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Cultural landscape

Traditional gardening and landscape management is a cultural heritage of the first rank in Switzerland. It is the result of centuries of human involvement with the climate, the soils and the flora and fauna. This knowledge, which was once essential for survival, must be actively cultivated, maintained and communicated today.

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Der Kornspeicher aus Ostermundigen BE (332) im Freilichtmuseum Ballenberg vor blühendem Garten.

Traditional gardening and landscaping

Traditional approaches to gardening and landscaping are part of Switzerland’s cultural heritage – at the very highest level. They are the result of people’s centuries-long engagement with the climate, the soil, flora and fauna. Now, the task lies in actively cultivating, preserving and conveying this knowledge that was once crucial for survival.

The Swiss Open-Air Museum has taken up this challenge ever since its foundation: it enables visitors to actively experience the importance of farm gardens and cultural landscapes with all their senses, while also growing traditional varieties of fruit and vegetables and providing a vivid demonstration of how people used to preserve food.

In 2018, the Year of Cultural Heritage, the Swiss Heritage Society awarded the Swiss Open-Air Museum the Schulthess Garden Prize in recognition of its varied accomplishments in the field of garden culture and landscape maintenance.

The maintenance of the gardens and fields at the Open-Air Museum Ballenberg is supported by the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) as part of the National Action Plan for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Plant Genetic Resources (NAP-PGREL).

Abendstimmung im östlichen Mittelland.

Natural healing power

A treasure of magical herbs grows in the medicinal herb garden of the Swiss Open-Air Museum Ballenberg. Their powers lie in the curative qualities which they can develop. In former times know-ledge of the art of healing in the country was a part of everyday life.

Besuchen Sie den Kurs Kräuter erkunden Grundkurs im Kurszentrum Ballenberg.

Garden guide

To coincide with this annual theme, a garden guide was published by the AT Verlag in the spring of 2020. The authors Dominik Flammer and Sylvan Müller have reviewed the history of vegetable cultivation in Switzerland and implemented the concept for the twelve gardens with the help of the Ballenberg's gardeners. The book will be available for CHF 19.90 in the Ballenberg shop, from the Ballenberg online shop and from bookstores.

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Die Gärten im Freilichtmuseum Ballenberg werden von den Gärtnerinnen mit viel Liebe gepflegt.

Swiss Open-Air Museum

Museumsstrasse 100
CH-3858 Hofstetten bei Brienz

+41 33 952 10 30

Opening hours

11 April to 27 October 2024
10 am to 5 pm daily

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