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Toggenburg with Nesslau, Wattwil in the background
Toggenburg near Starkenbach
Eastern end of Toggenburg before the slope into the Rhine Valley

The Toggenburg [ ˈtɔkənˌbʊrɡ ] is a valley on the upper reaches of the Thur River and an electoral district in the canton of St. Gallen in Switzerland . The name Toggenburg is derived from the Toggenburg noble family , whose name in turn goes back to the Alt-Toggenburg Castle .

Originally, the Toggenburg consisted of the long period of the Abbey of St. Gall managed county Toggenburg . Until 2002, this area formed the districts of Obertoggenburg , Neutoggenburg , Alttoggenburg and Untertoggenburg in the canton of St. Gallen . Today, Toggenburg is mostly understood to mean the somewhat smaller area of the Toggenburg constituency .


The Toggenburg is essentially formed by two valleys, the Thur Valley and the Neck Valley, named after the Thur and Necker rivers . The highest mountain is the 2502 meter high Säntis in the Alpstein massif. The characteristic landmark of Toggenburg is the Churfirsten mountain range . Both mountains are part of the Appenzell Alps . The Churfirsten (2306  m above sea level ) form the southernmost border of the Toggenburg, they drop towards the south almost perpendicular to the Walensee (419 m above sea level). In the Wildenmannlisloch on the eastern flank of the Selun, one of the Churfirsten, prehistoric finds were made. The western border of (Lower) Toggenburg runs over the Toggenburger Nagelfluh chain , from the Tweralpspitz to the Hörnli .

Today, Toggenburg borders in the north on the Thurgau community of Rickenbach and on Jonschwil in the constituency of Wil . Originally the Thur in the north between Schwarzenbach and Uzwil formed the border to the Fürstenland with the city of Wil . To the west, the region borders on the Hinterthurgau , the Zürcher Oberland and the Linth area , to the south on the Walensee region , to the east on the Werdenberg region in the Rhine Valley and to the northeast on the cantons of Appenzell Ausserrhoden and Appenzell Innerrhoden .

Various passes lead from Toggenburg to the neighboring regions. From Wattwil to Uznach in Linthgebiet leading Rickenpass . The Wildhauspass leads from Obertoggenburg into the Rhine Valley. The Appenzellerland can be reached from Nesslau via the Schwägalp Pass to Urnäsch . The pass road leads into the Zurich Oberland over the Hulftegg between Mosnang and Fischenthal .

When Gräppelensee is the coldest place of Eastern Switzerland . The record is -38.2 degrees.


Structure of the Toggenburg in:
  • red: lower Toggenburg
  • yellow: Neckertal
  • green: middle Toggenburg
  • orange: upper Toggenburg


The younger coat of arms of the Counts of Toggenburg and until 1798 the coat of arms of the County of Toggenburg

The Toggenburg got its name from the noble family " Toggenburg ", which ruled most of today's Toggenburg in the Middle Ages. In addition, the monasteries of St. Gallen and St. Johann in the Thur Valley and the Lords of Sax were the most important landowners. One of the most important people in the history of Toggenburg was Count Friedrich VII. In addition to the County of Toggenburg, which roughly encompassed the landscape that is now known as Toggenburg, he owned extensive possessions in the Linth region, the Rhine Valley and Prättigau. Since he was the last of his line, after his death in 1436 there was a long conflict between the city of Zurich and the countries of Glarus and Schwyz , the Old Zurich War .

Because of the uncertain situation after the death of the last count, the Toggenburg peasants met in 1436 to form the first rural community and entered into land rights with the federal cantons of Glarus and Schwyz. When the ancestral estates of the Toggenburg family, and thus also the Toggenburg, went to the Lords of Raron , they had to confirm land rights for the Toggenburg. From 1439/40 the Toggenburger farmer had the privilege of settling down in every church in the valley without being restricted by local citizenship rights. In 1468 Petermann von Raron sold Toggenburg for 14,500 guilders to the prince abbey of St. Gallen. For the first time, all rights and goods in Toggenburg came under one rule. The prince abbot of St. Gallen now ruled the county as monarch and was represented by a governor in Lichtensteig . Nevertheless, the country of Toggenburg remained allied with Glarus and Schwyz and took part in the Burgundian War , the Swabian War and the conquest of the Duchy of Milan .

The county of Toggenburg as part of the Prince Abbey of St. Gallen on a map from the 18th century
The historical parts of the canton of St. Gallen. The county of Toggenburg is pink

Under Abbot rule, the County of Toggenburg was divided into two offices, the upper and the lower office.

In 1512 the reign of Pope Julius II received a valuable « Julius banner » for the services rendered in the «Great Pavierzug» in 1508–1510 to expel the French. When the prince abbots of St. Gallen tried to centralize rulership in their country and to standardize the jurisdictions, the first conflicts arose with the subjects in Toggenburg. These intensified after 1523 because a large part of the Toggenburg population converted to the Reformation . In 1530 the Toggenburg declared themselves independent, but had to return under the rule of the abbey in the Toggenburg Peace of 1538. After all, the abbot had to tolerate the reformed faith in Toggenburg under pressure from the federal umbrella locations of Zurich, Glarus, Schwyz and Lucerne. This made the Toggenburg one of the few regions in the Old Confederation in which both denominations were permitted side by side. To this day, the churches of the two denominations in most of the communities in Toggenburg bear witness to this state of affairs. In the course of the Counter Reformation, the abbots of St. Gallen had a new Catholic church built wherever possible next to the reformed, older church. Religious disputes have shaped the Toggenburg up to the present day.

The constituencies of the canton of St. Gallen

The relationship between the Toggenburgs and the abbey remained tense. It led to a renewed declaration of independence in 1707 when the abbey wanted to build a new road over the Ricken. The Toggenburgers suspected that the abbot was trying to secure military aid from the Catholic Central Switzerland. The whole Swiss Confederation was plunged into the Toggenburg War (also known as the "Second Villmerger" or "Twelve War") because of the conflict between the abbot and Toggenburg . After the victory of the Reformed towns, Toggenburg had to recognize the sovereignty of the abbot again in the Baden Treaty of 1718, but was given greater autonomy, so that one can speak of a constitutional monarchy of the abbot in Toggenburg. The district administrator was the organ of self-administration.

After the French Revolution, riots broke out again in Toggenburg. On January 1, 1798, the last bailiff, Karl von Müller-Friedberg, released the Toggenburg into independence on his own initiative, thus finally ending the rule of the prince-abbey of St. Gallen. The independence only lasted for a short time, because the Helvetic Constitution divided Toggenburg into two parts against his will. In the Helvetic Republic, the Untertoggenburg to Wattwil belonged to the canton of Säntis , the Obertoggenburg to the canton of Linth . In 1803 both parts came to the canton of St. Gallen .

In the canton of St. Gallen, the old Toggenburg was first divided into the two districts of Unter- and Obertoggenburg, and after 1831 into the districts of Ober- , Neu- , Alt- and Untertoggenburg . From 1907 to 1914 the course of the Thur was corrected in Wattwil. In 1926, nine people were killed in the railway accident in the Rickentunnel . In 1947 the village of Stein fell victim to a village fire . In 2003 the four Toggenburg districts were again combined to form the Toggenburg constituency, with parts of the Untertoggenburg district falling under the Wil constituency.


Historic aerial photo of Heberlein AG in Wattwil by Walter Mittelholzer , between 1918 and 1937

Already in the 18th century, the Toggenburg was the influence of the textile trade city of St. Gallen from the early industrialization captured. Numerous publishers had textiles and embroidery made at home on the farms. The modern textile industry emerged in the 19th century. Thanks to the existing hydropower, various textile companies were established in almost all the villages between Wil and Nesslau. The largest company was Heberlein & Co., founded in Wattwil in 1835 (later Gurit-Herberlein AG and, after the split-up Gurit Holding AG and COLTENE Holding AG ), which also produced a local machine industry and was known worldwide for the synthetic fiber Helanca . The industry also ensured the construction of a railway line between Wil and Nesslau and between St. Gallen, Wattwil and through the Rickentunnel to Rapperswil. The textile crisis after the outbreak of the First World War ended the economic heyday of Toggenburg. The sports equipment manufacturer Alder + Eisenhut , based in Ebnat-Kappel, enjoys an international reputation .

Since the 1990s, the Toggenburg has been gripped by a strong de-industrialization, through which the last textile companies disappeared. The tourism industry that emerged in the 1960s was only able to offer limited replacement.

