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Glarus Pioneering Achievements

(Suggestions made by Dr. André Herrmann, em. ETH and University of Zurich)


16 / 16 B.C.





1615 - 1619






























1846 / 1856


















1908 - 1910











The Roman Walensee Towers

The term "Walensee Towers" is used to describe the three early Roman military buildings at the western end of Lake Walen – Vordem-wald (Filzbach), Stralegg (Betlis/Amden), Biberlikopf (Schänis). All three sites were within sight of each other. The three Walensee Towers have always been seen as part of a dispositive in connection with the Alpine campaign around 16/15 BC under the leadership of Drusus and Tiberius, the stepsons of Emperor Augustus. The towers at Lake Walen are thus among the earliest Roman military buildings north of the Alps.


Source: Glaronia antiqua - The Glarnerland in Roman times, Dr. Stefan Paradowski, 2013

Glarner Schabziger as the oldest brand product in Switzerland

A law passed by the Glarus Landsgemeinde on 24 April 1463 obliged all manufacturers in the Canton of Glarus to produce the Ziger in accordance with quality specifications and to mark it with a stamp of origin to protect it from imitation. The Glarus Schabziger is therefore regarded as the oldest trademark product in Switzerland and the stamp of origin as the first surviving trademark in Switzerland.

Legal anchoring of the Reformation

On 2 May 1529 the Landsgemeinde anchored the Reformation in Glarus on a legal basis and allowed free preaching.

Assurance of personal freedom of belief and conscience

The 1st Glarus State Treaty of 21.11.1532 ended the religious disputes in Glarus and granted the Catholic minority a special status. In future, religious disputes were not to be settled by majority decision of the Landsgemeinde, but by contracts between members of both denominations.

Freiberg-Kärpf - First game reserve in Europe

In 1548 the Freiberg Kärpf, an area between Sernftal and Linthal, became the first game reserve in Europe. Hunting was only allowed for Freiberg marksmen appointed by the High Council, and only "wedding gems" were hunted for couples who married between July and November. 

Kaspar Gallati first commander of the Swiss Guard Regiment at the French Royal Court

Kaspar Gallati (ca. 1535-1619) was the first colonel of the Swiss Guard Regiment in the service of the French King Louis XIII from 1615 to 1619. 3 more Glarus men served under the first Guard Colonels: Fridolin Hässi (1619-1626), Kaspar Freuler, the grandson of Kaspar Gallati (1635-1651) and Johann Melchior Hässi (1651-1653).

As the first canton in Switzerland, Glarus introduces the lottery procedure for elections

While the lot for government officials in Venice was already known in the 13th century, it was not until 1640 that the Protestant Landsgemeinde Glarus, as the first Swiss authority, decided that important officials would be chosen by lot. The Catholic part of Glarus took over the procedure in 1649. In 1791, the Protestant Landsgemeinde went one step further and introduced the so-called Kübellos (bucket lottery) for some offices: Landschreiber (State Clerk), Läufer (messenger) and Landvögte (bailiffs). In Glarus these procedures remained in force until 1837.

How the potato first came to Switzerland


The pioneers of the tuberous fruit that originated in Peru and Chile and which we now call the "potato" were, firstly, the princes who passed on the potato as an ornamental plant, secondly, apothecaries, doctors and botanists who examined and passed on the potato as a medicinal plant and, thirdly, mercenaries who got to know the potato somewhere during their service and ate it, took it with them or bought the seed and then cultivated it themselves. 


In 1697, for example, the potato is said to have been brought to Switzerland from Schwanden by the Glarus mercenary captain Jakob Straub (1674-1747), who served under King William in Dublin. He became acquainted with this foreign fruit during his service in Ireland and, after his return, arranged for its cultivation in Switzerland for the first time.

