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Brienz is a municipality in the district of Interlaken in the canton of Bernemarker in Switzerlandmarker.

The village lies on the north bank of Lake Brienzmarker in the Bernese Oberlandmarker at the foot of the Brienzer Rothornmarker mountain.


Evidence has been found for a settlement by the Alamanni in the 7th century. Brienz was first documented in 1146, and in 1528 after an eventful history Brienz became part of the Canton of Berne. Brienz is first mentioned in 1146 as Briens.


A western view of Lake Brienz in the summer, taken from the quay at Brienz
An eastern view of Lake Brienz

Brienz has an area of . Of this area, 38.7% is used for agricultural purposes, while 33.3% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 4.2% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (23.8%) is non-productive (rivers, glaciers or mountains).

The municipality of Brienz includes a number of communities along the upper end of Lake Brienz, and stretches into the neighboring mountains. It includes the on the right shore the village of Brienz. To the north it includes the mouth of the Aare Rivermarker and the village of Kienholz. On the left bank it includes the settlements of Engi and Schwendi. Heading away from the right shore the land rises to the Rotschalp, Planalp and Giebelegg before reaching the Brienzer Rothornmarker ( ). Heading away from the left shore it rises over the Brienzerberg and Giessbach Falls, Tschingelfeld, Hinterburg and Axalp until it reaches the Schwarzhornmarker ( ).

The parish church of Brienz includes Oberried am Brienzerseemarker, Schwanden bei Brienzmarker, Hofstetten bei Brienzmarker and Brienzwilermarker.


Brienz has a population ( ) of 2,963, of which 9.4% are foreign nationals. Over the last 10 years the population has grown at a rate of 0.1%. Most of the population ( ) speaks German (92.9%), with French being second most common ( 1.3%) and Albanian being third ( 1.3%).

In the 2007 election the most popular party was the SVP which received 34% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were the FDP (25.9%), the SPS (15.1%) and the Green Party (9.8%).

The age distribution of the population ( ) is children and teenagers (0-19 years old) make up 25.5% of the population, while adults (20-64 years old) make up 56.6% and seniors (over 64 years old) make up 17.9%. The entire Swiss population is generally well educated. In Brienz about 73.5% of the population (between age 25-64) have completed either non-mandatory upper secondary education or additional higher education (either University or a Fachhochschule).

The historical population is given in the following table:
year population
1764 799
1850 1,789
1880 2,757
1900 2,580
1920 2,474
1950 2,861
1990 2,849
2000 2,956


Tourism and woodcarving are the main activities. The Cantonal Woodcarving School established in 1862 is well-known and respected in the trade.

Brienz has an unemployment rate of 2.43%. , there were 149 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 42 businesses involved in this sector. 458 people are employed in the secondary sector and there are 54 businesses in this sector. 877 people are employed in the tertiary sector, with 146 businesses in this sector.

Points of interests

  • In the difficult years of the First World War a lake promenade was built that leads along the village to the lake shore, and is probably something one of the most beautiful things Brienz has to offer. With magnificent flower beds and tree plantings, it offers, unencumbered from traffic, peace and relaxation.
  • Ride the Brienz Rothorn Bahn, a steam train up the Brienzer Rothornmarker.
  • The Ballenbergmarker open air museum of nearly 100 original century-old buildings from all over Switzerland
  • wood carvings
  • Giessbach waterfall with the Giessbach-Bahn, the oldest Funicular in Europe

A view of Brienz from Lake Brienz

External links


  1. Swiss Federal Statistical Office accessed 11-Jun-2009

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