Walser Regions | Graubünden


Up until the middle of the 20th century, the population of Vals lived almost exclusively from agriculture. The radical change came about with the building of the power station at Zerfeila (1951-58). This in turn, lead to the development of new earning opportunities and resulted in hundreds of workers descending upon the valley in a type of gold rush fever. With new income from Water interest and taxes important infrastructure tasks could be taken in hand.

In 1960 a German mineral specialist bought the nursing centre real estate containing the hot springs and their sources.  He built a filling station and a large health centre which was handed over to the enterprise in 1970.  After some unfortunate passages of ownership the enterprise was acquired in part due to the economical considerations of the people, by the municipality. 

Faced with the handicap of creating a feeling of well being in a wild and rough mountain valley the architect Peter Zumthor was chosen by the Gemeinde (municipality) and for the approximate sum of 25 million Francs built the new bath house.  It was opened on the 14th of December 1996.  The number of visitors exceeded all expectations. 

With its (approx.) 1000 guest beds, the hot springs and the skiing area at Dachberg (1270 – 2940 metres), tourism in Vals compiles two thirds of the gross national product.  But the national economy does not have all its eggs in one basket.  The Valser Mineralquellen AG employs around 60 local workers and sells annually well over 100 million litres of Valserwasser (Valser water).  In addition, there are numerous smaller and middle industrial concerns in the village, which are predominantly active in the regional construction industry.  An important industry is natural stone production: In a modern stone factory the well known Valser Quartzite is processed.  And also not to be forgotten is agriculture:  There are still approximately 20 main acquisition enterprises and many smaller farms that have a number of goats and sheep that are used for supplementary income.

Of the working population in Vals today, 23% work in Land and forestry, 29% in industry and trade and up to 48% work in the service sector.  This percentage allocation is easily distorted due to the supplementary incomes and hobby farmers being fully taken into account.

Text: Peter Schimd (Resource: Walser Mitteilungen Nr. 51, S. 11f.)

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Walser Areas in Graubünden