Walser Maria Chapel Burgspitz, Ried-Brig. Foto/Photo: Wikipedia.

The Walser

Immigrants from Upper-Valais (German-speaking Wallis) crossed the mountain passes to settle in the neighbouring mountain valleys in the second half of the twelfth century. This migration peaked in the thirteenth century and ended in the middle of the fourteenth century.

They are called “Walser” nowadays, although they did not call themselves that way then. Some groups settled in Italian valleys and founded Boso-Gurin, the only German-speaking community in the Italian-speaking canton Ticino; others moved to Savoy (eastern France). Two settlements are stilled called Les Allamends.

Up north, they reached the Bernese Oberland, the Lauterbrunnen valley, Brienz Rothorn, and the region west of Thun.

However, the most significant expansion was east: over the Oberalppass, into Grisons, Vorarlberg, Tyrol (Austria) and Triesenberg (Liechtenstein).

Two museums commemorate this history: the Walser museum in Riezlern (Vorarlberg, Austria) and the Walser Heimat museum in Triesenberg (Liechtenstein).

The International Association of Walser (Internationale Vereinigung für Walsertum) organises research, publications, and events featuring Walser history and culture (www.wir-walser.ch).

(Source and further information: www.walser-alps.eu).