In the lower Toggenburg is mainly due to the food industry, z. B. the Micarna in Bazenheid, of importance. The Kägi fret in Lichtensteig, the Morga in Ebnat-Kappel and the numerous cheese factories throughout the valley are also active in the production of food. The Neckertal and Obertoggenburg are more shaped by agriculture, local industry and commerce, and tourism. In the 19th century the textile industry, especially in the Wattwil area, was the main branch of the economy. After various textile crises in the whole of Eastern Switzerland, it no longer plays such a central role.

Regional train Wattwil – Wil on the Gonzenbach bridge near Lütisburg.

In Obertoggenburg, especially in Wildhaus, summer and winter tourism began to develop at the beginning of the 20th century, which began in the 1930s BC. a. experienced an upswing with the construction of mountain railways ( Iltiosbahn , Säntisbahn , "Funi" in Wildhaus and others) and still plays a central role in Obertoggenburg's economy today (→  Toggenburg ski area ).


Public transport

The Wil-Wattwil-Nesslau-Neu St. Johann railway runs through the Thur Valley and a post bus route from Nesslau in the direction of Wildhaus to Buchs SG . The Voralpen-Express of the Südostbahn runs from St. Gallen via Herisau – Wattwil to Rapperswil - Lucerne , which is much faster between St. Gallen and Wattwil than private transport. Other post bus routes lead from Nesslau via Schwägalp to Urnäsch and through the Neckertal to Herisau . WilMobil connects Gähwil and Kirchberg with Wil, Schneider Busbetriebe drives from Wattwil over the Rickenpass and the bus company Lichtensteig – Wattwil – Ebnat-Kappel (BLWE) operates the local bus in central Toggenburg. Numerous mountain railways are of particular tourist importance, for example from Wildhaus to Gamsalp , Unterwasser – Iltios – Chäserrugg , Alt St. Johann – Alp Sellamatt and Schwägalp – Säntis .

Private transport

Hauptstrasse 16 near Stein SG heading south. In the background the Churfirsten .

The main road 16 is the main transport axis and leads from Wil by the Thurtal to Wattwil and about 1090  m above sea level, M. high Wildhauser pass into the Rhine down to Gams and book . There are by- pass roads in Bazenheid , Lichtensteig and Ebnat-Kappel . They relieve the main road that leads through these places. In Bütschwil is the ring road under construction in Wattwil projected the southern section. From 2022, all town centers between Wil and Nesslau will be bypassed. The bypasses in Toggenburg are two-lane motorways with top speeds between 60 and 100 km / h. In some places, the rural road is used between the bypasses.

The main road 8 leads from Herisau into the Neckertal , then over the Wasserfluh (843 m above sea level) to Lichtensteig , there together with the main road 16 to Wattwil and then over the 805 meter high Rickenpass to Rapperswil . With the opening of the Wil – St. Gallen has reduced the importance of Hauptstrasse 8 as a direct connection to the canton capital. The northern section of the Wattwil bypass relieves the village of traffic over the Rickenpass.


The Toggenburger Tagblatt, a regional edition of the St. Galler Tagblatt, appears six times a week in Wattwil . The Werdenberger & Obertoggenburger also reports from Obertoggenburg .


The municipalities of the Toggenburg constituency in 2017
The district division of the canton of St. Gallen until 2002

→ see also section politics in the article Wahlkreis Toggenburg

Politically, since the constitutional revision of the canton of St. Gallen on January 1, 2003, Toggenburg has formed the constituency of Toggenburg with a good 45,000 inhabitants. In 2017, it includes the political communities

These communities are united in the regional planning organization "" , which replaced the Toggenburg regional planning group on January 1, 2007.

Historically, the communities Degersheim , Flawil , Jonschwil , Oberuzwil and Uzwil also belong to the Toggenburg. You are part of the constituency of Wil . Between 1831 and 2002, Toggenburg was divided into four districts (from south to north, with the former municipalities):

  • Obertoggenburg ; Municipalities of Alt St. Johann, Ebnat-Kappel, Nesslau, Krummenau, Stein SG, Wildhaus
  • Neutoggenburg : municipalities of Brunnadern, Hemberg, Krinau, Lichtensteig, Oberhelfenschwil, St. Peterzell, Wattwil
  • Alttoggenburg : municipalities of Bütschwil, Kirchberg, Lütisburg, Mosnang
  • Untertoggenburg : Municipalities of Degersheim, Flawil, Ganterschwil, Jonschwil, Mogelsberg, Oberuzwil, Uzwil


Toggenburg house in the hamlet of Furt, Neckertal municipality
Toggenburg farmers in traditional costumes at a cattle show
Rural life, depicted by the Toggenburg peasant painter Babeli Giezendanner .

