Davos (UK: /ˈdævɒs, dɑːˈvɒs/,[3][4] US: /dɑːˈvs/;[5] German: [daˈfoːs][6] or [daˈvoːs] ;[7] Romansh: Tavau; archaic Italian: Tavate) is an Alpine resort town and a municipality in the Prättigau/Davos Region in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland. It has a permanent population of 10,832 (2020).[8] Davos is located on the river Landwasser, in the Rhaetian Alps, between the Plessur and Albula Ranges.

Top left: Weissfluhjoch, Top right: World Economic Forum congress centre, Bottom: View over Davos and the Schatzalp and Parsenn (right) ski area by night
Top left: Weissfluhjoch, Top right: World Economic Forum congress centre, Bottom: View over Davos and the Schatzalp and Parsenn (right) ski area by night
Flag of Davos
Coat of arms of Davos
Location of Davos
Davos is located in Switzerland
Davos is located in Canton of Graubünden
Coordinates: 46°48′N 9°50′E / 46.800°N 9.833°E / 46.800; 9.833
 • ExecutiveKleiner Landrat
with 5 members
 • MayorLandammann (list)
Philipp Wilhelm SPS/PSS
(as of Januar 2021)
 • ParliamentGrosser Landrat
with 17 members
 • Total284 km2 (110 sq mi)
(Church St. Theodul)
1,560 m (5,120 ft)
Highest elevation3,146 m (10,322 ft)
Lowest elevation
(Landwasser (river) near Leidboda)
1,052 m (3,451 ft)
 (31 December 2018)[2]
 • Total10,898
 • Density38/km2 (99/sq mi)
DemonymGerman: Davoser/Davoserin
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (Central European Time)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (Central European Summer Time)
Postal code(s)
7260 Davos Dorf, 7265 Davos Wolfgang, 7270 Davos Platz, 7272 Davos Clavadel, 7276 Davos Frauenkirch, 7277 Davos Glaris, 7278 Davos Monstein, 7294 Davos Wiesen
SFOS number3851
LocalitiesDavos Dorf, Davos Platz, Frauenkirch, Davos Glaris, Davos Wiesen, Davos Monstein, Davos Clavadel, Laret, Wolfgang, Obem See, Meierhof, Stilli, Bünda, Spina, Tschuggen, Dörfji, In den Büelen, Hof, Teufi, Gadmen, Am Rin, Dürrboden, Sertig Dörfli, Oberalp, Inneralp
Surrounded byArosa, Bergün/Bravuogn, Klosters-Serneus, Langwies, S-chanf, Susch
SFSO statistics

The municipality covers nearly the entire valley of the Landwasser, and the centre of population, economic activity, and administration is two adjacent villages: Davos Dorf (German: Davos Village) and Davos Platz (Davos Place), at 1,560 m (5,120 ft) above sea level.

Gaining prominence in the 19th century as a mountain health resort, Davos is perhaps best known today for hosting the World Economic Forum, an annual meeting of global political and corporate leaders. With a long history of winter sport, Davos also has one of Switzerland's largest ski resorts, and hosts the international Spengler Cup ice hockey tournament each December.

Name edit

Tavau is the Romansh name, and derives from Latin tubus, here used in the sense of ravine.[9]

History edit

Davos c. 1870. Etching by Heinrich Müller
Aerial view from 300 m by Walter Mittelholzer (1923)

The current settlement of the Davos area began in the High Middle Ages with the immigration of Rhaeto-Romans. The village of Davos is first mentioned in 1213 as Tavaus.[10] From about 1280 the barons of Vaz allowed German-speaking Walser colonists to settle and conceded them extensive self-administration rights.[11] In 1289 an agreement between the people of Davos and the baron of Vaz included that the Davoser citizens would not have to pay personal taxes, only the Government of Davos had to pay a yearly amount of goods to the baron of Vaz.[12] Davos became the largest Walser settlement area in eastern Switzerland. Natives still speak a dialect that is atypical for Graubünden, showing similarities with the German spoken in Raron in Canton Valais.[11] In 1338, with the death of the last Baron of Vaz, Davos came into possession of Frederick V, the Count of Toggenburg, who was the brother of the wife of the deceased baron.[13] Davos retained its right to elect its Landamman independently.[13]

