Oberwil im Simmental

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Oberwil im Simmental
The Gasthof Alte Post in Oberwil im Simmental
The Gasthof Alte Post in Oberwil im Simmental
Coat of arms of Oberwil im Simmental
Coat of arms
Oberwil im Simmental is located in Switzerland
Oberwil im Simmental
Oberwil im Simmental
Location of Oberwil im Simmental
Karte Gemeinde Oberwil im Simmental 2010.png
Oberwil im Simmental is located in Canton of Bern
Oberwil im Simmental
Oberwil im Simmental
Oberwil im Simmental (Canton of Bern)
Coordinates: 46°39′N 7°26′E / 46.650°N 7.433°E / 46.650; 7.433Coordinates: 46°39′N 7°26′E / 46.650°N 7.433°E / 46.650; 7.433
Country Switzerland
Canton Bern
District Frutigen-Niedersimmental
 • Total 46.06 km2 (17.78 sq mi)
Elevation 836 m (2,743 ft)
Population (Dec 2016[2])
 • Total 799
 • Density 17/km2 (45/sq mi)
Postal code 3765
SFOS number 0766
Surrounded by Boltigen, Därstetten, Diemtigen, Guggisberg, Plaffeien (FR), Rüschegg
Website www.oberwil-im-simmental.ch
SFSO statistics

Oberwil im Simmental is a municipality in the Frutigen-Niedersimmental administrative district in the canton of Bern in Switzerland.


Oberwil is first mentioned in 1278 as Oberwile.[3]

During the Paleolithic era (20,000-10,000 BC) humans lived in several caves above the valley floor during the summer. The caves, Schnurenloch, Mamilchloch, Zwergliloch and Chniechälebalm, contained about 5,000 bones from the now extinct cave bear which the inhabitants had butchered. While no human remains were discovered, a number of stone tools were found. Today the tools and bones are at the Historical Museum of Bern while the caves can be visited with tour groups.[4] These caves and other nearby rock shelters continued to be used through the Neolithic, the late Bronze Age and into the Middle Ages. After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, Alamanni tribes settled in the Simmen valley and established villages and alpine pastures.[5]

In 994, the royal estate at Wimmis and part of Oberwil was donated to Selz Abbey in Alsace. In 1276, Wimmis and Oberwil were given to the new Augustinian Därstetten priory. During the Middle Ages, two castles Festi and Heidenmauer were built above the valley floor. However no records of the castles are still in existence and both have fallen into ruin. By the 12th century the remaining settlements and land were owned by the Freiherr von Weissenburg. In 1439 all the Weissenburg lands, including Oberwil and the surrounding settlements, were acquired by Bern. During the 16th century the entire Simmen valley converted from subsistence agriculture to raising cattle and producing cheese from milk. Today, while the municipality has some small businesses and tourism, the main industry is still agriculture.[3]

The village church of St. Mauritius was built by the Freiherr von Weissenburg and is first mentioned in 1228. The original church was expanded in the 14th and 15th centuries.[3]


Märe peak on the border of Canton Bern and Canton Fribourg, in the municipality of Oberwil

Oberwil im Simmental has an area of 46.06 km2 (17.78 sq mi).[1] As of 2012, a total of 23.69 km2 (9.15 sq mi) or 51.4% is used for agricultural purposes, while 15.57 km2 (6.01 sq mi) or 33.8% is forested. The rest of the municipality is 1.16 km2 (0.45 sq mi) or 2.5% is settled (buildings or roads), 0.28 km2 (0.11 sq mi) or 0.6% is either rivers or lakes and 5.3 km2 (2.0 sq mi) or 11.5% is unproductive land.[6]

During the same year, housing and buildings made up 1.1% and transportation infrastructure made up 1.3%. A total of 27.6% of the total land area is heavily forested and 5.6% is covered with orchards or small clusters of trees. Of the agricultural land, 18.8% is pasturage and 32.5% is used for alpine pastures. All the water in the municipality is flowing water. Of the unproductive areas, 7.3% is unproductive vegetation and 4.2% is too rocky for vegetation.[6]

The large municipality spreads across much of the Simmental (Simmen valley) and the meadows and forests of the surrounding mountains. It consists of the Bäuerten (farming collectives) of Oberwil, Hintereggen, Pfaffenried, Bunschen and Waldried.