Last witch execution in Europe

Anna Göldi (1734-1782) was the last woman in Europe to be accused of witchcraft. The Protestant Council of Glarus sentenced Anna Göldi to death by the sword on 6 June 1782. The sentence was carried out on 13 June. It was the last legal execution of a witch and caused indignation throughout Europe. 

A man from Glarus gave the impetus for the Swiss flag

The Swiss flag with the white cross in the red field, an old venerable symbol of our ancestors, had been forgotten since the end of the Middle Ages. Only in the 19th century did the white free-floating cross on a red background become the actual emblem of the Swiss Confederation. The impetus for this was given by Niklaus Franz von Bachmann from Glarus, later to become the first Swiss general, in a ceremonial act at the edge of the Lechfeld in Schwabmünchen in spring 1800.

First Swiss Children's Relief Organization

Around 1800 the Glarus economy was at a low point. The French occupying presence and the hostilities between the French and Russian troops on Glarus soil in 1799 had left a devastated area in Glarus. The government governor wrote to the aid organization in Zurich and from 10 January to 26 March 1800, 1115 emaciated children from Glarus were able to move to Zurich and Welschland for temporary recreation. This action went down in history as the first Swiss children's relief organization.

First printed collection of laws

1807, the "Landbuch" was published for the first time, the first printed collection of laws accessible to everyone, which systematically arranged all the Glarnese decrees in force according to legal and subject areas.

Correction of the Linth - project of the century on the Linth

On 28 July 1804, the correction of the Linth was decided by the federal constitution. At the time, the intervention was the largest hydraulic engineering project ever undertaken. Construction work under the direction of Hans Conrad Escher began in 1807 and was completed in 1816 with the building of the canal between Walensee and the Grynau. Canal construction up to Lake Zurich did not begin until 1866.

Niklaus Franz von Bachmannn first Swiss general            

On 20 March 1815 the Federal Diet of Switzerland elected Niklaus Franz von Bachmann from Glarus as the first general of the Swiss army.

First health insurance company in Glarus

1816 the first factory health insurance fund in Switzrland was founded by workers of the Egidius Trümpy textile printing works in the Bleiche Glarus.


First factory strike in Switzerland

The first factory strike in Switzerland took place at Egidius Trümpy's factory in Glarus. The workers went on strike for two weeks to prevent the introduction of a factory bell signalling the beginning and end of working hours.


First ban on child labour in Glarus

In the 19th century, industrial child labour spread rapidly. In the cotton spinning mills, children as young as 6-10 years worked under the worst conditions. In 1846, a ban was introduced in Glarus on the employment of children under 12 years of age in mechanical spinning mills. Night shifts of a maximum of 11 hours and day shifts of a maximum of 13 hours were permitted. In 1856, the ban on employment of children under 12 years of age was extended to all factory operations.

First national fundraising

for the surviving dependents of the victims (including two people from Glarus) of the sinking of the steamship Delphin on Lake Walen off Mühlehorn. The Delphin sank during the stormy night of December 16-17, 1850. In addition to the crew, a woman from Thusis, a cattle dealer from Glarus, an umbrella maker with his son and two silk industrialists from Lombardy lost their lives in this accident.


First comprehensive Alpine law

1861 the first comprehensive alpine law was passed in Glarus.


First SAC hut

The Grünhornhütte is the first mountain hut for alpinists, built by the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) in 1863, the year the SAC was founded. It is located south of Linthal on the eastern flank of the Tödi near the Bifertenfirn. At the beginning, the Grünhorn hut consisted only of low walls, over which the mountaineers pulled a tarpaulin at night. Later it was extended and became more and more popular, so that due to the lack of space the Fridolinshütte was built in 1890.


Switzerland's first consumer association in Schwanden

In 1864, the textile industrialist Jean Jenny-Ryffel founded the first Swiss consumer cooperative in Schwanden. This cooperative was based on the seven principles of the "Honest Pioneers of Rochdale", which included purity of goods (unadulterated goods), cash payment, distribution of surpluses based on purchases made (reimbursement), limited return on capital, creation of reserves from surpluses (savings cooperative), promotion of further education and democratic administration (one man, one vote). 

