Emmen, Switzerland

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Panorama Emmenbruecke.jpg
Coat of arms of Emmen
Coat of arms
Emmen is located in Switzerland
Coordinates: 47°05′N 8°18′E / 47.083°N 8.300°E / 47.083; 8.300Coordinates: 47°05′N 8°18′E / 47.083°N 8.300°E / 47.083; 8.300
Country Switzerland
Canton Lucerne
District Hochdorf
 • Executive Gemeinderat
with 5 members
 • Mayor Gemeindepräsident
 • Parliament Einwohnerrat
with 40 members
 • Total 20.33 km2 (7.85 sq mi)
Elevation 427 m (1,401 ft)
Population (Dec 2013[2])
 • Total 28,926
 • Density 1,400/km2 (3,700/sq mi)
Postal code 6032
SFOS number 1024
Localities Emmen-Dorf, Emmenbrücke
Surrounded by Buchrain, Ebikon, Eschenbach, Littau , Lucerne , Neuenkirch, Rothenburg
Website www.emmen.ch
Profile (German), SFSO statistics

Emmen is a city in the district of Hochdorf in the canton of Lucerne in Switzerland.


Emmen is first mentioned in 840 as Emau.[3]


Emmen has an area of 20.3 km2 (7.8 sq mi). Of this area, 46.6% is used for agricultural purposes, while 18.2% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 33.3% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (1.9%) is non-productive (rivers, glaciers or mountains).[4] In the 1997 land survey, 18.19% of the total land area was forested. Of the agricultural land, 44.69% is used for farming or pastures, while 1.92% is used for orchards or vine crops. Of the settled areas, 14.55% is covered with buildings, 5.7% is industrial, 1.62% is classed as special developments, 1.97% is parks or greenbelts and 9.49% is transportation infrastructure. Of the unproductive areas, 0.25% is unproductive standing water (ponds or lakes), and the other 1.62% is unproductive flowing water (rivers).[5]

The municipality is part of the metropolitan area of Lucerne. It is located at the confluence of the Kleine Emme into the Reuss River. It consists of the sections of Emmen, Rottertswil, Gerliswil, Emmenweid and Emmenbaum which together make up the region of Emmenbrücke.

The naturalization law[edit]

The city of Emmen hit international headlines in 2001 when it announced new naturalization law. While there are some fixed requirements for obtaining Swiss citizenship by naturalization set at the federal level, such as the requirement to live and work for 12 years and speak the local language, Swiss cantons and communities are free to introduce more stringent requirements. Until 2001, naturalization was run by a popularly elected committee. But Emmen decided to have the citizens themselves run the nationalization process, requiring that potential citizens pass a series of tests and public interviews and subjecting citizenship applications to the public vote.

This process prevented many Yugoslavs-Swiss people, the largest ethnic group among citizenship candidates (Emmen has one of the largest of ex-Yugoslav community in Switzerland), from getting the citizenship. Human rights campaigners said that the public interviews and voting were degrading. In July 2003, the practice was ruled discriminatory and unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.[6] Emmen has since returned to the previous system of naturalization committees.

Population by nationality[edit]

Emmen has a population (as of 2007) of 27,205, of which 30.7% are foreign nationals. Over the last 10 years the population has grown at a rate of 2.7%. Most of the population (as of 2000) speaks German (81.6%), with Serbo-Croatian being second most common ( 5.0%) and Italian being third ( 3.9%).

Population by nationality (2000 census)
Nationality Residents with dual citizens
Switzerland 18'171 19'456
Serbia-Montenegro 2'332 2'408
Italy 1'299 1'811
Croatia 678 741
Bosnia-Herzegowina 711 727
Spain 500 564
Portugal 449 461
Sri Lanka 286 334
Macedonia 320 326
Germany 212 295
Turkey 152 169
Austria 89 123

People from Emmen[edit]


The main industry is the Steel-Industrie, EMMI (Switzerland's biggest Milk-Corporation) as well as a division of Ruag, the Swiss Armed Forces supplier. There is the so-called ´golden triangle´ of the sewage plant, the air force base and the waste incinerating plant. Because of the Emmen Air Force Base and the Emmen Flab Caserne, most of the inhabitants are directly or indirectly employed by the Air Force.

Emmen has an unemployment rate of 3.62%. As of 2005, there were 257 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 58 businesses involved in this sector. 5260 people are employed in the secondary sector and there are 213 businesses in this sector. 8139 people are employed in the tertiary sector, with 693 businesses in this sector.[4] As of 2000 51.6% of the population of the municipality were employed in some capacity. At the same time, females made up 42.8% of the workforce.[5]


In the 2007 election the most popular party was the SVP which received 33.5% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were the CVP (20.8%), the FDP (20.1%) and the SPS (14.2%).

The age distribution in Emmen is; 5,990 people or 21.7% of the population is 0–19 years old. 7,735 people or 28.1% are 20–39 years old, and 9,489 people or 34.4% are 40–64 years old. The senior population distribution is 3,194 people or 11.6% are 65–79 years old, 1,014 or 3.7% are 80–89 years old and 146 people or 0.5% of the population are 90+ years old.[5]

The entire Swiss population is generally well educated. In Emmen about 61.4% of the population (between age 25-64) have completed either non-mandatory upper secondary education or additional higher education (either university or a Fachhochschule).

As of 2000 there are 11,165 households, of which 3,720 households (or about 33.3%) contain only a single individual. 801 or about 7.2% are large households, with at least five members.[5] As of 2000 there were 2,737 inhabited buildings in the municipality, of which 2,339 were built only as housing, and 398 were mixed use buildings. There were 1,131 single family homes, 217 double family homes, and 991 multi-family homes in the municipality. Most homes were either two (868) or three (791) story structures. There were only 133 single story buildings and 547 four or more story buildings.[5]

In the 2000 census the religious membership of Emmen was; 17,253 (64.2%) were Roman Catholic, and 3,416 (12.7%) were Protestant, with an additional 1,327 (4.94%) that were of some other Christian faith. There are 9 individuals (0.03% of the population) who are Jewish. There are 1,848 individuals (6.87% of the population) who are Muslim. Of the rest; there were 228 (0.85%) individuals who belong to another religion, 1,753 (6.52%) who do not belong to any organized religion, 1,051 (3.91%) who did not answer the question.[5]

The historical population is given in the following table:[3]

year population
1456 c. 150
around 1695 c. 550
1798 1,330
1850 1,764
1900 3,162
1950 11,065
1970 22,040
2000 26,885


The city is served by the Emmen Air Base (IATA: EMLICAO: LSME).


  1. ^ Arealstatistik Standard - Gemeindedaten nach 4 Hauptbereichen
  2. ^ Swiss Federal Statistics Office – STAT-TAB Ständige und Nichtständige Wohnbevölkerung nach Region, Geschlecht, Nationalität und Alter (German) accessed 18 August 2014
  3. ^ a b Emmen in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  4. ^ a b Swiss Federal Statistical Office accessed 18-Aug-2009
  5. ^ a b c d e f LUSTAT Lucerne Cantonal Statistics (German) accessed 12 August 2009
  6. ^ Swissinfo (July 9, 2003). "Naturalisation issue taken out of voters’ hands". Retrieved 18 August 2009. 

External links[edit]