History

History Wilderswil
In 1879, 15 Alemanni graves were uncovered in Wilderswil during excavation work for the foundations of the Hotel Schönbühl. The Alemanni are known to have inhabited our district in the 6th and 7th centuries. History shows that the name Wilderswil comes from the word “villare” (derived from Latin villa = manor/estate) and the name “Wild-hari” or “Wild-heri”. In ancient times, our village was called “Wild-heres-wilare” and hence was the settlement where the Alemanni Wild-heri or Wild-hari lived with his tribe.
Later on, the village was ruled by famous dynasties of Oberland barons, including the Barons of Rothefluh/Unspunnen as well as the Lords of Wädenswil, Weissenburg and Scharnachtal. The area first gained real fame with the first two Unspunnen Festivals in 1805 and 1808.

While in earlier days our village lived mainly from farming, over the last century it has developed into a tourist resort. The key factor was the construction of the Bernese Oberland Railway in 1890 and the Schynige Platte Railway in 1893. At the turn of the century, the tourism boom led to new guest houses being built in the village. The oldest guest houses are said to have stood as early as the 15th century, in Gsteig (next to the church, municipality of Gsteigwiler) and in the upper part of the village (a Gasthof zum Riesenstein). The oldest known tavern rights were granted to the present Hotel Bären in 1706.

Today Wilderswil has 14 hotels, around 100 holiday apartments and one camp site. The sports centre offers tennis, squash, badminton and a sauna. A fitness trail (Vita-Parcours) and numerous hiking paths are ideal sporting attractions for individualists. But despite this array of attractions, Wilderswil remains true to itself and combines well-kept traditional Oberland chalets and local life with the different cultures of its international guests, in all four seasons.