First Factory Act of Switzerland

The canton of Glarus, more strongly influenced by industrialization than most other cantons, enacted the first Working Hours Act in 1846, which set a maximum daily working time of 15 hours for adults and 14 hours for children under 14 years of age. A stricter law then introduced the 12-hour day in Glarus in 1864 on the initiative of Niklaus Tschudi and Daniel Jenny, a ban on night work from 8 p.m. - 5 a.m. and child labour under the age of 12, and a 6-week rest period for women giving birth to a child. It was the first factory law in Switzerland and is considered to be groundbreaking in Europe.


Johann Jakob Blumer - First President of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court

With the founding of the Federal State and the new Federal Constitution of Switzerland, the foundations for the establishment of a federal court were laid. The powers of the court were initially very limited and were limited to private and criminal law. In 1874, the Swiss Federal Constitution was completely renewed and the Federal Supreme Court became a permanent court. Johann Jakob Blumer (1819-1875) from Glarus was a judge at the Federal Supreme Court from 1848-1875 and in 1874 became the first president of the permanent Federal Supreme Court.


Glarus the cradle of Swiss skiing

In 1893, three events shaped the sporting history of Switzerland in Glarus: the first ski race, the founding of the first ski club and the opening of the first ski factory. This makes the Ski Club Glarus the oldest ski club in Switzerland, which was founded in Glarus on 22 November 1893 on the initiative of ski pioneer Christoph Iselin. The first ski factory was founded in the same year by Melchior Jakober.


Builder of the Bundeshaus dome

Arnold Bosshard, patron of the metal construction company A. Bosshard & Co. in Näfels, made a name for himself as a builder of railway bridges. In 1899 he was commissioned to build the dome of the Swiss Parliament in Bern.

Opening of the first and only lime factory in Switzerland

On November 27, 1859, master engraver Kaspar Zopfi (1821-1884) built a lime kiln and brickworks at Tänniberg near Schwanden. In 1900, the limestone deposits near Schwanden were exhausted. His son, Melchior Zopfi (1847-1931), had to look for new limestone deposits and found them in Netstal on the eastern edge of the village. After obtaining the concession from the municipality of Netstal, Melchior Zopfi moved his business from Schwanden to Netstal and founded the Netstal Lime Factory AG, which is still the only lime factory in Switzerland. For more than 100 years, Kalkfabrik Netstal AG ("Chalchi") has been producing high-quality lime products, which are used as additives in the plastics, food and pharmaceutical industries and as pesticides. Chalchi is owned by the Marti-Auer family.

Further information at Pro Netstal and Kalkfabrik Netstal AG


First official ski race in Switzerland

On 26 January 1902, a snowy Sunday, the first official ski race in Switzerland took place in Glarus on the Saggberg below the Vorderglärnisch. The first ski race in Switzerland was modelled on the competitions in Christiania (now Oslo) and involved a variety of combined disciplines. The first winner of the main competition was Feldweibel Müller from Reichenbach near Frutigen, a strong Bernese, as the story goes, who was stationed in Andermatt and after the competition set off across the Klausen again in the direction of the Schöllenen gorge - on foot.

First ski jumping in Switzerland

Ski jumping was invented in Scandinavia, and even the first Swiss record is attributed to a Norwegian. In January 1903, a Mr. Heyerdahl dominated Switzerland's first ski jumping competition on the Sackberg near Glarus with a best distance of 24 meters. The initiator of that championship was ski sport pioneer Christoph Iselin, also the initiator of the first Ski Club in Switzerland.

Foundation of the Swiss Ski Association at the suggestion of the Glarus Ski Club

Switzerland's first ski club was founded in Glarus in 1893; eleven years later, on 20 November 1904, at the suggestion of Christoph Iselin from Glarus, 16 ski clubs met in Olten to found the Swiss Ski Association.

