from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Willisau coat of arms
State : SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
Canton : Canton lucerneCanton lucerne Lucerne (LU)
Constituency : Willisau
BFS no. : 1151i1 f3 f4
Postal code : 6126 (Daiwil)
6130 (Willisau)
6132 (Rohrmatt)
Coordinates : 642 072  /  219 019 coordinates: 47 ° 7 '15 "  N , 7 ° 59' 35"  O ; CH1903:  six hundred and forty-two thousand and seventy-two  /  two hundred and nineteen thousand and nineteen
Height : 557  m above sea level M.
Height range : 529-1071 m above sea level M.
Area : 41.17  km²
Residents: 7781 (December 31, 2018)
Population density : 189 inhabitants per km²
Proportion of foreigners :
(residents without
citizenship )
10.0% (December 31, 2,015)
City President : Erna Bieri-Hunkeler ( FDP )
Website: www.willisau.ch
Obertor Willisau

Obertor Willisau

Location of the municipality
Sempachersee Mauensee (Gewässer) Soppensee Tuetesee Kanton Aargau Kanton Bern Kanton Solothurn Wahlkreis Entlebuch Wahlkreis Hochdorf Wahlkreis Luzern-Land Wahlkreis Luzern-Stadt Wahlkreis Sursee Alberswil Altbüron Altishofen Altishofen Dagmersellen Egolzwil Ettiswil Fischbach LU Gettnau Grossdietwil Grossdietwil Grossdietwil Hergiswil bei Willisau Luthern Menznau Nebikon Pfaffnau Reiden Roggliswil Schötz Ufhusen Wauwil Wikon Willisau Zell LUMap of Willisau
About this picture

Willisau (in the regional vernacular Wilisou [ˈʋɪlɪsɔˑʊ] ) is a small town and municipality in the Swiss canton of Lucerne . It is the seat of one of the four Lucerne district courts .

Today's community was created on January 1, 2006 from a merger of the two previous communities of Willisau Stadt and Willisau Land , after their voting residents decided on January 25, 2004 to merge to form the city of Willisau.


The Änziwigger flows through Willisau at the Heiligblut chapel

The city of Willisau is located in the Lucerne hinterland on the edge of the northern foothills of the Napf , at the confluence of the Buch- and Enziwigger rivers . Various new quarters have emerged around the historic old town over the past 40 years.

With its 4,118 hectares and around 7,600 inhabitants, Willisau is the largest municipality in terms of area and population in the Willisau constituency . The municipality is part of the so-called Inner Willisauer Bergland , which is bordered to the north by the Huttwil - Gettnau - Alberswil valley . The community extends for the most part over the northern foothills of the Napf and at the same time meets the opening upper Wiggertal.

The landscape is mainly characterized by the unmistakable special properties of the Napfabdachung, with its harrows and crows, the extensive hills with the steep and gentle slopes, the water-rich, narrower and wider valley floors. The height differences within the community are quite large. The highest point in the community is near the Chaltenegg at 1071  m above sea level. M. , the deepest near the hamlet Wydenmühle at 529  m above sea level. M.

In addition to the historic town and its agglomeration, there are other settlements in the municipality. So the hamlets of Daiwil on the main road Willisau – Menznau, Schülen halfway to Menzberg ( 797  m above sea level ), Rohrmatt, Ostergau and Käppelimatt . There are also countless farms spread across the entire municipality.

The city of Willisau borders on Alberswil , Ettiswil , Gettnau , Grosswangen , Hergiswil bei Willisau , Luthern , Menznau , Ufhusen and Zell .


Population development
year Residents
1850 4,392
1880 4,615
1900 4,131
1950 5'273
1960 5,774
1970 6'170
1980 6'233
1990 6,654
2000 7,097
2004 7,130
2009 7'195
2013 7,580
2016 7,777

The population remained rather small for a long time, despite the medieval town charter. The majority of the population did not live within the city, but outside it. As a result of emigration and rural exodus, the population decreased from 1850 to 1900. It increased noticeably from 1950 to 1970 and similarly from 1980 to 2004. This is mainly due to the brisk construction activity in Willisau itself.


The everyday language is the Swiss German Lucerne German , a high Alemannic dialect.

Religions - denominations

In earlier times the entire population was a member of the Roman Catholic Church. Today (as of 2000) there are 81% Roman Catholic and 8.9% Evangelical Reformed Christians. The Catholics belong to the diocese of Basel under canon law or to the Catholic Church in the Canton of Lucerne under constitutional law , the Reformed to the Evangelical Reformed Church of the Canton of Lucerne .

