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Elisabeth Burtscher liebt ihre Heimat, das Große Walsertal (c) Darco Todorovic
People of pleasure

Elisabeth Burtscher

The former headmistress from Fontanella cultivates the Walser language

“Grüaß Gott i der Schtuba” is how Elisabeth Burtscher welcomes her guests in her local dialect. Satisfied, she sits on the patio of her cosy house high above the town of Fontanella, afforded a wide view of the Großes Walsertal, surrounded by her family. She currently has visitors from Australia. “I consider myself a ‘ Walser’ native,” says the lively old lady, a retired headmistress, “like so many others here, irrespective of how much Walser blood flows in your veins.”

Around 700 years ago, people moved here from Canton Valais in Switzerland, usually for economic reasons, on the search for new agricultural land, and became ‘Walsers’. Their main distinguishing characteristic is still their language which, as Elisabeth Burtscher says, “is so far removed from High German that you cannot mix the two.” The Walser dialect and other traditions are lovingly maintained in the region.

I consider myself a ‘Walser’ native, like so many others here, irrespective of how much Walser blood flows in your veins.

Elisabeth Burtscher
Elisabeth Burtscher speaks about “Walser-ness” in the video

  • Her enjoyment tip:
    You really must attend the Walser Herbst – a festival held over three weeks in the late summer every two years. Thanks to its frequently bizarre film, music and theatre projects, it is known as the most offbeat festival in the middle of the mountains.

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The region

Alpenregion Bludenz

Brandnertal, Alpenstadt Bludenz, Klostertal, Grosses Walsertal. Valleys branch out in the shape of a star from the centre of Alpenstadt Bludenz: the Brandnertal, the Klostertal and the Grosses Walsertal Biosphere Park. In both summer and winter, entertaining and informative offers and programmes inspire families to spend time together in the great outdoors.

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