In 1436, the League of the Ten Jurisdictions was founded in Davos.[13] In 1438, Davos received additional rights in an agreement in which the League of the Ten Jurisdictions and the rights received in the older treaty from 1289 were both acknowledged.[14] With this agreement, Davos was exempted from trade taxes in the territory of the Ten Jurisdictions and only obliged to provide men for military services within the territory of eight of the Ten Jurisdictions.[14] In 1443 Davos came under the control of the Counts of Montfort, under which Davos also retained its rights.[14] In 1450 an alliance between the League of the Ten Jurisdictions and the League of God's House was signed.[14] The Counts of Montfort reached a financial impasse and sold Davos to Duke Sigmund of Tyrol in 1466.[14] This lead Davos to search for support of the two other Raethian leagues and a treaty with the Grey League was reached in 1471.[15] As a result, Davos refused to follow the orders of the Austrian Empire.[15] Eventually a compromise was found, under which Davos would come under the control of the House of Matsch, but Austria kept a right to repurchase Davos.[15]

From the middle of the 19th century, Davos modeled on Görbersdorf (now Sokołowsko), became a popular destination for the sick and ailing because the microclimate in the high valley was deemed excellent by doctors (initiated by Alexander Spengler[16]) and recommended for lung disease patients. Robert Louis Stevenson, who suffered from tuberculosis, wintered in Davos in 1880 on the recommendation of his Edinburgh physician George Balfour. Arthur Conan Doyle wrote an article about skiing in Davos in 1899. A sanatorium in Davos is also the inspiration for the Berghof Sanitorium in Thomas Mann's novel Der Zauberberg (The Magic Mountain). Between 1936 and 1938, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, then at the end of his life and living in Davos since 1917, depicted Davos and the Junkerboden. His painting has a both Romantic and pantheistic atmosphere and simplified formal structure.

During the natural ice era of winter sports, Davos and the Davos Eisstadion were a mecca for speed skating. Many international championships were held here, and many world records were set, beginning with Peder Østlund who set four records in 1898. The only European Bandy Championship was held in the town in 1913.[17] Subsequently, Davos became a ski resort, especially frequented by tourists from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.[citation needed] After peaking in the 1970s and 1980s, the city settled down as a leading but less high-profile tourist attraction. The American Van Leer family immigrated from here with their former Valär surname. Today Valärs still live and are members of government.[18][19]

Geography edit

Topography edit

View of Davos from paraglider looking southwest
Davos from the air looking north with Schatzalp and Parsenn ski areas

The main village of Davos lies at the top of the narrow valley of the Landwasser at an altitude of 1,560 metres (5,120 ft), just below the Wolfgang Pass. Lake Davos is northeast of the village, formerly the source of the Landwasser.

The municipality of Davos (German: Gemeinde Davos) has an area (as of the 2004/09 survey) of 284 km2 (109.65 sq mi),[20] including most of the Landwasser valley and its side valleys.

Of this area, about 35.0% is used for agricultural purposes, while 22.2% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 2.3% is settled (buildings or roads) and 40.5% is unproductive land. In the 2004/09 survey a total of 337 ha (830 acres) or about 1.2% of the total area was covered with buildings, an increase of 61 ha (150 acres) over the 1985 amount. Over the same time period, the amount of recreational space in the municipality increased by 10 ha (25 acres) and is now about 0.22% of the total area. Of the agricultural land, 1,296 ha (3,200 acres) is fields and grasslands and 9,056 ha (22,380 acres) consists of alpine grazing areas. Since 1985 the amount of agricultural land has decreased by 736 ha (1,820 acres). Over the same time period the amount of forested land has increased by 481 ha (1,190 acres). Rivers and lakes cover 285 ha (700 acres) in the municipality.[21][22]

The Wolfgang Pass divides the waters flowing into the Landquart from the valley of the Landwasser, and has a year-round road and Rhaetian Railway connection. Crossing the pass leads to the village of Klosters and the Prättigau. Three long side valleys reach out to the south from the main valley of the Landwasser, one of which leads to the Flüela Pass and the Engadin beyond.

