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Appenzell Ausserrhoden
Appenzell Ausserrhoden

Appenzell Ausserrhoden is one of Switzerland's 26 cantons located in the northeastern part of the country. The canton neighbors Appenzell Innerrhoden to the southeast and both of these cantons are surrounded by the canton of St. Gallen. The Inner and Outer Rhodes were formerly united. However, the two became divided during the Middle Ages due to religious reasons.[2] Geographically, the territory is covered by the Appenzell Alps, with the highest peak, Säntis, located in the southernmost part of the region. Due to its geomorphological structure and abundance of mountain areas, Appenzell Ausserrhoden is one of the popular destinations among tourists seeking outdoor recreation, such as hiking, cycling, or skiing in the winter.[11] Additionally, the local accommodation facilities and restaurants often tend to uphold local customs and serve traditional cuisine.[7] Reportedly, the best time to visit the Appenzell Ausserrhoden canton is during June, July, and August, despite a higher chance of precipitation during that time of the year.[8]

What Appenzell Ausserrhoden is known for

A predominant feature of the Appenzell Ausserrhoden canton is Säntis, the region's highest peak. There is a considerable number of walking, hiking, and mountain biking trails in the Säntis area and throughout the rest of the canton. Beyond that, there is the NaturErlebnis Park, connecting outdoor activities with learning and nature conservation. It is possible to take a cable car ride to the top of the mountain. Next to one of the cable car stations is located the Schwägalp Alpschaukäserei (the Alpine show dairy), allowing the tourists to watch cheesemakers at work, producing the relatively well-known Swiss cheese and other dairy products.[11] 

The capital city of the Appenzell Ausserrhoden is the city of Herisau, which bears the administrative functions of the canton. One of the reportedly popular tourist destinations is the city of Trogen, located in the northern part of the territory. The city is situated atop a hill in the middle of the mountainous Appenzeller landscape. Trogen's historical center comprises classicist architecture buildings with windows typical for the local area. In the 1940s, the Pestalozzi Children's Village was built in the city of Trogen, which was intended to become a home and educational center for orphans after the Second World War.[9] In the northern part of the Appenzell Ausserrhoden territory, overlooking Lake Constance lies the village of Heiden. Heiden is one of the more popular touristic destinations among people searching for relaxation and meditation. In the town, numerous spa centers and hotels specializing in alternative medical care can be found.[10]
The two Appenzell cantons, the Inner and Outer Rhodes, have been found to develop independently. Appenzell people are known for their unique "humor" and "Zauren," a local equivalent of traditional Swiss yodel.[7] Most people speak the Appenzell dialect, and several region-specific customs are also upheld in Appenzell, such as The Bloch or the Silvesterchlausen.[2] Appenzell Ausserrhoden is composed of a primarily mountainous landscape, which attracts a considerable number of tourists. Thus, there is an abundance of inns and restaurants available, which tend to offer traditional cuisine and experience for tourists. Some of the local dishes are, for instance, the Vesperteller, which is a cheese sausage salad, as well as Chäshörnli and Öpfelmues, which is known for the noodles being fried with cheese, to name a few.[7]


Appenzell Ausserrhoden is located in the eastern part of Switzerland. The canton neighbors the Appenzell Innerrhoden Canton and the canton of St. Gallen, which encircles both. The area is composed of a hilly mountainous landscape, with the highest peak, Säntis, located in the southernmost part of the region at an altitude of 2,501 m above sea level.[2] Säntis is part of the Alpstein mountains, which stretch across the borders of three cantons, the Appenzell Innerrhoden, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, and St. Gallen. The hills are mainly composed of granite and limestone, making it considered a western continuation of the Northern Limestone Alps. Alpstein also features numerous caves, cracks, and sinkholes.[5] Geographically, the Alpstein mountains belong to the Appenzell Alps, a mountain range representing the northern edge of the Alps.[6] Even though the local landscape is of mostly hilly and mountainous character, approximately 11,945 hectares of the Appenzell Ausserrhoden's land is used for agriculture, with almost 25% of it being farmed organically by 134 farms within the canton's borders.[2]

Reportedly, the Appenzell area is regarded as an "outdoor country." The pre-alpine mountainous region of Appenzell Ausserrhoden is intertwined with a network of hiking trails of a relatively large variety, which is ensured by the diversity of terrain, from valleys and gorges to rocky mountains. However, the area is famous not only among hikers but also among mountain bikers, climbers, paragliders, and skiers in the winter.[7]

Located in the central part of Europe, Appenzell Ausserrhoden's continental climate is primarily dependent on the altitude above sea level. Concerning the average temperatures in Appenzell Ausserrhoden's capital, Herisau, the warmest month is July, with an average daily temperature of 22°C. January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 3°C. February tends to be the driest month in Herisau due to having 65 mm of rainfall on average. The most precipitation falls during August, receiving about 187 mm on average. The rainy season in the region starts in April and lasts until October. However, the "best time of year to visit Herisau in Switzerland" is claimed to be during June, July, and August.[8]


The earliest settlement in the Appenzell Ausserrhoden is dated back to the 7th and 8th centuries when the monastery of St. Gallen had a considerable influence over the local population. By the 14th century, there were numerous conflicts in Appenzell concerning grazing rights and taxes. Both the Appenzell Abbott and farmers wanted to protect their rights, and in order to do so, they joined the Swabian League. However, the conflicts between the Abbott and farmers continued, so in 1392, the Abbott made an agreement with the Habsburgs, and in 1401 Appenzell entered an alliance with the city of St. Gallen. Over the course of the following years, the area underwent several conflicts, which resulted in Abbott's forfeiting the ownership of Appenzell by 1410. Later in 1411, Appenzell signed a defensive treaty with the Swiss Confederation and eventually became a full member in 1513.[1]

The territory of Appenzell was divided into Catholic Inner and Reformed Outer Rhodes in 1597. At that time, the administration and the title of the capital city were changed. During the 16th century, a development of the textile industry took place in Appenzell's territory, which lasted until the crisis during the 20th century and world wars. Even though Appnezell had significant religious origins (as the state was established around a monastery and belonged to Abbott for a considerable amount of time), in later times, Appenzell became relatively progressive. In 1843, the first liberal constitution was adopted by the state, and in 1974, women's suffrage was introduced at the municipal level. Later, for the first time in the region's history, two women were elected to the governing council in 1994.[2]

In current times, Appenzell Ausserrhoden is one of Switzerland's self-governing cantons. Yet, it officially is a demicanton, defined as one of the two divisions into which the Swiss cantons of Appenzell, Basel, and Unterwalden are separated.[3] The division of Appenzell Ausserrhoden was based on religion. Thus, most of the population is of the protestant faith. In terms of industry, the predominant role in regional produce belongs to the electrical industry and textile, namely cotton goods, muslin, and embroidery products.[4]