Winterthur (/ˈvɪntərtʊər/, German pronunciation:
[ˈvɪntɐtuːɐ̯]; French: Winterthour) is a city in the canton of
Zürich in northern Switzerland. It has the country's sixth-largest
population, estimated at over 108,000 people, and the ninth largest
agglomeration with about 138,000 inhabitants. Today
Winterthur is a
service and high-tech industry centre, but many people make use of its
proximity to Zürich, which lies approximately 30 kilometres
(19 mi) to the south-west, and only 22 minutes by train.
The official language of
Winterthur is (the Swiss variety of Standard)
German, but the main spoken language is the local variant of the
Alemannic Swiss German dialect. In the local dialect and by its
Winterthur is usually abbreviated as Winti.
Winterthur is connected to
Germany by direct trains and enjoys links
Zürich Airport. It is also a regional transport hub: the A1
Geneva through to
St. Margrethen connects in Winterthur
with the A4 motorway heading north toward
Schaffhausen and the A7
motorway heading close to the Swiss-German border at Kreuzlingen.
There are also roads leading to other places such as Turbenthal. The
Bahnhof Winterthur is one of the busiest railway
stations in Switzerland.
8.2.1 Open Doors
10 International relations
10.1 Twin towns – sister cities
12 Notable people
13 Sons and daughters of the town
13.2 1851 to 1900
13.3 Born from 1901 to 1950
15 External links
Vitudurum was a vicus in what is now
Oberwinterthur during the Roman
era (1st century BC to 3rd century AD), fortified into a castrum at
the end of the 3rd century, apparently in reaction to the incipient
An Alamannic settlement was present at the site in the 7th century. In
a battle near
Winterthur in 919, Burchard II of Swabia asserted his
control over the Thurgau within the
Duchy of Swabia
Duchy of Swabia against the claims
of Rudolph II of Burgundy.
The counts of Winterthur, a cadet branch of the counts of Bregenz,
Kyburg castle in the 10th century. With the extinction of the
Winterthur in 1053, the castle passed to the counts of
Winterthur as a city (presumably on the site of a
pre-existing village) was founded by Hartmann III of Dillingen in
1180, shortly before his death in the same year. From 1180 to 1263,
Winterthur was ruled by the cadet line of the House of Kyburg.
When the counts of Kyburg were in turn extinct in the male line in
Winterthur passed to the House of Habsburg, who established a
comital line of Neu-Kyburg in 1264 and granted city rights to
Winterthur in the same year. From 1415 until 1442
reichsfrei or subject only to the Holy Roman Emperor. However, in the
Old Zürich War
Old Zürich War they lost this freedom and came back under the control
of the Austrian Habsburgs. Needing money, in 1467, the Habsburgs sold
Winterthur to the city of Zürich.
Winterthur in 1642
In the time under the leadership of Zürich, Winterthur's economic
freedom was restricted. It lost many of their market rights and the
right to trade in some goods. This ended in 1798, when Napoleonic
troops liberated the town. On 27 May 1799, it was the site of the
Winterthur between elements of the French Army of the Danube
and the elements of the Habsburg army, commanded by Friedrich, Baron
von Hotze during the War of the Second Coalition, in the French
Revolutionary Wars. Because
Winterthur lies near
Zürich and at the
junction of seven cross-roads; the army that held the town held the
access to most of
Switzerland and points crossing the
southern Germany. Although the forces involved were small, the ability
of the Austrians to sustain an 11-hour assault against the French
line, on the plateau north of Zürich, resulted in the consolidation
of three Austrian forces. This led to the French defeat a few days
Early-1850's bird's-eye view.
In the 19th century,
Winterthur became an industrial town when
companies, like Sulzer,
Rieter and SLM, built large industrial plants.
Winterthur suffered severely from its investments in and guarantee of
loans to the National Railway of
Switzerland (a private enterprise).
Winterthur had to sell its shares in the line, and from 1881
to 1885 it was in great difficulties in the matter of a loan of nine
million francs guaranteed in 1874 by the town, together with three
others in Aargau, to the enterprise. As the three co-guarantor towns
were unable to pay their share, the whole burden fell on Winterthur,
which struggled to meet its liabilities, and was helped by large loans
from the cantonal and federal governments.
The Great Depression, in the 1930s, hit
Winterthur extremely hard. 60%
of the total employees in town worked in the machine industry. Jobs
became extremely hard to find. However, with the outbreak of World War
II, industry grew again in the city.
Winterthur reached 100,000 inhabitants in the city.
