Wohnhaus, 18 Jhr. Foto: Wikipedia.

The village of Bönigen

The village of Bönigen (canton Bern) is unique for its decorated wooden homes and (store) houses. The village has never suffered destruction of fire and devastating (civil) wars and many buildings date from the sixteenth century onwards.

The buildings are tightly packed together along narrow streets and no generation laid hands on these old dwellings out of modernisation or other (financial) motives.

It also indicates a lack of money, prosperity and an extravagant class of wealthy burghers (nobility has been absent anyway). The meadows, fields, pastures, forests and fisheries provided the people with their livelihood, not trading or production of precious materials or goods.

Up to the eighteenth century, the village was often threatened by flooding from the river Lütschine and this was a natural cause for the restrained building activities.

It was only when this flooding was finally controlled, that the inhabitants constructed more frivolous buildings and homes of carved and frescoed houses.

The village is a showpiece of almost five centuries of architecture in Berner Oberland. (Source: