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Evilard

Evilard is a municipality in the district of Biel in the canton of Bern in Switzerland. The German name of the bilingual municipality is Leubringen.

Geography

Evilard lies 697 m above sea level, and one kilometer north of the district capital city, Biel/Bienne, as the crow flies. The town spans a southeast-facing clearing of the front of the Jura mountains, about 300 m over the city of Biel. In clear weather, the view from Evilard of the Swiss plateau and the Alps from Mont Blanc to the region of Glärnisch and Alpstein is quite impressive.

The municipal area of 3.7 km² reaches to the height of the anticline of Magglingerberg. It includes the town of Eviilard, which is surrounded by Malewagwald (French: Malvaux, up to 765 m altitude). To the southwest, the municipality reaches in a narrow stripe over the Magglingen to the peack of the Magglingerberg, up to the municipal high point of 1070 m. The towns comprise 29% of the area of the municipality (as of 1997), while 40% is forested, 30% is used for agriculture, and less than 1% is unproductive land.

In the municipality is also the town Magglingen (French: Macolin), which lies at 875 m on the southeast slope of Magglingerberg. The neighboring municipalities are Biel/Bienne, Orvin, Lamboing, and Tüscherz.

Population

Population growth
Year Population
1850 365
1900 560
1910 633
1930 870
1950 1112
1960 1467
1970 1914
1980 2275
1990 2360
2000 2376

With 2312 inhabitants (at the end of 2004), Evilard is one of the largest municipalities in the Bernese Jura. In 2004, 60% of the population spoke German, and 40% spoke French. The population of Evilard underwent marked growth in the middle of the 20th century, whereas since 1980 only a small fluctuation has been registered. The migration of a number of settlers from the German-speaking portions of the Canton of Bern has increased the proportion of German speakers in Evilard, an area that was historically dominated by French speakers.

Economy

Evilard was dominated by agriculature until the beginning of the 20th century. Since about 1950, the town has built a large number of single-family homes for commuters working in Biel/Bienne. Magglingen has developed into a resort location starting in about 1875, thanks to its sunny high altitude. Today the town has many tourist facilities, and includes the Eidgenössische Hochschule für Sport Magglingen (Federal College of Physical Education in Magglingen, EHSM).

Transport

Transport within the municipality is well-developed. It is linked with Biel/Bienne and Orvin by road. In 1898 a funicular railway between Biel/Bienne and Evilard was opened. Magglingen is also connected to Biel/Bienne by a funicular railway.

History

The first appearance of Evilard in written documents was in 1300, under the name Lomeringen. The French name was Evillard or es Villard ("in the town"). A number of monasteries and the Bishopric of Basel were founded in the Middle Ages in the area. However, judicially and militarily the town was subordinate to the city of Biel. From 1798 to 1815, Evilard belonged to France and was part of the département of Mont-Terrible, which was joined with Haut-Rhin in 1800. At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the town was returned to Switzerland and placed in the Canton of Bern. At first, Evilard was attached to the Oberamt Nidau; in 1832 it was placed in the Biel district. At times, there is debate over merging with the city of Biel; such a situation was however rejected by the residents in 1902. Evilard doesn't have its own church parish, but until 1821 belonged to the parish of Orvin, and since then to that of Biel.

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