May 2011 aerial view of Winterthur
Winterthur is located at an elevation of 439 meters (1,440 ft).
The city is located in a basin south and east of the
Töss river. The
Eulach, a little river, flows in the middle by the city, because of
this the town is called "Eulach-City".
Zürich lies about 30 km
(19 mi) southwest of Winterthur.
Winterthur has an area of 68.1 km2 (26.3 sq mi). Of
this area, 27% is used for agricultural purposes, while 41.4% is
forested. Of the rest of the land, 30.8% is settled (buildings or
roads) and the remainder (0.8%) is non-productive (rivers, glaciers or
mountains). In 1996[update] housing and buildings made up 21.9% of
the total area, while transportation infrastructure made up the rest
(9%). Of the total unproductive area, water (streams and lakes)
made up 0.6% of the area. As of 2007[update], 27.6% of the total
municipal area was undergoing some type of construction.
Significant minority groups
As of July 2008[update] the population of
100,000. More recently (as of 31 December 2016) the population was
109,775. As of 2007[update] 23.6% of the population was made up of
foreign nationals. As of 2008[update] the gender distribution of
the population was 48.6% male and 51.4% female. Over the last 10 years
the population has grown at a rate of 10.4%. Most of the population
(as of 2000[update]) speaks German (83.0%), with Italian being second
most common (4.9%) and Albanian being third (2.0%).
The age distribution of the population (as of 2000[update]) is
children and teenagers (0–19 years old) make up 20.9% of the
population, while adults (20–64 years old) make up 62.6% and seniors
(over 64 years old) make up 16.5%. There are 42028 households in
As of 2008[update] there were 26,995 Catholics (26.7% of the
population) and 37,327
Swiss Reformed Church
Swiss Reformed Church members in Winterthur. Of
the other Christian faiths, 326 (0.3%) were Lutheran, 203 (0.2%) were
Christian Catholic, 3141 (3.1%) are some type of Christian Orthodox
and 3,132 (3.1%) are another Christian faith. Of the rest of the
population, 11,608 (11.5%) were Muslim, 108 (0.1%) were Jewish, 1,359
(1.3%) belonged to another non-Christian faith and 16,779 (16.6%) were
atheist or agnostic or did not belong to any organized faith.
City hall, designed by architect Gottfried Semper
The "Stadtrat", the local executive council, has 7 members, elected by
the citizens of
Winterthur every four years. In the 2014–2018
Stadtrat, there are two Social Democratic Party (SP) members, two from
the FDP, and one each from the Greens, the
Swiss People's Party
Swiss People's Party (SVP)
and the CVP.
The legislative, "Grosser Gemeinderat" (large community council), has
sixty members. In the 2014 elections, eleven parties made it into the
council, with the SP (15 seats) and SVP (13 seats) forming the two
In the 2011, federal election the most popular party was the SP which
received 22.5% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were
the SVP (21.8%), the Green Liberals (11.1%) and the Green Party
Street in the old town
Winterthur was one of the homes of Switzerland's rail
industry and an industrial centre. The rail industry and other heavy
industry have largely disappeared. Amongst the most significant
companies was Sulzer Brothers, today's Sulzer Ltd., Sulzer AG,
commonly abbreviated to Sulzer. Textile production declined even
earlier on. Also the
Rieter company comes from Winterthur.
Switzerland's largest bank, and one of the world's large banks, Union
Switzerland (UBS), since 1998 UBS AG, was also founded in
Landbote newspaper is situated in Winterthur, and also serves as
Winterthurer Stadtanzeiger, the official publication organ of the city
Peraves, the manufacturer of the fully enclosed "cabin motorcycle"
named the Monotracer, predated by an earlier model named the
Ecomobile, has been manufacturing the unusual vehicles since the early
1980s. In 2010, Peraves won the Progressive Insurance Automotive
X-Prize with an electric powered version of the Monotracer.
Among other commercial organizations,
Winterthur was home to
Switzerland's largest insurance business "
Winterthur Insurance". Until
2006, the company was the largest in
Switzerland and was in Europe's
top 10. On 1 January 2007 the
Winterthur company was officially
acquired by the French
AXA group and is now known as
Winterthur has an unemployment rate of 3.13%. As of 2005[update],
there were 594 people employed in the primary economic sector and
about 97 businesses involved in this sector; 11603 people are employed
in the secondary sector and there are 717 businesses in this sector;
39982 people are employed in the tertiary sector, with 3570 businesses
in this sector. As of 2007[update] 47.9% of the working population
were employed full-time, and 52.1% were employed part-time. Note
Switzerland "part-time" refers to anything less than
full-time, for example 80% of working hours.
