The way we treat each other and the world (German: “Umgang”) needs constant updating. This is the aim of our “Umgang Bregenzerwald”. It is intended to train awareness and an understanding of the world. From 1050, people settled here and gradually took ownership of the valley and mountains. What we admire here as the natural environment is the result of centuries of farming in the valley, on the mountain pastures (the “Vorsäß”; middle level of alpine farming) and the high mountain pasture. The “Umgang Bregenzerwald” draws our attention to the buildings, tools and everyday objects that have developed here over the course of time. And now, the valley is changing from a merely rural region into a sort of new suburb of the “Rhine City”, which reaches from Bludenz to Bregenz.
This offers us a glimpse of the towns of the future: resilient, durable settlements that count both agricultural production and recovery as well as leisure pursuits and tourism amongst their functions. Sustainable building is already well established in the Bregenzerwald today, and the raw materials for the timber houses are obtained locally. This also applies increasingly for catering establishments and craft workshops. Anyone who follows all 12 trails of the “Umgang Bregenzerwald” will realise sometime that these are not village walks; instead, they are a practical training in future urban life. Town planners will find inspiration for the cities of tomorrow here. Perhaps they may also come up with ideas as to how suburbs such as the Bregenzerwald can be provided with transport links to the other parts of the “Rhine City” that are more sustainable. Walking would be best. But as the “Umgang Bregenzerwald” shows, this is a very time-consuming, albeit very beautiful form of transport. Without noise. It also protects the environment which, in the town of the future, will be within its own boundaries, not out in the country.
This is what the “Umgang Bregenzerwald” has in store for you: easy walks of different lengths between 1.5 and 4 hours. They lead through the villages of Au, Schoppernau, Mellau, Bizau, Bezau-Reuthe, Andelsbuch, Schwarzenberg, Egg, Lingenau, Langenegg, Hittisau and Krumbach. On the way, you will come across waisthigh columns. Stop in front of them and look inside, where you will see drawings of buildings or objects with short questions. You will find the answers in the folders for the various “Umgang” paths. Or you’ll discover them for yourself – by talking to the locals, for example. As you continue, you may wonder what makes this particular “Umgang” path special and distinguishes it from the others. Will you work it out? And your own image of the Bregenzerwald as a suburb of the future will start to form.
Details of the objects are described in an accompanying folder. Furthermore, a book on the subject containing the background histories to the way of life in the Bregenzerwald is available. The information media are available from any one of the tourist information offices and from Bregenzerwald Tourismus.