Political divisions edit

The municipality of Davos is divided completely into six Fraktionsgemeinden: Davos Dorf, Davos Platz, Davos Frauenkirch, Davos Glaris, Davos Monstein, and Davos Wiesen.[23] The names of the Fraktionsgemeinden correspond to their largest village within.

Smaller populated places in the municipality are: the village of Davos Clavadel, the hamlets of Laret, Wolfgang, Obem See, Meierhof, Stilli, Bünda, and Spina (in the main Landwasser valley), and Tschuggen, Dörfji, In den Büelen, Hof, Teufi, Gadmen, Am Rin, Dürrboden, Sertig Dörfli, Oberalp, Inneralp (in the side valleys).

Until 2017 the municipality was located in the Davos subdistrict of the Prättigau/Davos district; after 2017 it is part of the Prättigau/Davos Region.[24] In terms of area, it was the largest municipality in Switzerland in 2009 after a municipal merger with Wiesen. Davos lost this distinction after the formation of Glarus Süd in 2010, and today is the 4th largest in the canton of Graubünden.

Climate edit

Davos has a subalpine climate (Köppen Dfc) with an average of 125.3 days of precipitation per year and on average receives 1,046 mm (41.2 in) of precipitation.

The wettest month is August during which time Davos receives an average of 150 mm (5.9 in) of precipitation. During this month there is precipitation for an average of 13.6 days. The month with the most days of precipitation is July, with an average of 13.8, but with only 133 mm (5.2 in) of precipitation. The driest month of the year is February with an average of 52 mm (2.0 in) of precipitation over 7.9 days, of which 74 cm (29 in) in 11.1 days are snowfall.[25]

Climate data for Davos (1991–2020, 1594m a.s.l.)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 0.0
Daily mean °C (°F) −4.7
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −8.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 70
Average snowfall cm (inches) 89
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 8.8 7.9 8.9 9.0 12.0 13.7 13.8 13.6 10.0 8.7 9.1 9.8 125.3
Average snowy days (≥ 1.0 cm) 11.7 11.1 10.3 7.3 2.1 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.8 3.4 9.1 11.6 68.0
Average relative humidity (%) 76 73 71 69 71 73 74 76 77 75 77 78 74
Mean monthly sunshine hours 111 120 154 152 154 167 187 179 160 145 103 93 1,725
Percent possible sunshine 54 53 51 48 45 48 53 54 53 54 49 48 51
Source: MeteoSwiss[25]

Politics edit

Government edit

The Small Country Council (Kleiner Landrat) constitutes the executive government of the municipality of Davos and operates as a collegiate authority. It is composed of five councilors (German: Landrat/-rätin), each presiding over a department (Departement) comprising several bureaus. The president of the executive department acts as president of the municipality (Landammann or Gemeindepräsident). In the mandate period 2021–2024 (Legislatur) the Small Country Council is presided by Landammann Philipp Wilhelm. Departmental tasks, coordination measures and implementation of laws decreed by the Grand Country Council are carried by the Small Country Council. The regular election of the municipal councils by any inhabitant valid to vote is held every four years. Any resident of the municipality of Davos allowed to vote and being registered can be elected as a member of the Small Country Council for a maximal period of twelve years. The delegates are selected by means of a system of Majorz. The President is elected as such as well by a public election while the heads of the other departments are assigned by the collegiate. They usually meet once a week.[26]

