“Look up there on the right-hand side!” says my wife, calling out to me. “Isn’t it quaint how the little Langenegg church is perched on the hillside?” Once we arrive on the plateau, I say, “Yes, it’s lovely, although this church does not form the centre of the village, as is usually the case around here.” About a hundred years ago, there were still the separate villages of Oberlangenegg and Unterlangenegg. That is until a rich farmer, Georg Fuchs, managed to merge the two together. He did so by bequeathing his property to the municipality on the condition that both villages become one Langenegg. Even at that time, people were prone to follow the money and thus the request was granted. As part of the Umgang walking tour, one of the rust-coloured columns details this transaction. The next column is located at the present-day village centre, i.e. at the Bach House, which once belonged to the generous benefactor.
I soon join my wife who is standing in front of the information board. “Look at all the paths there are. The sign is entitled ‘Wanderbares Langenegg’ and details the many routes available for exploring the area including the ‘rascal trail,’ the ‘dragonfly trail,’ and a ‘reading trail.’ There’s even an ‘energy portal path,’ which sounds quite exciting.” “That’s the one for us,” says my wife, pointing the way forward. We proceed ahead, passing the Hotel Krone, which, in addition to being a conference hotel, is also a well-known fine-dining restaurant. As always, I am keen to share my expertise and explain that Langenegg not only created this path, but has implemented more than 200 additional measures for a better environment. “For these efforts, the municipality even received an international energy award and is, of course, also an e5 municipality, which means that they care about energy use and sustainability.”
Meanwhile, the path leads up a hill, and time and again there is information to read, for example about “Sun and Time”, an Alemannic sundial equipped with large stones. My wife really appreciates all the effort the locals have put in. “It’s exciting to see what a yet small community can really do.” Unsurprisingly, Langenegg received the European Village Renewal Award in 2010. At the end of the path, we once again find ourselves in the middle of the new village centre. Here there are rusty red columns wherever you look. Together, the ADEG grocery shop, the Café Stopp and the kindergarten help define the new townscape of Langenegg. All were designed by the the architects Josef Fink & Markus Thurnher. Here, too, it is clear that remaining faithful to skilled architects contributes positively to the overall visual impression of the villagescape. The village dairy was also awarded a prize, and rightly so, according to my wife: “I’ve shopped there several times. They only process hay milk. Apparently, they manage up to three million litres a year! From this milk, they produce great-tasting cheeses, the Langenegg Dorfkäse cheese in particular.” I have enjoyed the speciality many times myself and can attest: It’s delicious.
But I am also familiar with some additional history with regard to the Alpine dairy, albeit tragic: “On 1 May 1945, at the end of World War II, courageous members of the Langenegg community arrested and imprisoned Nazi functionaries here. Afterwards, however, SS troops advanced against the Alpine dairy from several sides and shot six Langenegg family men. The names of these heroes are commemorated: Adolf Schwärzler, Josef Nussbaumer, Martin Gmeiner, Robert Bader, Otto Bechter and Innozenz Bader. The men were senseless victims of a criminal regime.” In silent remembrance, we soon continue our tour. “We haven’t yet checked out two important buildings from the Umgang tour,” says my wife impatiently. “You’re right,” I confess. “We’re missing House E and House R, though I don’t really know much about them. “House E was heavily criticised when it was built in 1984. Many things were just too new, especially the architecture. Thus, people were probably not yet ready for such a contemporary building. House R, the Red House, is different. This is a unique 18th century house that originally stood elsewhere, probably in the Rheintal valley or even in Switzerland. It was broken down and rebuilt here, which was not uncommon for log buildings of that time. Architecturally speaking, however, it has nothing to do with the Bregenzerwald. “These buildings are so interesting, they’re making me hungry!” says my wife, dropping a hint. With the tour now at an end, the time has come to grab a bite to eat. In the Bregenzerwald, this is no hardship, considering how many good restaurants there are!” Eating well is exactly what we do.
Author: Walter Fink
Issue: Bregenzerwald Travel Magazine – Summer 2023