Canton Obwalden

Canton Obwalden

Where the canton of Obwalden is located, how many people live here and what language they speak - you can find out this and more in the questions and answers about the canton of Obwalden.


01. Where is the canton Obwalden and how many people live here?

Country: Switzerland
Neighboring cantons: Bern, Lucerne, Nidwalden and Uri
Size: 490.49 square kilometers
Main town: Sarnen
Municipalities: 7
Number of inhabitants: 38,435 (as of 2021)

You will find the most important information about the canton Obwalden here.

If you want to learn more about the History of the canton of Obwalden, please read here more.

02. Which municipalities belong to the canton Obwalden?

The canton of Obwalden has seven Communities: Alpnach, Engelberg, Giswil, Kerns, Lungern, Sachseln and Sarnen. The municipality of Engelberg is spatially separated from the other six municipalities in the Sarneraatal by the canton of Nidwalden, making it an exclave. The municipalities have a strong autonomy in the fulfillment of their tasks, but work closely together.

Below you will find the links to the municipal websites:

Alpnach municipality

Engelberg municipality 

Community Giswil 

Community Kerns 

Community Lungern 

Community Sachseln 

Community Sarnen 

03. What language is spoken in the canton of Obwalden and what religion do the inhabitants belong to?

Obwalden lies entirely in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. German is the official language of the canton and the main language of over 90 percent of the population of Obwalden. The colloquial language is Obwaldnerdeutsch, a Swiss dialect. This dialect can again vary greatly depending on the municipality.

The canton of Obwalden is predominantly Catholic. In 2020, around 68 percent of the people of Obwalden stated that they were Religious affiliation Roman Catholic denomination. Around 8 percent were Protestant Reformed or belonged to other denominations. The proportion of non-denominational persons was 17 percent in 2020.

04. What is the political system of the Canton of Obwalden?

At the cantonal level, the political system has the same structures as at the federal level.
Again, the distinction in:
Legislature (legislative power): Cantonal Council
Executive (executive power): Government Council
Judiciary (judicial power): Cantonal Court

The Cantonal Council has 55 members. The seats are distributed among the municipalities according to the resident population, whereby each municipality is entitled to at least four representatives.

The Government Council of the Canton of Obwalden has 5 members. It is the highest executive authority of the canton and directs, plans and coordinates the state activities.

The most important parties in the cantonal council are the Swiss People's Party (SVP), the Center, the Liberals (FDP), the Christian Social Party Obwalden (CSP OW) and the Social Democratic Party Obwalden (SP).

05. Which are the most important economic sectors of the canton Obwalden?

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