In Winterthur, about 70.7% of the population (between ages 25 and 64)
have completed either non-mandatory upper secondary education or
additional higher education (either university or a
The town is renowned for its institute of higher education Technikum,
which is the largest school of technology in Switzerland. The
institute has recently teamed up with schools from
Zürich and is now
Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften
Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften (ZHAW).
The headquarters of the Club Of Rome are located in Winterthur.
SIS Swiss International School
SIS Swiss International School maintains a campus in Winterthur.
International School Winterthur, formerly located in Winterthur,
closed in 2015.
Main article: Bahnhof Winterthur
Bahnhof Winterthur, the central station, is one of the busiest
stations on the Swiss Railway Network with 122,000 passengers a day.
As the town is close to Zürich, it is served by many trains on the
Zürich S-Bahn network.
EuroCity services to
Munich and regional
trains to St. Gallen,
Romanshorn also serve the station.
As well as the Hauptbahnhof, there are nine more stations within the
city, called Oberwinterthur, Seen, Grüze, Töss, Hegi, Reutlingen,
Wülflingen, Wallrüti and Sennhof-Kyburg.
The local public transport is run by STADTBUS
Winterthur with twelve
town bus lines, including the
Winterthur trolleybus system, and five
regional bus lines.
Winterthur's chamber orchestra
Orchester Musikkollegium Winterthur is
the oldest orchestra in Switzerland, and also plays at the Zürich
Opera. Between 1922 and 1950, the philanthropist
Werner Reinhart and
Hermann Scherchen played a leading role in shaping the
musical life of Winterthur, with numerous premiere performances
emphasizing contemporary music.
The city hall Stadthaus, in which the concerts of the Musikkollegium
take place, was built by Gottfried Semper.
Musikfestwochen, in late August and early September, sees
Winterthur’s Old Town taken over for live music of all kinds, in the
street and bars as well as in concert venues.
The city church of Winterthur, a local landmark
The "Albanifest", the largest annual festival in a historic town in
Switzerland, is named after St Alban, one of the city's four saints,
is held here, over three days in late June every year. Although a
recent creation, the festival celebrates the granting of a charter to
the town in 1264 by Rudolf of Habsburg on 22 June of that year, which
happened to be the saint's day.
The church of St. Laurenz in the city centre dates from 1264, the town
hall was built in 1781, the assembly hall in 1865.
Winterthur received the
Wakker Prize for the development and
preservation of its architectural heritage.
The Swiss folk metal band
Eluveitie was formed in
Winterthur and the
Punkabilly band The Peacocks comes from here.
Open Doors is an artist supported platform for artists with art
studios in Winterthur, Switzerland. The platform was established to
bridge arts and the community as well as provide the artists with
means to independently promote their art in any way they choose. Open
Doors takes place annually during the last weekend of September.
Participating artists open their studios to the public and present
their art to the public. Oftentimes it is possible to view the artists
while they are working. Among the approximate 60 artists who
participate there are local, international, autodidacts and art
academy graduates. Open Doors
Winterthur was founded in 2008 by San
Francisco born artist Michelle Bird and resident of Winterthur. Open
Winterthur publishes the annual MAP Magazine Artist
Professionals which is available on line and in print form. MAP
Magazine features articles about local art initiatives and profiles
local artists and their art studios. The event is supported by a map
that indicates the location of each artist’s studio on a map.
Winterthur is the city's main hockey team which currently plays in
Swiss League (SL), the second-highest ice hockey league in
Switzerland. Their arena is the 3,000-seat Deutweg Arena.
FC Winterthur are the city's football club and currently play in the
Swiss Challenge League. They play at the Stadion Schützenwiese.
In April 2011, the
2011 IIHF Women's World Championship
2011 IIHF Women's World Championship top division
were held at Deutweg rink and at
Hallenstadion ice rink hockey arena
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Switzerland
Twin towns – sister cities
Winterthur is twinned with:
La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
Pilsen, Czech Republic
Hall in Tirol, Austria
The community of
Winterthur in Delaware, USA, is named after the city.
Winterthur is not high on the list of tourist destinations in
Switzerland. As a result, it does not offer a wide range of hotels to
choose from. As it is relatively easy to reach from
Zürich by public
transport, tourists who do visit Winterthur, often stay in Zürich.