As of 2021, Davos's Small Country Council is made up of two members of SP (Social Democratic Party), of whom one is the president), two FDP (FDP.The Liberals), and one Independent. The last regular elections (Landschaftswahlen) were held on 27 September and 29 November 2020.[27][28]

The Small Country Council (Kleiner Landrat) of Davos[26]
Country Councilor
Party Head of Department (Vorsteher, since) of Elected since
Philipp Wilhelm[KLR 1]   SP President's Office (Präsidialdepartement, 2021) 2020
Stefan Waiser[KLR 2]   SP Civil Engineering and Public Facilities (Departement Tiefbau + öffentliche Betriebe, 2017) 2012
Simi Valär   FDP Structural Engineering and Environmental Protection and Energy (Departement Hochbau + Umweltschutz + Energie, 2017) 2012
Iris Hoffmann-Stiffler   independent Education and Social Services (Departement Bildung + Soziales, 2021) 2020
Jürg Zürcher   FDP Health and Security (Departement Gesundheit + Sicherheit, 2021) 2020
  1. ^ President (Landammann or Gemeindepräsident)
  2. ^ Vice President (Statthalter or Gemeindevizepräsident)

Parliament edit

The Grosse Landrat of Davos for the mandate period of 2021–2024

  SP (17.6%)
  glp (11.8%)
  EVP (5.9%)
  Center (5.9%)
  FDP (35.3%)
  SVP (17.6%)
  independent (5.9%)

The Grand Country Council (Grosser Landrat) holds legislative power. It is made up of 17 members, with elections held every four years. The Grand Country Council decrees regulations and by-laws that are executed by the Small Country Council and the administration. The delegates are selected by means of a system of Majorz.

The sessions of the Grand Country Council are public. They usually meet ten times a year. Members of the Grand Country Council are not politicians by profession, and they are paid a fee based on their attendance. Any resident of Davos allowed to vote can be elected as a member of the Grand Country Council for a maximal period of twelve years.[29]

The last regular election of the Grand Country Council was held on 27 September 2020 for the mandate period (German: Legislatur) from January 2021 to December 2024. Currently the Grand Country Council consist of 6 (-1) Liberals (FDP/PLR), 3 (-1) Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC), 3 (+2) members of Social Democratic Party (SP/PS), 2 (+2) members of the Green Liberal Party (glp/pvl), and one each of the Center Party, Evangelical People's Party (EVP/PES), and one independent.[30]

Federal elections edit

National Council edit

In the 2019 federal election the most popular party was the SP with 21.3% of the votes. The next five parties were the SVP (20.0%), FDP (10.1%), CVP (6.8%), and the glp (6.8%). In the federal election, a total of 2'885 votes were cast, and the voter turnout was 41.8%.[31]

In the 2015 federal election the most popular party was the SVP with 30.0% of the votes. The next five parties were the FDP (20.4%), the BDP (15.8%), the SP (14.7%), the glp (12.1%), and CVP (5.2%). In the federal election, a total of 3,231 votes were cast, and the voter turnout was 46.7%.[32]

International relations edit

Sister and twin towns edit

None. Former relations have been cancelled since February 2010 by the council due to thorough austerity measures.

Demographics edit

Davos with the Vaillant Arena (center).