The Toggenburg is culturally strongly influenced by its rural customs. Traditional alpine tours, cattle shows and the wearing of local costumes are still part of life in the valley today . So-called peasant painting is part of this rural culture and shows v. a. rural life. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Toggenburg house organs and Toggenburg furniture painting were widespread.

As in neighboring Appenzellerland , the original string music, consisting of a dulcimer , two violins , cello and bass violin, is widespread in Toggenburg . The yodelling tradition (natural yodel) is still lived today in the valley and on the Alps; Similar styles can also be found here throughout the Alpstein region . To preserve this culture, the Toggenburg Sound World Foundation was established in 2009 . The implementation of their Toggenburger Klanghaus project turned out to be difficult and only became possible after a cantonal referendum.

The Toggenburg produced well-known country bands and musicians. Among them are the country band «Toggenburger Buebe» and the accordionist and music teacher Willi Valotti from Nesslau.

The diary entries The Poor Man in Tockenburg by Wattwil's farmer's son Ulrich Bräker are considered the most important autobiographical work of the 18th century from the lower social class. In the ballad Ritter Toggenburg , the poet Friedrich Schiller created a literary monument to those of Toggenburg.

The eastern Swiss dialect of Toggenburg was documented linguistically by Wilhelm Wiget in the early 20th century .

Culinary specialties of the Toggenburg are Schlorzifladen , Bloderkäse , almond fish and industrially produced fret Kaegi , which are marketed internationally.

→ See also: Toggenburg Museum and Ackerhus Museum


Zwingli's birthplace in Wildhaus dates back to the 15th century and is the oldest farmhouse in Toggenburg.

The reformer Huldrych Zwingli comes from Wildhaus, but worked mainly in Zurich. Until the canton of St. Gallen was founded in 1803, the area belonged to the prince abbey of St. Gallen . There were monasteries in Alt St. Johann , New St. Johann and Wattwil , and a provost in St. Peterzell . In 1781 the Libingen monastery was relocated to Glattburg . There is a pilgrimage chapel on St. Iddaburg .

Conflicts between the reformed Toggenburg and the prince abbey of St. Gallen led to the Toggenburg Wars . Today Toggenburg is denominationally shaped in roughly equal parts Protestant and Catholic. The church in Oberhelfenschwil is still used equally by Reformed and Catholics.


Athletes such as Karl Alpiger , Simon Ammann , Willy Forrer, Maria Walliser , Walter Steiner , the athlete Selina Büchel and the wrestlers Jörg Abderhalden and Arnold Forrer come from Toggenburg .