In addition, there are 2.8% Muslims and 7.3% members of other non-Christian religions or non-denominational people. The Muslims are mostly of Albanian, Kurdish and Turkish origin; the minority of the members of other religions almost exclusively Hindus of Tamil descent from Sri Lanka.

Origin - nationality

At the end of 2014, of the 7,623 inhabitants, 6,866 were Swiss and 757 (= 9.9%) were foreigners. The population consisted of 90.1% Swiss citizens. At the end of 2014, the foreign residents came from Serbia including Kosovo (27.1%), Germany (20.1%), Portugal (9.2%), Italy (5.2%), Turkey (2.4%) and Spain (0.8%). 19.2% came from the rest of Europe and 16.1 % came from outside Europe.


Aerial photo (1949)

Place name

The name probably goes back to an Old High German Willinis ouwa , which means " Au des Willin".

The vernacular has a folk etymological explanation: According to the legend, two brothers built a city, and when it was finished, one asked the other what its name should be, to which he replied : I am glych, wi ds duu witt, want is ou «I don't care how you want it, I want it too».

Event history

For the year 893 an Alemannic court settlement Cozeriswilare (today: Gesserswil) in the Willisauer Bergland is on record. The first mention of Willineshouwo dates back to 1101. In 1302 and 1303 the barons of Hasenburg built a fortified center in place of the previous parish village. In 1330 Willisau was given the right to hold annual and weekly markets . In 1367 the Counts of Aarberg became city ​​lords of Willisau by marriage. In the Gugler War in 1375, Duke Leopold had the still poorly fortified small town burned down. In 1386 Duke Leopold III ordered when he moved out of Willisau, the city was again destroyed (before the battle of Sempach ).

Willisau in the 17th century, copper engraving Merian. On the left edge of the castle hill with the St. Niklaus Chapel, behind the town the still undeveloped corridor of the Geissburg

In 1407, the descendants of the Hasenburger sold the city and county of Willisau to the city of Lucerne . The lucrative bailiwick of Willisau was part of the city-state of Lucerne for four centuries. In 1471 Willisau was destroyed by a city fire.

In 1512 the city received from Pope Julius II a valuable « Juliusbanner » for the services rendered in the "Great Pavier Campaign" in 1508–1510 to expel the French.

In 1704 a large part of the city burned down for the fourth time. In the wake of the upheaval, the townspeople lose their privileges in 1798. The city tax districts and church attendance outside the city became municipalities. In 1803 the mediation government declared the municipalities of the city and the countryside to be independent municipalities.

From 1990 onwards, Willisau-Stadt and Willisau-Land intensified their cooperation and solved more and more tasks together. On January 25, 2004 a vote was taken on the union of the municipalities of Willisau-Stadt and Willisau-Land. With a high turnout (80% Willisau-Stadt, 81% Willisau-Land), the proposal was clearly accepted. On January 1, 2006, the two communities Willisau-Land and Willisau-Stadt merged to form the city of Willisau.

Willisau in the first half of the 20th century


Municipal council

The Willisau City Council consists of five members and is structured as follows:

  • Erna Bieri-Hunkeler ( FDP ): City President
  • Wendelin Hodel ( CVP ): City Mayor / Delegate City Council
  • Sabine Büchli-Rudolf (FDP): City Councilor
  • Pius Oggier (CVP): City Councilor
  • Irma Schwegler-Graber ( SP ): City Councilor
  • Peter Kneubühler: town clerk

Cantonal elections

In the 2019 Cantonal Council elections for the Canton of Lucerne, the share of the vote in Willisau was: CVP 37.2%, FDP 24.7%, SVP 18.0%, SP 11.9%, Greens 8.2%.

National Council elections

In the Swiss parliamentary elections 2019, the share of the vote in Willisau was: CVP 33.8%, SVP 24.8%, FDP 19.6%, SP 9.2%, Greens 7.7%, glp 3.7%.

Schools & sports facilities

There are extensive school and sports facilities on the Schlossfeld above the town. In addition to the elementary school (1st to 9th grade), divided into the Schloss and Schlossfeld school complexes, the cantonal school (grammar school and WMS ) and the vocational and trade school are located on the same area. The sports facility offers five grass pitches, a 400 m circular track, three hard courts, nine gyms, including two triple halls and an indoor swimming pool. There is also the Willisau leisure center with an indoor tennis center and tennis court. This also includes a mini golf course, a fitness center, a squash court, a sauna with steam and whirlpool bath and a restaurant. The two kindergartens are located in the parish home and on Menzbergstrasse. The special education school is currently divided into two parts: The main building in the immediate vicinity of the castle forms the main building, and other rooms are located on Schützenrain.