On 31 December 2009 Amtsbezirk Niedersimmental, the municipality's former district, was dissolved. On the following day, 1 January 2010, it joined the newly created Verwaltungskreis Frutigen-Niedersimmental.[7]

Coat of arms[edit]

The blazon of the municipal coat of arms is Per fess Argent a Castle Gules and Vert.[8]


Houses in Oberwil

Oberwil im Simmental has a population (as of December 2016) of 799.[2] As of 2010, 3.6% of the population are resident foreign nationals. Over the last 10 years (2001-2011) the population has changed at a rate of -1.4%. Migration accounted for -1.6%, while births and deaths accounted for 0%.[9]

Most of the population (as of 2000) speaks German (796 or 99.1%) as their first language. There is one person who speaks French and one that speaks Romansh.[10]

As of 2008, the population was 50.7% male and 49.3% female. The population was made up of 394 Swiss men (48.9% of the population) and 14 (1.7%) non-Swiss men. There were 382 Swiss women (47.5%) and 15 (1.9%) non-Swiss women.[11] Of the population in the municipality, 514 or about 64.0% were born in Oberwil im Simmental and lived there in 2000. There were 222 or 27.6% who were born in the same canton, while 31 or 3.9% were born somewhere else in Switzerland, and 19 or 2.4% were born outside of Switzerland.[10]

As of 2011, children and teenagers (0–19 years old) make up 20.3% of the population, while adults (20–64 years old) make up 55.7% and seniors (over 64 years old) make up 24.1%.[9]

As of 2000, there were 295 people who were single and never married in the municipality. There were 437 married individuals, 61 widows or widowers and 10 individuals who are divorced.[10]

As of 2010, there were 83 households that consist of only one person and 28 households with five or more people.[12] In 2000, a total of 284 apartments (64.5% of the total) were permanently occupied, while 115 apartments (26.1%) were seasonally occupied and 41 apartments (9.3%) were empty.[13] As of 2010, the construction rate of new housing units was 1.2 new units per 1000 residents.[9] The vacancy rate for the municipality, in 2012, was 2.38%. In 2011, single family homes made up 44.0% of the total housing in the municipality.[14]

The historical population is given in the following chart:[3][15][16]

Heritage sites of national significance[edit]

The Venner house is listed as a Swiss heritage site of national significance. The entire village of Oberwil im Simmental and the hamlet of Pfaffenried are part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites.[17]


In the 2011 federal election the most popular party was the Swiss People's Party (SVP) which received 61.9% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were the Federal Democratic Union of Switzerland (EDU) (13.8%), the Conservative Democratic Party (BDP) (11.3%) and the Social Democratic Party (SP) (5.3%). In the federal election, a total of 365 votes were cast, and the voter turnout was 56.0%.[18]


As of  2011, Oberwil im Simmental had an unemployment rate of 0.73%. As of 2008, there were a total of 349 people employed in the municipality. Of these, there were 220 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 84 businesses involved in this sector. 65 people were employed in the secondary sector and there were 14 businesses in this sector. 64 people were employed in the tertiary sector, with 19 businesses in this sector.[9] There were 394 residents of the municipality who were employed in some capacity, of which females made up 39.1% of the workforce.

In 2008 there were a total of 244 full-time equivalent jobs. The number of jobs in the primary sector was 140, all of which were in agriculture. The number of jobs in the secondary sector was 58 of which 16 or (27.6%) were in manufacturing and 41 (70.7%) were in construction. The number of jobs in the tertiary sector was 46. In the tertiary sector; 18 or 39.1% were in wholesale or retail sales or the repair of motor vehicles, 7 or 15.2% were in the movement and storage of goods, 12 or 26.1% were in a hotel or restaurant, 2 or 4.3% were the insurance or financial industry, and 1 was a technical professional or scientist.[19]

In 2000, there were 29 workers who commuted into the municipality and 142 workers who commuted away. The municipality is a net exporter of workers, with about 4.9 workers leaving the municipality for every one entering. A total of 252 workers (89.7% of the 281 total workers in the municipality) both lived and worked in Oberwil im Simmental.[20] Of the working population, 10.7% used public transportation to get to work, and 48% used a private car.[9]

In 2011 the average local and cantonal tax rate on a married resident, with two children, of Oberwil im Simmental making 150,000 CHF was 12.7%, while an unmarried resident's rate was 18.7%.[21] For comparison, the average rate for the entire canton in the same year, was 14.2% and 22.0%, while the nationwide average was 12.3% and 21.1% respectively.[22] In 2009 there were a total of 291 tax payers in the municipality. Of that total, 43 made over 75,000 CHF per year. There were 9 people who made between 15,000 and 20,000 per year. The greatest number of workers, 91, made between 50,000 and 75,000 CHF per year. The average income of the over 75,000 CHF group in Oberwil im Simmental was 106,435 CHF, while the average across all of Switzerland was 130,478 CHF.[23]

In 2011 a total of 1.1% of the population received direct financial assistance from the government.[24]


Village church in Oberwil

From the 2000 census, 692 or 86.2% belonged to the Swiss Reformed Church, while 14 or 1.7% were Roman Catholic. Of the rest of the population, there were 2 members of an Orthodox church (or about 0.25% of the population), and there were 64 individuals (or about 7.97% of the population) who belonged to another Christian church. There was 1 individual who was Islamic. There were 2 individuals who belonged to another church. 12 (or about 1.49% of the population) belonged to no church, are agnostic or atheist, and 16 individuals (or about 1.99% of the population) did not answer the question.[10]