Population edit

Davos has a population (as of December 2020) of 10,832.[8] As of 2014, 27.0% of the population are resident foreign nationals. In 2015 7.3% of the population was born in Germany and 6.9% of the population was born in Portugal.[33] Over the last four years (2010–2014) the population has changed at a rate of -0.27%. The birth rate in the municipality, in 2014, was 9.1, while the death rate was 8.2 per thousand residents.[22]

Most of the population (as of 2000) speaks German (86.3%), with Serbo-Croatian being second most common (2.8%) and Italian being third (2.7%).[34]

As of 2014, children and teenagers (0–19 years old) make up 17.3% of the population, while adults (20–64 years old) are 64.5% and seniors (over 64 years old) make up 18.2%.[22] In 2015 there were 5,099 single residents, 4,666 people who were married or in a civil partnership, 550 widows or widowers and 794 divorced residents.[35]

In 2014 there were 5,441 private households in Davos with an average household size of 2.03 persons. Of the 2,133 inhabited buildings in the municipality, in 2000, about 30.7% were single family homes and 39.1% were multiple family buildings. Additionally, about 25.9% of the buildings were built before 1919, while 8.3% were built between 1991 and 2000.[36] In 2013 the rate of construction of new housing units per 1000 residents was 23.46. The vacancy rate for the municipality, in 2015, was 0.71%.[22]

Historic population edit

The historic population is given in the following chart:[37][38]

Education edit

In Davos about 74% of the population (ages 25–64) have completed either nonmandatory upper secondary education or additional higher education (either a university or a Fachhochschule).[34]

Economy edit

Davos is a tourist community and a regional center.[39]

As of  2014, there were a total of 8,853 people employed in the municipality. Of these, a total of 203 people worked in 80 businesses in the primary economic sector. The secondary sector employed 996 workers in 145 separate businesses. Finally, the tertiary sector provided 7,654 jobs in 926 businesses. In 2014 a total of 5,211 employees worked in 908 small companies (less than 50 employees). There were 17 mid sized businesses with 2,074 employees and 1 large business which employed 369 people.[40] In 2014 a total of 23.5% of the population received social assistance.[22]

In 2015 local hotels had a total of 797,348 overnight stays, of which 46.9% were international visitors.[41]

Religion edit

From the 2000 census, 5,321 residents (46.6% of the population) belonged to the Swiss Reformed Church while 3,950 residents (34.6%) are Roman Catholic. Of the rest of the population, there were 10 individuals (or about 0.09% of the population) who belong to the Christian Catholic faith, 439 individuals (3.85% of the population) who belonged to the Orthodox Church, 274 (2.40%) who belonged to another Christian church, 79 (0.69%) who were Muslim, 56 (0.49%) who belonged to another faith (not listed), and eight residents (0.07%) were Jewish. In addition, 832 residents (7.29%) belonged to no faith, were agnostic or atheist, and 448 individuals (3.92%) did not answer the question.[42]

Sports edit

The ice stadium, including the largest natural ice skating field in Europe
Park on the Promenade

Davos's ice hockey team, HC Davos, plays in the National League (NL). Their home arena is the Vaillant Arena. In December of each year, the team and arena host the Spengler Cup, an international tournament first held in 1923.

Besides cross-country skiing, offering some 97 km (60 mi) of pistes, Davos has the largest natural ice skating field in Europe. Bandy is occasionally played there.[43] An international tournament, starting in 2014, has been organised.[44][45] The 1913 European Bandy Championships in Davos is so far the only one of its kind.

There are six main ski areas in winter, with a total of 320 kilometres (200 mi) of slopes:

  • Parsenn / Gotschna which connects to the partner town of Klosters from Davos Dorf
  • Jakobshorn which can be reached from Davos Platz directly
  • Pischahorn which can be reached by frequently running buses into Flüela valley
  • Rinerhorn to start from Davos Glaris
  • Madrisahorn located in neighbouring Klosters
  • Schatzalp is privately owned by the Schatzalp Hotel and a specialty as a "decelerated" skiing area

All areas offer summer transport as well on to the main peaks from mid May until end of October. The remote side valleys heading towards the Engadine area are worth long hikes towards the passes of Sertig or Scaletta Pass to reach, for example, Piz Kesch, an Ultra prominent peak. To the north there are no valleys but rather a direct one-day ascent to continue across a pass into the "Schanfigg" valley towards the rival resort of Arosa or even to continue to Lenzerheide in a two-day hike.[46]

Culture edit

The Kirchner Museum

Davos is home to seven sites that are listed as Swiss heritage sites of national significance.