Willisau is on the Lucerne – Langenthal railway line. BLS AG is responsible for operation . There are also the bus routes Willisau – Ettiswil – Sursee (route 60.063), Willisau – Schötz – Nebikon – Dagmersellen (route 60.271), Willisau – Hergiswil – Hübeli (route 60.272) and from December 15, 2019 the bus route Willisau – Nebikon – Altishofen– Dagmersellen industrial park ("Wiggertal-Express" line 60.277).

Willisau is on the main road Dagmersellen – Wolhusen – Lucerne. The center has been bypassed by through traffic since 1999.

The closest motorway connections are to the east (on the A2 motorway ) Dagmersellen 11 km and Sursee 13 km away. The K10 motorway (towards Lucerne) runs 13 km south of Willisau.


town hall

It was built after the city fire of 1704 as a department store with a Schaal (butcher's), corn and cloth arbor; the Willisau cubit measure (63 cm) is attached at the entrance; the ground floor was used as a slaughterhouse until 1956, today as a civic hall, shortly after 1800 the late baroque school theater from the St. Urban monastery was installed - one of the oldest of its kind in Switzerland; it has a valuable stage curtain; Since 1887 it was owned by the corporation Stadt Willisau (name still questionable) as town hall, in 1989 it was donated to the community of Willisau-Stadt, was completely restored from 1989 to 1991, with the old theater being reinstalled in the floor. From 1991 to 2005, the town hall served the city administration as a parish hall and then the school services. On the floor of the town hall square is a motif of Celtic origin depicting a ritual wheel of fire.

Parish church

Built between 1805 and 1810 on a tufa-lime terrace in front of the castle , the parish church of St. Peter and Paul is the largest in the Lucerne landscape. Architects are the two well-known church builders from Central Switzerland, Josef Purtschert, Pfaffnau and Josef Singer, Lucerne. Archaeological excavations confirm that at least four smaller predecessor churches had stood in the same place. The founding of the first parish church is older than that of the city. The best preserved Romanesque church tower in the canton of Lucerne, also known as the Heidenturm, dates from the 13th century. The monumental, two-storey bell tower by the architect Adolf Gaudy, Rorschach, is considered to be an architectural pioneering achievement in the reinforced concrete sector and, on the occasion of a time-related renovation in 1928/29, replaced a delicate roof turret that had become too small. After extensive restoration from 1991 to 1997, the building now has the original character of a classicist pillar hall church. Impressive altarpieces and ceiling frescos by the Willisau painter Xaver Hecht and the South German masters Josef Anton Mesmer and Johann Georg Vollmar, elegant stucco work by Johann Moosbrugger from Vorarlberg.

Views of the parish church of Willisau

Upper gate

Obertor Willisau with the upper fountain

Also called the "nidre" gate because it is less high than the lower gate; originally it was probably against a gate tower open to the town, which was partially cremated during the third town fire in 1471 and rebuilt around 1550 with the help of the Lucerne authorities; it is characterized by simple windowing with rectangular openings; it also served as a dungeon and can only be accessed via a ladder; above the portal there are two lions with the Lucerne and Willisau coats of arms; Since 1886 it has been owned by the City of Willisau Corporation (name is still in question).

Lower gate

Main alley with lower gate

Formerly also called Zytturm, it was destroyed in the great fire of 1471 and rebuilt in 1543 with the help of the Lucerne Council; in the conflagration of 1704 it was badly damaged in contrast to the Obertor; According to the document found in the tower dome, it was renovated in 1768 and re-covered in 1805, but in 1854 it was demolished because it was dilapidated; In 1980, thanks to a donation from the honorary citizen Eugen Meyer, it was rebuilt according to old templates with an enlarged passage; the tower clock from 1544 and the tower bell from 1706 were reinstalled; today it is acoustically enriched with a versatile glockenspiel.

