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Brienz -
Country Switzerland Coat of Arms of Brienz
Canton Berne
District Interlaken-Oberhasli
46°45′N 8°2′E / 46.75°N 8.033°E / 46.75; 8.033Coordinates: 46°45′N 8°2′E / 46.75°N 8.033°E / 46.75; 8.033
Population 2,963 (December 2007)
  - Density 62 /km2 (160 /sq mi)
Area 48.0 km2 (18.5 sq mi)
Elevation 566 m (1,857 ft)
Postal code 3855
SFOS number 0573
Surrounded by Brienzwiler, Flühli (LU), Grindelwald, Hofstetten bei Brienz, Iseltwald, Meiringen, Oberried am Brienzersee, Schwanden bei Brienz
Twin towns Brienz/Brinzauls (Switzerland), Tryavna (Bulgaria), Shimada (Japan)
SFSO statistics
Brienz is located in Switzerland

Brienz is a municipality in the Interlaken-Oberhasli administrative district in the canton of Berne in Switzerland.

The village lies on the north bank of Lake Brienz in the Bernese Oberland at the foot of the Brienzer Rothorn mountain.



Evidence has been found for a settlement by the Alamanni in the 7th century. Brienz was first documented in 1146, and in 1528 after an eventful history Brienz became part of the Canton of Berne. Brienz is first mentioned in 1146 as Briens.[1]


A western view of Lake Brienz in the summer, taken from the quay at Brienz
An eastern view of Lake Brienz

Brienz has an area of 48 square kilometers (18.5 sq mi). Of this area, 38.7% is used for agricultural purposes, while 33.3% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 4.2% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (23.8%) is non-productive (rivers, glaciers or mountains).[2]

The municipality of Brienz includes a number of communities along the upper end of Lake Brienz, and stretches into the neighboring mountains. It includes the on the right shore the village of Brienz. To the north it includes the mouth of the Aare River and the village of Kienholz. On the left bank it includes the settlements of Engi and Schwendi. Heading away from the right shore the land rises to the Rotschalp, Planalp and Giebelegg before reaching the Brienzer Rothorn (2,351 m (7,713 ft)). Heading away from the left shore it rises over the Brienzerberg and Giessbach Falls, Tschingelfeld, Hinterburg and Axalp until it reaches the Schwarzhorn (2,928 m (9,606 ft)).

The parish church of Brienz includes Oberried am Brienzersee, Schwanden bei Brienz, Hofstetten bei Brienz and Brienzwiler.


Brienz has a population (as of 31 December 2008) of 2,996.[3] As of 2007, 9.4% of the population was made up of foreign nationals. Over the last 10 years the population has grown at a rate of 0.1%. Most of the population (as of 2000) speaks German (92.9%), with French being second most common ( 1.3%) and Albanian being third ( 1.3%).

In the 2007 election the most popular party was the SVP which received 34% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were the FDP (25.9%), the SPS (15.1%) and the Green Party (9.8%).

The age distribution of the population (as of 2000) is children and teenagers (0–19 years old) make up 25.5% of the population, while adults (20–64 years old) make up 56.6% and seniors (over 64 years old) make up 17.9%. The entire Swiss population is generally well educated. In Brienz about 73.5% of the population (between age 25-64) have completed either non-mandatory upper secondary education or additional higher education (either University or a Fachhochschule).[2]

The historical population is given in the following table:[1]

year population
1764 799
1850 1,789
1880 2,757
1900 2,580
1920 2,474
1950 2,861
1990 2,849
2000 2,956


Tourism and woodcarving are the main activities. The Cantonal Woodcarving School established in 1862 is well-known and respected in the trade.

Brienz has an unemployment rate of 2.43%. As of 2005, there were 149 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 42 businesses involved in this sector. 458 people are employed in the secondary sector and there are 54 businesses in this sector. 877 people are employed in the tertiary sector, with 146 businesses in this sector.[2]

Points of interests

  • In the difficult years of the First World War a lake promenade was built that leads along the village to the lake shore, and is probably something one of the most beautiful things Brienz has to offer. With magnificent flower beds and tree plantings, it offers, unencumbered from traffic, peace and relaxation.
  • Ride the Brienz Rothorn Bahn, a steam train up the Brienzer Rothorn.
  • The Ballenberg open air museum of nearly 100 original century-old buildings from all over Switzerland
  • wood carvings
  • Giessbach waterfall with the Giessbach-Bahn, the oldest Funicular in Europe
A view of Brienz from Lake Brienz

External links



Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Brienz is located in the Bernese Oberland area of Switzerland. It is a small village with approx 3000 inhabitants. Brienz is famous as the Swiss centre for woodcarving.

Get in

Brienz can be reached by a 30 minute rail journey from Interlaken Ost- all the Luzern trains stop at Brienz. Or you can take a 1.5 hour boat journey from Interlaken- the boat leaves frequently behind Interlaken Ost railway station. All kind of rentals availble at Funrental Interlaken. Scooter bike gokart funcar atv motorcycle etc.

Get around

Brienz has one main street Hauptestrasse, so getting around on foot is fine. To walk the full length of the street will take approx 15 minutes.


There is beautiful Swiss scenery to see- the lake is a beautiful blue colour and the surrounding mountains spectacular.


Walking, sightseeing and looking in the Woodcarving Shops.

On a clear day in season take the (last remaining in Switzerland) steam rack railway to the Rothorn - trains depart from the station across the road from the Zentralbahn station. Hotel at the top, sun terraces, and superb views both South over the Bernese Oberland and North as far as Germany. Can get very busy, so go early if you can.

Nearby is also the Ballenberg [1] "swiss open-air museum", showing traditional swiss living.


There are 3 main Woodcarving Shops- Schild, Jobin, and Huggler.

Schild is near the train station and so is easy to find. It has a large amount of woodcarvings which can be purchased.

Jobin [2] is still the biggest woodcarving shop in Brienz. It has been completely refurbished since the floods in Brienz in 2005. This business has a living museum which you can have a tour of and see the woodcarvers at work. Jobin has a big souvenir shop which sells woodcarvings and typical swiss souvenirs. Jobin is open daily in summer.

Huggler [3] is another woodcarving business. The shop stocks woodcarvings. Like Jobin, Huggler has been in business for over 100 years.

The woodcarvings in Brienz may be collectors items in the future as you will find they are one off pieces of work. They are high quality carvings.


Opposite the woodcarving shop Jobin to the right is a Coffee Shop/Restaurant/Bar.


Please see eat category.


There is a Hotel immediately opposite the train station.

Try the youth hostel for good value, albeit basic, accommodation. Near the lake-side and only ten minutes walk from the railway station and five minutes from the bus stop. Watch the sun set over the lake in the evening!

Get out

In Brienz you can shop in the woodcarving shops or take a walk along the promenade. Its well worth a visit. Its , like Switzerland, a very scenic place.

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