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Church in giswil001.jpg
Coat of arms of Giswil
Coat of arms
Giswil is located in Switzerland
Coordinates: 46°50′N 8°11′E / 46.833°N 8.183°E / 46.833; 8.183Coordinates: 46°50′N 8°11′E / 46.833°N 8.183°E / 46.833; 8.183
Country Switzerland
Canton Obwalden
District n.a.
 • Total 85.96 km2 (33.19 sq mi)
Elevation 485 m (1,591 ft)
Population (Dec 2014[2])
 • Total 3,558
 • Density 41/km2 (110/sq mi)
Postal code 6074
SFOS number 1403
Surrounded by Flühli (LU), Hofstetten bei Brienz (BE), Lungern, Sachseln, Sarnen, Schwanden bei Brienz (BE)
SFSO statistics

Giswil is a municipality in the canton of Obwalden in Switzerland.


Giswil is first mentioned in the 11th Century as Kisevilare.[3]


The municipality is located on the southern end of Lake Sarnen. It consists of the village sections of Grossteil, Kleinteil, Rudenz and Diechtersmatt, as well as scattered farm houses and hamlets. To the south-west, the municipality rises up to the summits of the Giswilerstock, Brienzer Rothorn, Arnihaaggen and Höch Gumme. The Glaubenbielen Pass crosses to Sörenberg in the Entlebuch region of the canton of Lucerne.[4]

View of Giswil from neighboring mountains

Giswil has an area, as of 2006, of 85.9 square kilometers (33.2 sq mi). Of this area, 35.9% is used for agricultural purposes, while 53.3% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 2.2% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (8.7%) is non-productive (rivers, glaciers or mountains).[5]


Roman Catholic church of Giswil

Giswil has a population (as of 31 December 2014) of 3,558.[2] As of 2007, 8.9% of the population was made up of foreign nationals.[6] After a period of poverty and emigration in the late 19th century, where the population stagnated at about 1600 persons, the population increased quite continuously in the 20th century. Over the past 40 years the population has increased by 38%, mainly because economic conditions in the region and public transport to Luzern have improved so that the migration balance definitely changed its sense towards immigration. Most of the population (as of 2000) speaks German (95.5%), with Serbo-Croatian being second most common ( 1.0%) and Portuguese being third ( 0.8%).[5] As of 2000 the gender distribution of the population was 50.9% male and 49.1% female. As of 2000 there are 1,250 households in Giswil.[6]

In the 2007 federal election the most popular party was the SVP which received 35.9% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were the CVP (26.2%), the SPS (19.4%) and the rest of the votes went to other parties (18.6%).[5]

In Giswil about 68.2% of the population (between age 25–64) have completed either non-mandatory upper secondary education or additional higher education (either university or a Fachhochschule).[5]

Giswil has an unemployment rate of 1.24%. As of 2005, there were 329 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 125 businesses involved in this sector. 335 people are employed in the secondary sector and there are 53 businesses in this sector. 467 people are employed in the tertiary sector, with 84 businesses in this sector.[5]

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

year population
1744 1,040
1850 1,610
1900 1,711
1950 2,642
1990 3,085
2000 3,435


Giswil is served by Giswil station on the Brünig line, an inter-regional narrow-gauge railway from Interlaken to Lucerne. The hourly InterRegio train between Interlaken and Lucerne stops at the station, which is also the terminus of the half-hourly Lucerne S-Bahn S5 service from Lucerne.

The A8 motorway passes to the south of the town, through the Giswil Tunnel.


The main sights of Giswil are: two ruins (Rosenberg and Rudenz) and the traditional farmhouses in the scattered settlement Grossteil.[citation needed]


Giswil has an average of 144.1 days of rain per year and on average receives 1,311 mm (51.6 in) of precipitation. The wettest month is August during which time Giswil receives an average of 168 mm (6.6 in) of precipitation. During this month there is precipitation for an average of 14.4 days. The month with the most days of precipitation is June, with an average of 14.4, but with only 146 mm (5.7 in) of precipitation. The driest month of the year is January with an average of 79 mm (3.1 in) of precipitation over 14.4 days.[7]


  1. ^ Arealstatistik Standard - Gemeindedaten nach 4 Hauptbereichen
  2. ^ a b Swiss Federal Statistics Office – STAT-TAB Ständige und Nichtständige Wohnbevölkerung nach Region, Geschlecht, Nationalität und Alter (German) accessed 31 August 2015
  3. ^ a b Giswil in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  4. ^ (Map). Swiss Confederation. Retrieved 2014-10-27. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Swiss Federal Statistical Office accessed 03-Sep-2009
  6. ^ a b Canton Obwalden Statistics accessed 2 September 2009 (German)
  7. ^ "Temperature and Precipitation Average Values-Table, 1961–1990" (in German, French, and Italian). Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology – MeteoSwiss. Retrieved 8 May 2009. , the weather station elevation is 489 meters above sea level.

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