Ballenberg — Swiss Open-Air Museum

Hofstetten (BE)
© ballenberg, swiss open-air museum

Take a walk through the past in this open-air museum and visit more than 100 century-old buildings from all over Switzerland, including farmhouses, craftsmens’ houses, day labourers’ houses, and numerous outbuildings, such as barns, granaries, earth cellars, bakehouses, and drying kilns. Kids will enjoy the 200 farmyard animals, which include hens, ducks, geese, rabbits, goats, sheep, pigs, cattle, and oxen. There are traditional old-time gardens and fields, as well as daily demonstrations of local crafts, such as bread baking, needle work, wood-carving, hat-making, cheese-making, bobbin-lace making, basket weaving, oil pressing, silk ribbon weaving, sawmill, saddlery, shingle-making, forging, chocolate production, hand-knitted lacework, pottery, weaving, and barrel making… over 30 different crafts in all. Other special events help create a vivid impression of what rural life must have been like over a century ago. Many of the buildings house themed exhibits dedicated to aspects of historical rural life, from silk production, traditional costumes, folk music, and information on historical agriculture, to the importance of forests, mules, bee-keeping, birthing, marriage, and death. They also have special children’s exhibits, including the “My Forest” and “Who wears the trousers?,” an exhibit about “Schwingen,” the traditional Swiss form of wrestling.

To complete your day, they have five restaurants and snack bars on site, as well as several stores. There are also daily horse-drawn carriage rides.

To learn more about the Swiss Open-Air Museum Ballenberg, visit their website to learn about the numerous special activities and festivals that they hold throughout the season. This year, they will be open from April 11 to October 27, from 10:00-17:00 daily (ticket office opens at 9:00).

The museum is located between the municipalities of Hofstetten and Brienzwiler in the beautiful Berner Oberland, only 1¾-hour from Basel (Museumsstrasse 100, 3858 Hofstetten bei Brienz). It is a great way to spend a whole day touching, learning, and exploring.