These heritage sites include the Town Archives, the Kirchner Museum,[47] the Grosses Jenatschhaus (a type of charity house known as a Pfrundhaus) and the Forest Cemetery (Waldfriedhof). Several hotels and spas are also included on the list. The three hotels or former hotels are: Berghotel Schatzalp, the former Grand Hotel Belvédère, and the Zürcher Höhenklinik von R. Gaberel.[48]

Davos hosts annual meetings of the World Economic Forum. The city was featured in an episode of Viva La Bam, when cities around Europe were visited. On 14 March 2003, a festival called Winterjam was held in the city and bands such as Sum 41, Crazy Town, and Guano Apes performed during this event.[49]

Transport edit

Davos is part of the rail network of the Rhaetian Railway (RhB). The RhB has two main stations in Davos: Davos Dorf (northeast) and Davos Platz (southwest). Other stations in the municipality include Davos Wolfgang and Davos Laret towards Klosters, and Davos Frauenkirch, Davos Glaris, Davos Monstein, and Davos Wiesen towards Filisur.

The valley station Davos Dorf (Parsennbahn) of the funicular Parsennbahn to Weissfluhjoch (Parsenn) is in Davos Dorf, the station Davos Platz Schatzalpbahn of Schatzalp-Bahn in Davos Platz. Also in Davos Platz are the bottom stations of the cable car to the Jakobshorn, the station Davos Platz DKB (right next to the corresponding railway station), but also the one of the chair lift to Usser Isch, namely the Davos Platz (Talstation Carjöl).

The bottom station of the lift to Rinerhorn is right next to RhB station Davos Glaris. The one (Dörfji) of the Pischa area in the side valley of the Flüela, reachable by bus.

Local buses are operated by Verkehrsbetrieb der Landschaft Davos Gemeinde (vbd).

Research edit

Davos has several research institutes: the AO Foundation focusing on trauma and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, the Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research (SIAF), the World Radiation Center (PMOD/WRC) and the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL).

Notable people edit

Sophie Taeuber-Arp, 1903
Ursula Wyss, 2018
Carl Rüedi, ca.1885
Carmen Schäfer (right), 2010
Andres Ambühl, 2012

The arts edit

Politics, public service and business edit

Science, medicine & TB patients edit

Sport edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b Error: Unable to display the reference properly. See the documentation for details.
  2. ^ "Ständige Wohnbevölkerung nach Staatsangehörigkeitskategorie Geschlecht und Gemeinde; Provisorische Jahresergebnisse; 2018". Federal Statistical Office. 9 April 2019. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Davos". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Davos". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 29 July 2020.
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  7. ^ Eva-Maria Krech; Eberhard Stock; Ursula Hirschfeld; Christian Anders Lutz, eds. (2009). Deutsches Aussprachewörterbuch (in German). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. p. 432. ISBN 978-3-11-018202-6.
  8. ^ a b "Ständige und nichtständige Wohnbevölkerung nach institutionellen Gliederungen, Geburtsort und Staatsangehörigkeit". bfs.admin.ch (in German). Swiss Federal Statistical Office - STAT-TAB. 31 December 2020. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  9. ^ Rätisches Namenbuch. Band 2: Etymologien. 2., unveränderte Auflage. Francke, Bern 1985, S. 673; hiernach auch Andres Kristols Lexikon der schweizerischen Gemeindenamen.
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  11. ^ a b Pfister, Max (1989). Jahrhundertealter Davoser Kampf um Freiheit (in German). Davos: Verlag Buchdruckerei Davos. pp. 13–14.
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  44. ^ Česká Asociace Bandy (24 February 2014). "Bandy Davos 2014 (Czech republic vs. Netherlands)". Archived from the original on 14 November 2021 – via YouTube.
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