The Emmental (Emme valley), renowned for its cheese, is a fertile farming region extending east from Berne towards the Napf (1,408 m/4,620ft), with a characteristic way of life which was described in the works of the 19th C. novelist Jeremias Gotthelf (Albert Bitzius), who was pastor at Lützelflüh. Until about 1800 it was thought that good cheese could be made only from the milk of the Alps; but the first cheese dairies in the valleys were then established in the Emmental, and the excellent cheese produced there is now exported far and wide.
A model Emmentaler cheese dairy has been opened in Affoltern.The Kleine Emme (Little Emme) rises on the Giswilerstock and flows down through the Mariental and Entlebuch valley to join the Reuss after a course of 58km/36mi. The Grosse Emme (Great Emme) rises on the Hohgant (2,197 m/7,208ft), north of Lake Brienz and flows through the Emmental to join the Aare east of Solthurn after a course of 80km/50mi. The Emmental is a region of gently rolling country with a long tradition of good farming with many farms having belonged to the same families for centuries. Although traditional values are deeply rooted, the farmers of the Emmental have been among the pioneers of modern agriculture in Switzerland. The farmhouses have a distinctive character - substantial and well-built, with arcades, an abundance of flowers and often elaborate carved decoration - as have the barns and the little houses for the grandparents, and the inns with the old traditional names, the "Bear" and the "Lion", the "Star" and the "Crown". The region offers endless walking opportunities off the beaten track.The Emmental is the shortest route from Berne to Lake Lucerne. Road 10 runs from Berne to Langnau (30km/19mi) and from there via Wolhusen to Lucerne (92km/57mi).
Formal box-edged hedges have been laid out to create this Swiss farmhouse garden.
Burgdorf (alt. 533 m/1,749ft: pop. 16,000), a fine town northeast of Berne, is the real gateway to the Emmental. Sights in the town include fine old guild-houses, a picturesque arcaded market, the cantonal technical college, the Swiss Costume Collection and the Swiss Confederation Yodelling room.Ethnological collections are also on show in Kirchbühl. There is an attractive marked walk from Binzberg to Wynigen.
Burgdorf's 10th C. castle of the Zähringen family has three towers. It is now a historical museum.
The late Gothic parish church in Burgdorf was built in 1490. Its organ gallery has interesting sandstone tracery.
Burgdorf (Grafenscheuren - Hornuss Festival)
This two-day festival focuses on the Hornuss, the traditional rural sport of Switzerland, and takes place in these two towns in late August.
Museum of Ethnology
A presentation of the cultures of North and South America, Japan, Africa, Oceania and Egypt.
Address: Meieriedstrasse 28 B, CH-3400 Burgdorf, Switzerland
Opening hours: Apr 1 to Oct 31: 2pm-5pm
Nov 1 to Mar 31: 11am-5pm
Nov 1 to Mar 31: 11am-5pm
Entrance fee in CHF: Adult CHF5.00, Concession or reduced rate CHF3.00, Child 6-16 CHF1.00
Guides: Guided tour available as optional extra.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service