Old town mill

The foundation comes from z. Partly from the time when the city was founded in 1302/03, the west facade largely from the medieval city wall; In 1585 it was built as a timber extension with a post construction on the city side and a horizontal roof structure, but it already reached the volume of the building today; the Mühlebach, derived from the Wigger, was also used for house fires and street cleaning; 1918–1920 the mill equipment was technically renewed and the facade was created with today's window layout; a mill was operated in the building until 1989, the water wheel with transmission is still there today and can be put into operation; In 1998 the building was bought by the Albert Koechlin Foundation and completely renovated and used as a cultural center from 2002-2015; Since 2016, the privately owned house has been operated as an open house for innovation and culture, with event rooms, seminar rooms, office / coworking space.

House of origin of the Willisauer Ringli

Café Amrein Chocolatier in Willisau

The building consists of two original houses, the left of which was rented by Léon Nordmann for the Manor chain of department stores, but the right of which is the original house of Willisauer Ringli; Heinrich Maurer made these for the first time around 1850; the original recipe had been given to him by his second wife, Martha Peyer, cook at Heidegg Castle; In 1880 the house was leased and later sold to Moritz Amrein-Brügger; In 1924 the two houses were converted into a commercial and residential building, in 1930 a café was added and the “Gebr. Amrein & Co. » renamed; Ringlip production was first continued by Walter Renggli-Amrein, later by Walter Renggli-Schüpbach and today by Michael Renggli-Kurmann.

Müligass 2

This is probably the oldest house in Willisau, based on a tree ring count on beams in the masonry, it was built on the city wall around 1340; after the town fire of 1375 a second building was built with a tower-like masonry installation attached to the town wall, presumably as a fire-proof storage place; the current building was erected as a frame structure with wooden upper floors from 1471 to 1472; the first floor has a late Gothic ceiling; the house survived the fire of 1704 unscathed, in 1991 it was completely restored; In 1994 his facade was created as a synthesis between old and new in its original color.


This was built after the fire of 1704 on the Spittelgass named after him; it served as a care station for the poor, sick and old, as well as an orphanage and hostel for poor people; until 1961 it was used as a retirement home, enlarged in the 19th century by including the house adjoining it to the south; the structure of the three-storey facade is largely original; It was completely restored in 1995/96; Four wooden chambers have been preserved in the attic, including two holding cells.


Upper well

The main street is divided by three fountains that were built around 1600; earlier they were also called front fountains; their sources were within the ring walls on the Schlossberg; they have the very rare shape of a heptagon; Well columns with statues already existed in the 18th century; Between 1951 and 1956, they were now dilapidated and rebuilt by the local stonemason Gottlieb Kreiliger according to the old crack and measure; they have been decorated with bronze figures since the 1960s.

Lower well

Church patron Paulus, by the Lucerne sculptor Rolf Brem.

Middle fountain

Madonna and Child, by the Lucerne sculptor Franco Annoni; before 1950 this fountain was octagonal.

Upper well

Church patron Peter; by the Zurich sculptor Eugen Häfelfinger.

Holy Blood Chapel

Holy Blood Chapel with Upper Gate

Originally a wooden chapel, it was converted into an east-facing Gothic stone building in 1497; In 1674 it was converted into a Renaissance building with an open Tuscan porch; it has three wooden early baroque altars rich in figures and eight oil paintings from 1684 with the founding legend; In 1854 a decorative wooden ceiling with scenes from the New Testament, apostles and the chapel's side patrons was installed.

The legend of the Holy Blood is as follows: There were three players, the first of whom, after losing all his money, thrust his sword into the air with a curse to pierce the body of Christ, whereupon five drops of blood fell on the table, but the blasphemer dated Devil was brought; the other two suffered a terrible death.

It used to be a heavily visited place of pilgrimage with a regional to slightly supra-regional charisma; a festival of indulgence with atonement procession takes place on the second Sunday after Pentecost and commemorates an outrage of July 7, 1392.

Former Willisau-Land schoolhouse

This is a functional building in Art Nouveau designed for representation; it was built in 1907 on the territory of the city of Willisau through the exchange of land; the previous building was a striking tithe barn, also known as the Schütte; until 1965 it was used as a school building; in the 1970s, a comprehensive, contemporary interior work was carried out for conversion as an administration building; In the stairwell you will find interesting reverse glass paintings by the painter Josef Schwegler (1906–1987), who came from a Hergiswil family. Today the building is used by the city administration as a parish hall.