Web links

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

Notes and individual references

  1. The following organizations and companies define Toggenburg as an area of the Toggenburg constituency:
      Toggenburg Region Employers' Association (ART)
      Toggenburg career and career counseling (but excluding Kirchberg)
      Toggenburg vocational and advanced training center (The Flawil and Uzwil vocational schools belong to the Wil vocational and advanced training center -Uzwil.)
      Energietal Toggenburg , an association to promote the efficient use of energy
      Child and Adult Protection Authority (KESB) Toggenburg
      Toggenburg District Court
      Toggenburg Culture
      Toggenburg Music School
      Toggenburg Officers Association
      ProToggenburg Association of Second
    Home Owners for Toggenburg
      Spitalregion Fürstenland Toggenburg (Das Spital Flawil is part of the St.Gallen Cantonal Hospital.)
      Regional planning organization
      Toggenburger Tagblatt (the former Untertoggenburg district is covered by the Wiler Zeitung )
      Toggenburg intermediary office
    Toggenburg   cantonal forest region
  2. Stephanie Martina: The cold crouches in this depression. In: Toggenburger Tagblatt of August 14, 2019, p. 27.
  3. The terms Upper Toggenburg and Obertoggenburg are used by:
      until 2002 by the Obertoggenburg district
      Upper Toggenburg pastoral care unit with the Roman Catholic parishes Wildhaus, Alt St. Johann, Stein, Neu St. Johann and Ebnat
      Raiffeisenbank Obertoggenburg with offices in Neu St. Johann, Alt St. Johann and Wildhaus
      Spitex Upper Toggenburg in the municipalities of Nesslau and Wildhaus-Alt St. Johann
      Energy city region Obertoggenburg with the municipalities of Wildhaus-Alt St. Johann, Nesslau and Ebnat-Kappel
    • Brokerage   office Upper Toggenburg for the Municipalities of Nesslau and Wildhaus-Alt St. Johann until 2014
    On the homepage of the Toggenburg mother and father counseling service , the Toggenburg municipalities are divided into the regions Neckertal, Lower Toggenburg, Middle Toggenburg and Upper Toggenburg.
  4. In part, the community of Ebnat-Kappel is also assigned to the upper Toggenburg.
  5. The term Mittleres Toggenburg is used by:
      Evangelical-Reformed parish of Mittleres Toggenburg , originated from the parishes Wattwil, Lichtensteig and Krinau
       (Ebnat-Kappel has its own Evangelical-Reformed parish.)
      Raiffeisenbank Mittleres Toggenburg with offices in Ebnat-Kappel and Wattwil
      Spitex Mittleres Toggenburg with the catchment area Wattwil, Lichtensteig, Krinau, Ricken and Ebnat-Kappel
      Mediation office Central Toggenburg for the communities Wattwil, Lichtensteig, Oberhelfenschwil, Hemberg and Neckertal until 2014.
  6. The term Unteres Toggenburg is used by:
      Pastoral care unit Lower Toggenburg with the Roman Catholic parishes of Bütschwil, Ganterschwil, Libingen, Lütisburg, Mosnang and Mühlrüti
       ( pastoral care unit Bazenheid, Gähwil, Kirchberg in the parish of Kirchberg)
      Evangelical-Reformed parish of Lower Toggenburg , includes the political communities of Bütschwil-Ganterschwil, Lütisburg and Mosnang
       (Kirchberg has an independent Protestant parish.)
      Raiffeisenbank Unteres Toggenburg with offices in Bütschwil, Mosnang and Lütisburg
       (there is no Raiffeisen bank branch in the municipality of Kirchberg.)
      Speech therapy service Unteres Toggenburg , includes the municipalities of Bütschwil-Ganterschwil, Jonschwil, Kirchberg, Lütisburg and Mosnang
      Postautobetriebe AG Unteres Toggenburg , an amalgamation of three Postbus owners from Mühlrüti, Jonschwil and Ganterschwil
      Social specialist agency Lower Toggenburg of the municipalities of Bütschwil-Ganterschwil, Kirchberg, Lütisburg d Mosnang
       and the parishes in their catchment area
      Lower Toggenburg civil protection organizations in the communities of Bütschwil-Ganterschwil, Kirchberg, Lütisburg and Mosnang (merged into ZSO Toggenburg in 2018)
      Lower Toggenburg agency for the communities of Bütschwil-Ganterschwil, Kirchberg, Lütisburg and Mosnang until 2014.
  7. Armin Eberle, Meinrad Gschwend, Irene Hochreutener Naef, Robert Kruker: The farmhouses of the canton of St.Gallen . Ed .: Swiss Society for Folklore . tape 35.1 . Basel and Herisau 2018, ISBN 978-3-908122-98-2 , p. 210 .
  8. Winfried Hecht: The Julius banner of the town facing Rottweil. In: Der Geschichtsfreund: Messages from the Central Switzerland Historical Association . 126/7 (1973/4). doi : 10.5169 / seals-118647
  9. Thursanierung Wattwil. Civil engineering office of the canton of St. Gallen, 2016, accessed on April 1, 2017 .
  10. Road construction: The history of the Toggenburg bypasses is long and arduous In: St. Galler Tagblatt of September 2, 2018.
  11. Will Nesslau be bypassed soon? In: St. Galler Tagblatt of September 29, 2018.
  12. Toni Hässig: “” is gaining momentum. In: St. Galler Tagblatt Online. February 8, 2007, archived from the original on April 6, 2017 ; Retrieved April 1, 2017 .
  13. website of the Sound World of Toggenburg

Coordinates: 47 ° 18 '  N , 9 ° 10'  E ; CH1903:  731163  /  239647