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Sumiswald is a municipality in the district of the Emmental administrative district in the canton of Bern, Switzerland.



Sumiswald has an area, , of . Of this area, or 47.9% is used for agricultural purposes, while or 46.3% is forested. Of the rest of the land, or 5.1% is settled (buildings or roads), or 0.6% is either rivers or lakes and or 0.1% is unproductive land.[1]

Of the built up area, housing and buildings made up 2.7% and transportation infrastructure made up 1.7%. 43.4% of the total land area is heavily forested and 2.9% is covered with orchards or small clusters of trees. Of the agricultural land, 11.3% is used for growing crops and 25.0% is pastures and 10.9% is used for alpine pastures. All the water in the municipality is in rivers and streams.[1]

Sumiswald consists of three localities (Sumiswald, Gr nen and Wasen) in the lower Emmental. It is one of the largest municipalities in the canton with an area of 5933 ha. The town has a population of around 5,000.


The name Sumiswald is first mentioned in 1130. The name either comes from the Germanic settler "Suomolt", the Latin term summa vallis ("bank over the valley") or the designation "Zum Oswald" ("to Oswald"), because in the Middle Ages there was a chapel in Sumiswald dedicated to Oswald of Northumbria.

From 1225, Sumiswald was a commandery of the Teutonic Knights of the "Ballei" Swabia-Alsace-Burgundy. In 1525, the town bought its way out of serfdom, but stayed a part of the Teutonic Knights even after the Protestant Reformation was introduced in 1528; Sumiswald was sold to the city of Bern for 36,000 Reichs thaler in 1698.

Hans Haslibacher, who was decapitated on October 20, 1571 in Bern because of his Anabaptist conviction came from Sumiswald; his decapitation was the last execution of an Anabaptist in Bern.


Sumiswald has a population (as of ) of . , 6.3% of the population was made up of foreign nationals. Over the last 10 years the population has decreased at a rate of -6.4%. Most of the population () speaks German (94.0%), with Albanian being second most common ( 1.4%) and Serbo-Croatian being third ( 0.9%).

In the 2007 election the most popular party was the SVP which received 45.6% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were the FDP (13.4%), the SPS (12.6%) and the local small left-wing parties (10.6%).

The age distribution of the population () is children and teenagers (0 19 years old) make up 26.2% of the population, while adults (20 64 years old) make up 55.5% and seniors (over 64 years old) make up 18.3%. In Sumiswald about 68.4% of the population (between age 25-64) have completed either non-mandatory upper secondary education or additional higher education (either university or a Fachhochschule).[2]


The glass windows of the church Mariekirche depict benefactors with their patron saints.

The old Teutonic Knight castle is somewhat outside of Sumiswald. It was endowed in 1225 with the condition that a hospital be housed in it, therefore the castle's name is Spittel.

It is said that all the men in Sumiswald could have taken a seat at the large table in the inn "B ren" after the plague in 1434.


The clock manufacturer Mobatime can be found in Sumiswald.

Sumiswald has an unemployment rate of 1.02%. , there were 599 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 206 businesses involved in this sector. 1222 people are employed in the secondary sector and there are 84 businesses in this sector. 1162 people are employed in the tertiary sector, with 146 businesses in this sector.[2]


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