Family statistics . P. 241
  22. ^ J. Ruppen and V. Summermatter: Family statistics . P. 296
  23. ^ Adrian Imboden: Agriculture and alpine farming in the Valais. 1972, p. 54
  24. ^ Walliser Wappenbuch. 1914, p. 230.
  25. ^ P. Henry de Riedmatten: A St. Niklaus family: the Riedmatten. BWG Volume XIII, pages 531-561.
  26. Bernard Truffer: Riedmatten, from (de). In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  27. Christian Imboden: Mountains: Profession, Vocation, Fate. Rotten Verlag, Visp, 2013, p. 196
  28. Christian Imboden: Mountains: Profession, Vocation, Fate. Rotten Verlag, Visp, 2013, p. 197
  29. List of motorways, motorways, main roads and European roads in Switzerland, Through Road Ordinance 741.272 of December 18, 1991 (as of January 1, 2016)
  30. St. Niklaus terminus Terminus in 1961
  31. Christian Imboden: Mountains: Profession, Vocation, Fate. The St. Niklaus mountain guides as pioneers of international alpinism. Rotten Verlag, Visp, 2013, ISBN 3-907624-48-3 , pp. 68-69
  32. Website of the municipality of St. Niklaus VS, accessed on January 13, 2017
  33. Operations Manager Marzell Chanton, Interview: Scintilla AG St. Niklaus VS, August 12, 2013
  34. Scintilla AG St. Niklaus VS, accessed on August 20, 2017
  35. ^ Website EVN Energieversorgung Nikolai AG, accessed on September 27, 2016
  36. Kraftwerk Jungbach AG, accessed on September 27, 2016
  37. Obudir 2013 (YouTube video clip), accessed on February 11, 2016: Alp boys in words and pictures
  38. ↑ Local recreation center
  39. Bordierweg: Gasenried hiking trail to the Bordierhütte, July 21 and 22, 2015 (YouTube video clip)
  40. Zermatt Marathon Organization website, accessed on November 18, 2015
  41. Mountain bike tours in St. Niklaus VS, accessed on August 21, 2017
  42. Biken Biffig, accessed on February 10, 2016
  43. Biking in Upper Valais, accessed on February 10, 2016
  44. Biken Mattertal (PDF), accessed on February 10, 2016
  45. Biking in Upper Valais, accessed on February 11, 2016
  46. Mountain bike boys-St. Niklaus Dorf (YouTube video clip), accessed on February 11, 2016
  47. Mountain bike Moosalp-Jungs-St. Niklaus Dorf-Visp (YouTube video clip), accessed on August 21, 2017
  48. Paragliding from boys to St. Niklaus Dorf (YouTube video clip), accessed on August 21, 2017
  49. Guinness Book of Records. Millennium Edition, 2000, p. 232
  50. Christian Imboden: Mountains: Profession, Vocation, Fate. Rotten Verlag, Visp, 2013, pages 36 f. and 191
  51. ^ Karl Burgener: Parish and Church of St. Niklaus. Self-published, St. Niklaus 1976, p. 61 f.
  52. Dr. Albert Carlen: Theater history of the German Wallis. Rotten Verlag, Visp 1982, pp. 45, 68 and 70.
  53. Erwin Lochmatter in the Switzerland Wiki, viewed on October 21, 2016.
  54. Christian Imboden: Mountains: Profession, Vocation, Fate. Rotten Verlag, Visp, 2013, p. 46 and FO Wolf: Die Vispertäler. 1896, p. 159
  55. Associations St. Niklaus VS, accessed on September 23, 2015 . The Nikolaital Mountain Guide Association merged with the Zermatt Mountain Guide Association in 2013. The Zaniglaser Mountain Guide Association is missing from the current list of associations .
  56. ^ Film "Zaniglas over the year", accessed on January 20, 2016
  57. ^ Song "Mein Dorf St. Niklaus" by Karl Burgener, accessed on March 7, 2016
  58. Song "Hiä im liäbu Zaniglas" ("Here in the love of St. Niklaus") by Karl Burgener, accessed on August 21, 2017