Toggenburg is a region of Switzerland. It corresponds to the upper valley of the river Thur[1] and that of its main tributary, the Necker. Since 1 January 2003, Toggenburg has been a constituency (Wahlkreis) of the canton of St. Gallen (SFOS number 1727).

Wahlkreis Toggenburg
constituency, geographical region
Coordinates: 47°17′58″N 9°5′13″E / 47.29944°N 9.08694°E / 47.29944; 9.08694Coordinates: 47°17′58″N 9°5′13″E / 47.29944°N 9.08694°E / 47.29944; 9.08694
Country  Switzerland
Canton St. Gallen
 • Total488.75 km2 (188.71 sq mi)
 (December 2019)
 • Total46,546
 • Density95/km2 (250/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
View of the Thur and the church of Stein, facing north, with the Churfirsten visible in the backdrop.
Streusiedlung at the eastern end of the Toggenburg
Map of the historical territories of the Canton of St. Gallen. The former county of Toggenburg is shown in pink.
The Churfirsten (view from Alpstein with Toggenburg below)


The valley descends in a northwestern direction from the watershed between the Rhine and the Thur, and is enclosed on the northeast by the chain of the Säntis (8,216 ft [2,504 m]) and on the southwest by that of the Churfirsten (7,566 ft [2,306 m]) and of the Speer (6,411 ft [1,954 m]). It is a fertile valley of about 45 kilometres (28 mi) in length from the source of the river to Wil.[1]

At Wildhaus, the highest village (3,632 ft [1,107 m]), the house wherein Huldrych Zwingli, the Swiss Reformer, was born in 1484, is still shown.[1] Other villages are Lichtensteig, Kirchberg and Wattwil.


There are traces of the paleolithic Mousterian Industry throughout the Appenzell Alps, in the Toggenburg notably in Wildenmannlisloch cave.

The upper Thur valley was part of the province of Raetia in the Roman era, and was reached by Alemannic-speaking settlers only in the early medieval period. This is evidenced by a substantial substrate of Romance toponyms in the upper Toggenburg (upstream of Stein).[2]

The name of the region is derived from that of the House of Toggenburg (named for their castle near Kirchberg) who ruled over parts of the Toggenburg region since the 12th century, in the 13th century taking the title of counts (comes) and extending their domain to include all of the upper Thur valley. The extinction of the main line of the counts of Toggenburg (1436)[1] led to the Old Zürich War (1440–46) ultimately resulting in the temporary expulsion of Zürich from the Swiss confederacy. Eventually, the Toggenburg passed to the lord of Raron (in Valais), who sold it to the abbot of St. Gall in 1468.[1]

Part of the Toggenburg followed the Swiss Reformation led by Zwingli, and the valley declared itself independent in 1530, but was forced to re-submit to the Abbot of St. Gall in 1538. The Abbot was, however, pressured into toleration of either confession, so that the Toggenburg became one of the few regions of Switzerland where Catholicism and Protestantism have a tradition of co-existence.

In 1707, the Toggenburg again declared its independence of St. Gall, in reaction to the Abbey's plans to build a road across the Ricken Pass, which was seen as a strategic arrangement towards a Catholic military alliance. The ensuing Toggenburg war of 1712 resulted in a balance of power between Catholic and Protestant cantons, ultimately leading to the formation of Switzerland as a federal state.

In the Helvetic Republic, the Toggenburg was divided between the cantons of Säntis and Linth. The parts were re-united as part of the canton of St. Gallen in 1803.

Schüblig, a type of sausage is a tradition in the area.


The Toggenburg Wahlkreis has a population of 46,546 (as of 31 December 2019).[3] Of the foreign population, (as of 2000), 584 are from Germany, 952 are from Italy, 3,124 are from ex-Yugoslavia, 167 are from Austria, 1,137 are from Turkey, and 1,123 are from another country.[4] Of the Swiss national languages (as of 2000), 41,718 speak German, 107 people speak French, 673 people speak Italian, and 47 people speak Romansh.[5]