Governor's Palace

Governor's Palace

Originally it was just an open tower, called the Chutzenturm; it had been built into the city wall for defense; 1690–1695 a castle was added for the respective governor of Willisau; the architect is unknown; the outer walls have sgraffito decorations, the interiors rich stucco work by Giacomo Neuroni from Riva San Vitale , grisaille paintings, carvings, paneling, ornate wall and ceiling paintings from the Baroque by the painter Francesco Antonio Giorgioli from Meride ; on the first floor there is a cycle of pictures of the legend of the Holy Blood from 1638; From 1833 to 1836 it was the location of a secondary school under the German pedagogue Friedrich Froebel, the founder of the kindergartens; later it was used as a normal schoolhouse; After the renovation from 1979–1982, the Hans-Roelli-Stube was built in, reminiscent of the Willisau-born songwriter, singer and poet. Later it served the city administration as a community center. Weddings have been taking place in the castle since 2004 . In 2013, the child and adult protection authority moved into the castle and replaced the district court.

Castle hill with St. Niklaus chapel

The complex with the Habsburg castle "Alt Willisau" and a chapel dates from the end of the 12th century, was pledged to the Hasenburgers in 1321 and destroyed in the Sempach War in 1386, whereby the castle chapel was spared from destruction. This was originally a smaller and lower chapel with Romanesque arched windows; the oldest bell in the canton of Lucerne with a Hebrew inscription is the oldest in the canton of Lucerne, it was made around 1200; it was rebuilt in the 14th century, enlarged at the end of the 15th century, with the oldest painting being above the choir arch; the tendril painting in the choir and the large mural depicting the martyrdom of the ten thousand knights on the left are from the 16th century; In 1655 a new baroque building was built with today's window openings, decorative vine tendrils in the window reveals and the portal with a protective sign and gallery.

Culture and customs

When the city was founded in 1303, Willisau also received market rights. Even today there is a market in the town every last Thursday of the month. The farmers' market takes place on the town hall square on Saturdays.

Willisau is a carnival stronghold. Every year on the Friday after Epiphany , Carnival opens and the guild master moves into town with the Guggenmusigen . The city ​​life night takes place on the Sunday before the dirty Thursday . Every few years the carnival guild holds an international meeting of fools. The traditional Sprüchli evening is always on the program on Güdismontag .

Willisau is traditionally Catholic. In May / June on Corpus Christi and on the following Sunday at the Willisau Holy Blood Festival, large processions take place through the town and the surrounding areas. Also there are the Herrgottsgrenadiers and the Corporis Christi Brotherhood with the gunners who fire gunshots on the Schlossfeld. This announces the execution of the processions and the liturgical highlights.

Since the 1970s, the international jazz festival Willisau has been held in Willisau at the end of August / beginning of September .

Every third weekend in October (Saturday to Monday) the big Willisauer Kilbi ( parish fair ) takes place in the town and on Zehntenplatz .

A Christmas fair has been held in the town since 1996 at the beginning of December .



Web links

Commons : Willisau  - 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. admin.ch . Federal Statistical Office (FSO), August 31, 2019, accessed on December 22, 2019 .
  2. Permanent resident population by nationality category, gender and municipality ( memento from January 1, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (permanent resident population)
  3. ^ Linguistic Atlas of German-speaking Switzerland , Volume V 1a; see also ortsnames.ch, input Willisau .
  4. Balance of the permanent resident population according to demographic components, institutional structure, nationality and gender (Federal Statistical Office, STAT-TAB)
  5. ^ Community profile Willisau ( Memento from May 8, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 102 kB)
  6. Lexicon of Swiss municipality names . Edited by the Center de Dialectologie of the University of Neuchâtel under the direction of Andres Kristol. Frauenfeld / Lausanne 2005, p. 970.
  7. Josef Zihlmann : name landscape in the headwaters of the Wigger. The court and field names of the communities Willisau-Stadt, Willisau-Land and Hergiswil. Comenius, Hitzkirch 1984, p. 420.
  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. ^ City of Willisau: Politics - City Council. In: City of Willisau. City of Willisau, January 1, 2018, accessed on January 1, 2018 .
  10. LUSTAT Statistics Lucerne. Retrieved August 1, 2020 .
  11. ^ Federal Statistical Office : NR - Results parties (municipalities) (INT1). In: Federal Elections 2019 | opendata.swiss. August 8, 2019, accessed August 1, 2020 .
  12. http://www.kath-kirche-willisau.ch/unsere-kirchen.html
  13. ^ Website of the Willisau city mill. Retrieved July 1, 2019 .
  14. Ursula Stevens: Giacomo Neuroni. In: tessinerkuenstler-ineuropa.ch. 2016, accessed July 29, 2017 .