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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade


It is going to be another beautiful day in the Berner Oberland so we decided to visit Ballenberg.

Took the train from Interlaken West to Interlaken Ost. Changed trains. Took the train from there to Brienz. Next, we got on a bus to Ballenberg.

Ballenberg is an open-air museum that displays traditional buildings and architecture from all over the country. Located near Brienz in the municipality of Hofstetten bei Brienz, Ballenberg has over 100 original buildings that have been transported from their original sites. It is a Swiss heritage site of national significance.

In addition to the main attraction of the buildings themselves, some of the industrial and crafting buildings still operate to give demonstrations of traditional rural crafts, techniques and cheese making. There is also a sizable number of farmyard animals in the grounds.

We could hear the cow's bell long before we could see them.

Is this pig snoring or having a dream????

Every time I am in Switzerland, I love watching the bears in Bern and the mother pig with her babies at Ballenberg.

Sow : female pig that has given birth. • Gilt : female that has not given birth. • Shoat or Pigglet : baby pig. • Runt : smallest piglet in the litter.

The piglets have such personality!!!!! They can be mischievous and curious, too!!!!

Look at those cute tails!

Founded in 1978, the museum features buildings from all over the country and has structures from almost all of the cantons. The buildings are set in surroundings appropriate to their type (farm buildings surrounded by small fields etc.) with pathways snaking across the 660,000 square meters (164 acre) site. Most buildings allow the visitor to walk around the rooms, each recreated from the time period of the building or brought over wholesale when the building was transplanted.

The museum is divided into the various regions of Switzerland with the structures carefully chosen to give a view of traditional architecture from those areas. The regions represented are:

  • Alpine - the higher mountain areas of the cantons of Bern, Graubünden, Nidwalden, Obwalden and Valais

  • Bernese Midlands - from the central region of the Canton of Bern.

  • Bernese Oberland - the higher areas of southern Canton of Bern.

  • Central Midlands - the central region of the Canton of Aargau.

  • Central Switzerland - cantons of Nidwalden, Obwalden and parts of Luzern, Schwyz, Uri and Zug.

  • East Midlands - the Canton of Zurich and some areas of the cantons of Schaffhausen and Thurgau.

  • Eastern Switzerland - the central valley areas of Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden and St. Gallen.

  • Jura - the central regions of the cantons of Jura, Neuchâtel and the northern areas of Vaud.

  • The Valais - the valley areas of the Canton of Valais.

  • Ticino - the central areas of Ticino.

  • West Midlands - central Fribourg and Vaud.

On the upper floor, they have a display of the dress from different regions of the country.

This red outfit is from the Basel canton. A few years ago, during the Unspunnen Festival, I met Sibylle and her husband from Basel. They were staying at the bed and breakfast we stay at. Her outfit I believe was in green.

Canton of Bern

Canton of Appenzell

Freiburg Canton

Canton of Solothurn

Zürich Canton

Beautiful needlework

Making straw hats

You put a 5 franc coin in and move the bowl around and around so the coin spins around and makes a sound. Not easy to start. Before covid, they would lay out the instruments so everyone could play with them.

Cow bells


Groundwater Wellhouse

This originally was a craftsman's house from Bern. They have descriptions of the house, etc. in English, German, Italian, and French. The information boards are made of metal. Great idea.

This is also a shop where they sell products made at Ballenberg. Natural and herbal products.

Herbal teas.

Storage containers.

Bee hive near the garden

Medicinal herb garden of the Swiss Druggists Association

Different plants for different conditions

Home remedies

Thatch roofing is a traditional roofing method that involves using dry vegetation such as straw, water reed, rushes, sedge, and so on to create a roof covering. The material composition of thatch, with its natural voids and surface irregularities, provides excellent insulation when dry and compact.

We always stop in one of the shops to get sausage and bread made at Ballenberg for a picnic lunch.

They sell the eggs from the chickens, too

The flour is ground at the mill.

These cookies are usually made at Christmas.

The bread was still warm.

We always carry our knife, fork, and spoon set just in case we find something for lunch.

Soft on the inside and crusty on the outside. Tasty!

Watched her make more bread.

The great farmer's garden

Notice the upper windows are fake. They are painted on.

We ate lunch across the way.

The F16's were flying from the base in Meiringen. You can't imagine the noise when they first take off.

Fire House

Seed garden

The seeds are sold here at Ballenberg.

They faced the sun.

Cat's whiskers

If you want to grow vegetables and fruit, you need bees.


The Frenchman's garden

We should have taken the wagon. We kept climbing and climbing and climbing.....

and climbing.... It was a wonderful walk through the woods, though.

The oldest building at Ballenberg

Hay stored on top while the livestock were underneath.

Now...that is a view!

You can ride the carousel.

Wood is provided by Ballenberg for grilling.

Which way should we go?


Pottery maker

Rope maker

Walking up to the weaver's house

Thanks for coming along on today's adventure. I only showed a small portion of this amazing open air museum. There is so much more to see at Ballenberg!

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