The age distribution, as of 2000, is; 6,296 children or 13.7% of the population are between 0 and 9 years old and 7,444 teenagers or 16.2% are between 10 and 19. Of the adult population, 5,046 people or 11.0% of the population are between 20 and 29 years old. 6,784 people or 14.8% are between 30 and 39, 6,390 people or 13.9% are between 40 and 49, and 4,926 people or 10.7% are between 50 and 59. The senior population distribution is 3,773 people or 8.2% of the population are between 60 and 69 years old, 3,269 people or 7.1% are between 70 and 79, there are 1,652 people or 3.6% who are between 80 and 89, and there are 326 people or 0.7% who are between 90 and 99, and 1 person who is 100 or more.[5]

In 2000 there were 4,967 persons (or 10.8% of the population) who were living alone in a private dwelling. There were 8,910 (or 19.4%) persons who were part of a couple (married or otherwise committed) without children, and 27,097 (or 59.0%) who were part of a couple with children. There were 2,202 (or 4.8%) people who lived in single parent home, while there are 318 persons who were adult children living with one or both parents, 165 persons who lived in a household made up of relatives, 198 people who lived in a household made up of unrelated persons, and 2,050 who are either institutionalized or lived in another type of collective housing.[5]

Out of the total population in the region, as of 2000, the highest education level completed by 11,393 people (24.8% of the population) was Primary, while 15,123 (32.9%) have completed Secondary, 3,627 (7.9%) have attended a Tertiary school, and 2,291 (5.0%) are not in school. The remainder did not answer this question.[5]

As of October 2009 the average unemployment rate was 2.9%.[6]

From the 2000 census, 21,238 or 46.3% are Roman Catholic, while 15,930 or 34.7% belonged to the Swiss Reformed Church. Of the rest of the population, there are 29 individuals (or about 0.06% of the population) who belong to the Christian Catholic faith, there are 939 individuals (or about 2.05% of the population) who belong to the Orthodox Church, and there are 1,033 individuals (or about 2.25% of the population) who belong to another Christian church. There are 11 individuals (or about 0.02% of the population) who are Jewish, and 2,889 (or about 6.29% of the population) who are Islamic. There are 245 individuals (or about 0.53% of the population) who belong to another church (not listed on the census), 2,183 (or about 4.76% of the population) belong to no church, are agnostic or atheist, and 1,410 individuals (or about 3.07% of the population) did not answer the question.[5]


Since 1 January 2013, the Toggenburg district has consisted of twelve municipalities:

of arms
Municipality Population
(31 December 2019)[3]
in km²
in m
SFOS number
Bütschwil-Ganterschwil 4,987 21.83 610 3395
  Ebnat-Kappel 5,001 43.57 630 3352
  Hemberg 902 20.15 935 3372
  Kirchberg 9,100 42.59 735 3392
  Lichtensteig 1,896 2.82 625 3374
  Lütisburg 1,606 14.09 580 3393
  Mosnang 2,847 50.46 735 3394
  Neckertal 4,044 49.03 660 3378
  Nesslau 3,545 92.7 759 3360
  Oberhelfenschwil 1,251 12.68 805 3375
  Wattwil 8,761 51.18 610 3379
  Wildhaus-Alt St. Johann 2,606 87.53 895 3357
Toggenburg 46,546 488.75 1727

Mergers and name changesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCoolidge, William Augustus Brevoort (1911). "Toggenburg, The". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 26 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 1045–1046.
  2. ^ Wilhelm Götzinger, Die romanischen Ortsnamen des Kantons St. Gallen (1891).
  3. ^ a b "Ständige und nichtständige Wohnbevölkerung nach institutionellen Gliederungen, Geburtsort und Staatsangehörigkeit". (in German). Swiss Federal Statistical Office - STAT-TAB. 31 December 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  4. ^ Der Kanton St. Gallen und seine Menschen in Zahlen - Ausgabe 2009 (in German) accessed 30 December 2009
  5. ^ a b c d e Canton St. Gallen Statistics-Hauptergebnisse der Volkszählung 2000: Regionen- und Gemeindevergleich-Personen Archived 2010-09-09 at the Wayback Machine (in German) accessed 30 December 2009
  6. ^ St Gallen Canton statistics-Unemployment (in German) accessed 30 December 2009
  7. ^ Amtliches Gemeindeverzeichnis der Schweiz published by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (in German)

External linksEdit