Elgg and the United Dutch Provinces
14 June 2023
Elgg (Canton of Zurich) is a town with and rich history on the upper reaches of the river Eulach. The first written mention dates back to 760 under the name Ailaghoga. St Gallen Abbey, founded only in 719, acquired the town and the surrounding region in 760.
The Lords of Elgg then served the abbey for centuries. 1289, the abbot of St Gallen gave the place in fief to Habsburg. 1371 Elgg obtained city rights and its jurisdiction. Since 1452, the town lies in the canton of Zurich. The town retained its jurisdiction and political autonomy with a Grosse and Kleine Rat until 1798.
The Juliusbanner of the canton of Zug, 1521. Collection: British Museum Inv. No. 1912,0709.1
The town was also the proud holder of the Julius banner. This banner consists of two cloths with text and a sword and hat, both blessed by the Pope.
The warlike Pope Julius II (1443-1513) donated this banner in 1512 to 42 Swiss cantons (Zugewandte Orte/Allies) and local rulers as thanks for their military support in the war against France in northern Italy in 1508-1510. Elgg had also fought with soldiers/mercenaries for the Pope. Twenty years later, the town adopted the Protestant faith.
Swiss mercenaries in the Dutch Republic. Collection: Landesmuseum Zürich
There is also a Dutch history in Elgg, as in many places in Switzerland. Hans Felix Werdmüller (1658-1725) acquired the castle in 1712. This citizen of Zurich was not just anyone but a Major General in the service of the Republic of the Seven United Provinces and a member of the Grand Council (Grosse Rat) of Zurich. After his death, he stipulated that Elgg Castle would always remain in his family, which is still the case today.
The reformed church of Elgg
The French invasion in 1798 marked the end of Elgg’s independent jurisdiction. The town was the district capital in the Helvetic Republic (1798-1803) and an independent municipality of the district (Bezirk) of Winterthur in the new Confederation (1803-1813).
The multi-faceted industrial, commercial and service industry is also reflected in the factory buildings, merchant houses, taverns and listed buildings. Watch, shoe, steel, metal, stone, glass and textile industries, inns for travellers and transhipment sites for goods and other services passed by in the past centuries.
The connection to the railway network (1855) and the canalisation of the river Eulach (1914) created new opportunities after losing other industries.
However, the landscape in this border region with Canton Thurgau is unchangingly beautiful and fascinating.
(Source and further information: Gemeinde Elgg)
Das Heimatmuseum (Village Museum)
The nearby village of Aadorp
And the village Weiach (canton of Zurich)
The church (1706)
Altes Gemeindehaus (Town hall)