Schmitten, Fribourg

Schmitten, Fribourg

Schmitten is a municipality in the district of Sense in the canton of Fribourg in Switzerland.

Geography

Schmitten is located at an elevation of 647 m above sea level. The aerial distance to the canton's capital Fribourg is 9 km. The town stands on a plateau east of the Dälihubel which is standing slightly towards the north. The area belongs to the Fribourg middle lands and has plenty of hills.

The highest elevation of Schmitten is the Wilerholz (767 metres above sea level). Schmitten has an area of 13.55 square kilometres. In 1997, this area was divided into 12% buildings, 14% woods, 73% farm land, and the remaining 1% was unproductive land.

Population

With a population of 3413 (as of 2004), Schmitten is one of Fribourg's middle-sized towns. 92.0% of the population are German-speaking, 2.2% French, and 1.6% Albanian (as of 2000). As of 1930, the population amounted to 1461 people. Since 1960 (1694 inhabitants), the population has strongly increased, leading to doubling this number in a period of 40 years.

Economy

Until the middle of the 20th century, Schmitten was mainly a farmers' town. Even today, agricultural products (crop, milk, meat and fruits) still take an important position.

The local small trade and service companies offer a sizeable number of jobs as well. Right next to the train station, an important industrial area has developed due to the excellent traffic connections. Today, the following industries play an important role: Construction, transport, wood construction, metal construction, machines, furniture, a large bookbindery, printing, a large dispatching center of a leading national retailers chain, mechanical workplace, cheese dairy and a floor covering company.

In the last decades, Schmitten has also developed into an important residential area for commuters to Fribourg and Berne.

Traffic

The town has excellent traffic connections both by road and rail. Schmitten is very close to the old main road from Bern to Fribourg. In 1973, the new motorway A12 (Bern to Vevey) opened in a distance of 6 km to the town center. The closest entrances to the motorway are Düdingen and Flamatt. So, Schmitten can benefit from the motorway while still being far enough from it to not suffer from noise and passing traffic.

Already in the year 1860 (1860-07-02), the train connection from Bern to Düdingen (Balliswil) was opened with a train station in Schmitten and a stop in Fillistorf. There are further connections to the smaller places by bus.

History

In medieval times, the town bore the name Schmitton. In the 14th century, the name Der Schmitten was common. Because the chapel of Schmitten was consecrated to Saint Otmar, for a period the town was also called Othmarswil, first mentioned in 1379.

The Earl of Thierstein ruled Schmitten in medieval times. In the 15th century, Schmitten came under the authority of Fribourg, where it was subordinated under the "Old Landscape" (Aupanner). After the breakdown of the Ancien régime (1798), Schmitten belonged to the District of Fribourg and after 1831 to the Germanspeaking District Freiburg, bevor it was integrated into the District of Singine (Sensebezirk) with the new constitution of the canton.

With regard to the church as well as political aspects, Schmitten always belonged to the neighbouring community of Düdingen. In the church community of Düdingen, Schmitten formed two parishes, called the "Wilerschrot" and "Lantenschrot". The liberal constitution of the canton Fribourg of 1831 resulted in forming the four bouroughs of the church community of Düdingen into independent communities, but this development was reverted already in 1832. The parishes "Wilerschrot" and "Lantenschrot" were unified into the new "Schmittenschrot", which aimed at independency in both the church and political aspects. Due to differences with the church community of Düdingen, Schmitten became an own parish in 1885.

The fact that Schmitten now was an own parish, and also the circumstance that Schmitten had their own train station that became a regional center, lead to an effort becoming an independent political community as as well. The inhabitants of Schmitten were asked about their opinion in a consultational vote, resulting in a share of 95 % of voters in favour of an independent political community.

Against the opinion of the municipal council of Düdingen, the council of Fribourg decided in 1922-11-21 to declare for Schmitten the status of an independent political community. A further enlargement of Schmitten took place in 1976 when the neighbouring community of Wünnewil-Flamatt gave a residential area of 29 hectares north of the train station to Schmitten.

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