In Oberwil im Simmental about 44.5% of the population have completed non-mandatory upper secondary education, and 5.3% have completed additional higher education (either university or a Fachhochschule).[9] Of the 24 who had completed some form of tertiary schooling listed in the census, 87.5% were Swiss men, 12.5% were Swiss women.[10]

The Canton of Bern school system provides one year of non-obligatory Kindergarten, followed by six years of Primary school. This is followed by three years of obligatory lower Secondary school where the students are separated according to ability and aptitude. Following the lower Secondary students may attend additional schooling or they may enter an apprenticeship.[25]

During the 2011-12 school year, there were a total of 63 students attending classes in Oberwil im Simmental. There was one kindergarten class with a total of 7 students in the municipality. The municipality had 2 primary classes and 47 students. During the same year, there was one lower secondary class with a total of 9 students.[26]

As of  2000, there were a total of 18 students attending any school in the municipality. Of those, 17 both lived and attended school in the municipality, while one student came from another municipality. During the same year, 81 residents attended schools outside the municipality.[20]


  1. ^ a b Arealstatistik Standard - Gemeindedaten nach 4 Hauptbereichen
  2. ^ a b Swiss Federal Statistical Office - STAT-TAB, online database – Ständige und nichtständige Wohnbevölkerung nach institutionellen Gliederungen, Geburtsort und Staatsangehörigkeit (in German) accessed 30 August 2017
  3. ^ a b c d Oberwil im Simmental in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  4. ^ Official website - Sightseeing section (in German) accessed 7 November 2013
  5. ^ Official website - History (in German) accessed 7 November 2013
  6. ^ a b Swiss Federal Statistical Office-Land Use Statistics 2009 data (in German) accessed 25 March 2010
  7. ^ Nomenklaturen – Amtliches Gemeindeverzeichnis der Schweiz (in German) accessed 4 April 2011
  8. ^ Flags of the World.com accessed 7 November 2013
  9. ^ a b c d e f Swiss Federal Statistical Office Archived January 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. accessed 7 November 2013
  10. ^ a b c d e STAT-TAB Datenwürfel für Thema 40.3 - 2000 Archived April 9, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. (in German) accessed 2 February 2011
  11. ^ Statistical office of the Canton of Bern (in German) accessed 4 January 2012
  12. ^ Swiss Federal Statistical Office - Haushaltsgrösse Archived October 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. (in German) accessed 8 May 2013
  13. ^ Swiss Federal Statistical Office STAT-TAB - Datenwürfel für Thema 09.2 - Gebäude und Wohnungen Archived September 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. (in German) accessed 28 January 2011
  14. ^ Statistischer Atlas der Schweiz - Anteil Einfamilienhäuser am gesamten Gebäudebestand, 2011 accessed 17 June 2013
  15. ^ Swiss Federal Statistical Office STAT-TAB Bevölkerungsentwicklung nach Region, 1850-2000 Archived September 30, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. (in German) accessed 29 January 2011
  16. ^ Swiss Federal Statistical Office - Ständige Wohnbevölkerung in Privathaushalten nach Gemeinde und Haushaltsgrösse Archived July 18, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. (in German) accessed 12 August 2013
  17. ^ "Kantonsliste A-Objekte". KGS Inventar (in German). Federal Office of Civil Protection. 2009. Archived from the original on 28 June 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2011. 
  18. ^ Swiss Federal Statistical Office 2011 Election Archived November 14, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. (in German) accessed 8 May 2012
  19. ^ Swiss Federal Statistical Office STAT-TAB Betriebszählung: Arbeitsstätten nach Gemeinde und NOGA 2008 (Abschnitte), Sektoren 1-3 Archived December 25, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. (in German) accessed 28 January 2011
  20. ^ a b Swiss Federal Statistical Office - Statweb[permanent dead link] (in German) accessed 24 June 2010
  21. ^ Statistischer Atlas der Schweiz - Steuerbelastung, 2011 Politische Gemeinden (in German) accessed 15 May 2013
  22. ^ Swiss Federal Tax Administration - Grafische Darstellung der Steuerbelastung 2011 in den Kantonen (in German) (in French) accessed 17 June 2013
  23. ^ Federal Tax Administration Report Direkte Bundessteuer - Natürliche Personen - Gemeinden - Steuerjahr 2009 Archived October 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. (in German) (in French) accessed 15 May 2013
  24. ^ Statistischer Atlas der Schweiz - Bezüger/-innen von Sozialhilfeleistungen (Sozialhilfeempfänger/-innen), 2011 accessed 18 June 2013
  25. ^ EDK/CDIP/IDES (2010). Kantonale Schulstrukturen in der Schweiz und im Fürstentum Liechtenstein / Structures Scolaires Cantonales en Suisse et Dans la Principauté du Liechtenstein (PDF) (Report). Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  26. ^ Schuljahr 2011/12 pdf document(in German) accessed 9 May 2013

External links[edit]