Appenzell Ausserrhoden: History & Tradition

Settlement of the Appenzell region began along the River Glatt during the 7th century, with the Abbey of St. Gallen exerting a powerful influence over the lives of the local people. Herisau is first mentioned in 907, while the name of Appenzell first appears in 1071. Over the centuries, the Canton was the scene of a number of battles. Appenzell joined the Old Swiss Confederacy as the thirteenth canton in 1513, and in 1597, the Canton was divided into two half-cantons on denominational grounds: Appenzell Ausserrhoden is the Protestant part; Appenzell Innerrhoden is Catholic.


In 1934 Johannes Baumann was the first citizen of Appenzell Ausserrhoden to become a Federal Councillor. Women's suffrage, and right to stand for election, was introduced at local level in 1972, but only became applicable at the cantonal level in 1989, with two women being elected to the Cantonal Government for the first time in 1994. The Landsgemeinde, an annual meeting of citizens, was abolished in 1997. The Cantonal referenda of 2010 endorsed this decision.



Tradition – The St. Sylvester Mummers

A Silvesterklaus or Silvesterchlaus is a person dressed in costume and wearing a mask - a typical religious tradition of the Canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden. There are three types of Silvesterklaus: the beautiful, the ugly and the forest or nature Klausen. The Silvesterklausen stop at each farm and ring their bells. Then they sing a Zäuerli, a natural polyphonic yodel typical of Appenzell. The aim is to drive away evil spirits. The Silvesterklausen come out to celebrate New Year on 31 December and again on 13 January (the same event in the Julian Calendar).

Read more…(link only in German)


AR tradition


Culinary tradition


All recipes from Appenzell (link only in German)


Traditional products

  • Appenzeller® cheese
  • Appenzeller Siedwurst (local sausage)
  • Appenzeller Biber and Biberli (Appenzell spiced bread)
  • Appenzeller Nidelzeltli Tanner 212® (sweets).

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