Klöntalersee - First larger reservoir in Switzerland

Since 1908 the Klöntalersee has been used for the production of electricity. It is the oldest larger storage lake in Switzerland, having been dammed by the construction of the "Rhodannenberg" earthfill dam with a high of 21.5 meters.


First cantonal old age and disability insurance

1916, the Landsgemeinde agreed to the creation of a cantonal old-age and disability insurance scheme. This first compulsory social insurance was not matched at federal level until 1948 with the introduction of the AHV. 


First Act on Unemployment Insurance

It is also the Glarner Landsgemeinde, which in 1925, as the first of its kind, enacted the law on unemployment insurance, which also does not find an equivalent at federal level until 1948.

First Giant Slalom Race in Braunwald

In 1928 the first giant slalom race in the history of skiing took place in Braunwald.


First scientific observation of a landslide near Linthal

In autumn 1930, a large mass of rock threatened to break away from the Kilchenstock (1800 m) above the community of Linthal. On November 15, 1930, geologist Albert Heim sent a telegram to the head of the Glarus cantonal government: "Crash seems imminent. Recommend order to evacuate and flee." Three days after Heim's telegram, the Glarus government warns the inhabitants of Linthal and recommends "put valuable objects in safekeeping and place dispensable movables with relatives". In the summit zone of the mountain, an enormous rock mass of an estimated 100,000 m3 slid downhill at a speed of one centimetre per day. A protective wall was eagerly built to keep the debris away from the village. Thanks to this forewarning, a major disaster did not occur.


Resettlement of the ibex in Glarus

The last ibex was already shot in Glarus in 1550. What was to be the real fate of the ibex was superstitious folk medicine. The concentrated strength of the mighty horned carrier, his elegant climbing skills - despite his apparently clumsy body - and his extreme hardness in the face of the murderous strains of the mountain winter made the ibex a symbol of robust health in the eyes of the people. After almost 400 years, the ibex was successfully reintroduced to Glarus in 1958 with specimens from the Italian Aosta Valley.


Kurt Hauser AG - Switzerland's only confetti factory

The Kurt Hauser AG factory has been located in Näfels since 1965. It is the only factory in Switzerland that produces the coloured paper plates. 300 tons of confetti are produced here every year.


Glarus first canton with voting age 16

At the federal level, only adults have the right to vote and elect. At cantonal level, however, each canton can decide for itself whether minors should have the right to vote or not. Since 2007, only in the canton of Glarus have 16- and 17-year-olds been able to vote on cantonal and communal proposals. However, Glarus citizens can only run for political office if they are 18 years old or older.


Linth-Limmern Pumped Storage Plant (PSWL): Work of the century in the Glarus limestone

The Limmern PSWL, one of the most important electricity projects in Switzerland, has been in operation since 2015. The construction and planning period for the plant took around ten years, and the ground-breaking ceremony took place in 2009. With a capacity of 1000 MW, the PSWL is a giant battery in the Glarus Alps. In contrast to pure storage power plants, pumped storage power plants such as the PSWL can not only generate peak energy. They can also convert surplus electricity, which is generated during off-peak periods, into valuable peak energy.

Glarus North became the first Swiss municipality to receive the "Fair Trade Town" award

In February 2016, Glarus North became the first Swiss municipality to receive the ‘Fair Trade Town’ award. Fair Trade Town is an award given to towns and municipalities in Switzerland that actively promote fair trade. The aim is to raise public awareness of sustainable consumption and improve the living conditions of producers in developing countries.

The Linth-Escher school became the first school in Switzerland to be designated a Fair Trade School

The award as a Fair Trade School by the umbrella organisation Swiss Fair Trade is based on the fulfilment of six criteria, including the establishment of a Fair Trade School Team, the integration of sustainable consumption and fair trade into lessons and regular school campaigns on the topic of fair trade.

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