Winterthur is mentioned in most tourist guides for its
numerous museums, many of which offer world class art, among them of
the Gottfried Keller Stiftung. The most famous are:
Oskar Reinhart Collection 'Am Römerholz'
Oskar Reinhart Collection am Stadtgarten
Swiss Science Center Technorama
Winterthur Museum of Art
Henrik Haggenmacher (1827–1917), Swiss-born Hungarian industrialist,
business magnate, philanthropist and investor
Marlies Bänziger (born 1960), Swiss politician
Willy Bretscher (1897–1992), newspaper writer and editor
Martin Buser (born 1958), Swiss dog musher, 4-time Iditarod champion
Chantal Galladé (born 1972), Swiss politician
Viktor Giacobbo (born 1952), Swiss writer, comedian and actor
Mirco Müller (born 1995), Swiss ice hockey player, currently playing
for the New Jersey Devils
Sigmund Widmer (1919–2003), Swiss politician, historian and writer,
Joan Gamper (1877–1930), Swiss football pioneer, versatile athlete
and club president.
Sons and daughters of the town
Jonas Furrer 1850
Jonas Furrer (1805–1861), politician, first Federal President of
David Eduard Steiner
David Eduard Steiner (1811–1860), painter, eraser and lithographer
Konrad Grob (1828–1904), lithographer and painter
1851 to 1900
Charles Eugene Lancelot Brown
Charles Eugene Lancelot Brown around 1900
Charles E. L. Brown (1863–1924), machine designer, co-founder
(Brown, Boveri & Cie)
Heinrich Wölfflin (1864–1945), art historian
Alfred Ernst (1875–1968), botanist
Hans Gamper (1877–1930), sportsman and founder of FC Barcelona
Ernst Wetter (1877–1963), politician
Alfred Büchi (1879–1959), inventor of the exhaust gas turbocharger
Albert Thellung (1881–1928), botanist
Werner Reinhart (1884–1951), industrialist and patron
Oskar Reinhart (1885–1965), art collectors and patrons
Emil Brunner (1889–1966), a reformed theologian
Jakob Flach (1894–1982), writer, puppeteer and painter
Willy Bretscher (1897–1992), journalist
Born from 1901 to 1950
Georges Miez (1904–1999), gymnast
Willy Hess (composer) (1906–1997), musicologist and composer
Albert Büchi (1907–1988), cyclist
Max Bill (1908–1994), architect, artist and designer
Warja Lavater (1913–2007), graphic artist and illustrator
Werner Weber (1919–2005), literary critic, writer and translator
Rudolf Friedrich (1923–2013), lawyer and politician
Walter Gross (1924–1999), lyric poet
Peter Frei (1925–2010), ancient historian
Georg Gerster (born 1928), journalist, pioneer of flight photography
Bruno Hunziker (1930–2000), politician, parliamentarian and economic
Richard R. Ernst (born 1933), chemist (Nobel Prize Laureate 1991)
Ursula Bagdasarjanz (born 1934), violinist
Hannes Keller (born 1934), computer pioneer, entrepreneur, diving
pioneer and amateur pianist
Niklaus Wirth (born 1934), computer scientist
Oscar Fritschi (1939–2016), politician
Michael Gempart (born 1941), actor
Markus Imhoof (born 1941), film director and screenwriter
Hans-Ulrich Brunner (1943–2006), painter
Beat Raaflaub (born 1946), conductor
Jürg Amann (1947–2013), writer
^ Arealstatistik Standard - Gemeindedaten nach 4 Hauptbereichen
^ a b Swiss Federal Statistical Office - STAT-TAB, online database –
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Straßburg, Hagenau, Molsheim, Colmar, Annweiler, Winterthur, Landshut
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Breslau 1851, S. 129–147, online (in German)
^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Winterthur". Encyclopædia
Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
^ a b c d Swiss Federal Statistical Office Retrieved 14 Aug 2009
^ a b c d Statistics
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^ Federal Statistical Office – Ständige und nichtständige
Wohnbevölkerung nach institutionellen Gliederungen, Geburtsort und
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^ Neue Zürcher Zeitung 4 July 2008 edition (in German) Retrieved 14
^ a b
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^ a b Official Webpage of
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Winterthur.
Official Webpage of Winterthur
Official Webpage Economic Development Region of Winterthur
Homepage of Winterthur's city Orchestra
Official Webpage Open Doors
Municipalities in the district of Winterthur, Switzerland
Ellikon an der Thur
Canton of Zürich
Districts of Canton Zürich
Municipalities of the canton of Zurich
Switzerland by population
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