The Isenfluh village lies at 1,085 meters above sea level; about 400 meters above the valley of
the White Lütschine on a sunny terrace, which offers magnificent views of the Jungfrau. With the Sulwaldfluh in the back and the Isenfluh against the valley, the term armchair does not appear
It is believed that Sulwald was first settled and Isenfluh arose later as an offshoot of a Celtic settlement. The dialect, which coincides with that of the Interlaken area, differs strikingly from that of the other areas of the Lauterbrunnen valley. Although sporadic inflow of settlers from the Lötschen valley moved in (shown in Isenfluh 1401), the Isenfluh dialect has survived to this day.
From the Middle Ages until the 19th century, there were mines for iron, lead and zinc between Stechelberg and
Zweilütschinen. The stone furnaces used in the smelting of the ore still stand in situ throughout the valley.
1319 Isenfluh was called: Ysenvluo; During the Middle Ages Isenfluh belonged to the Church of Undspunnen then in the 14th century to the church of Interlaken. And finally, as of 1528 the State
of Berne formally took possession of the monastery in Interlaken and all its belongings.
In the 17th century, most of the families in the Lauterbrunnen valley were poverty-stricken when the Great Plague
struck in 1669 killing 360 of an estimated 580 inhabitants in the valley. The year of 1811 saw the beginning of mountaineering in Lauterbrunnen and the 1st ascent of the Jungfrau. Tourism began
to flourish and the first hotels were built successfully up to the Kleine Scheidegg.
In response to the growing tourism, a number of railways were built in the Jungfrau region including the BOB - Bernese Oberland Railway - from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen, and the Wengernalp, Schynige Platte and Mürren Railways. In 1912, after 16 years of construction, the highest railway station in Europe, Jungfraujoch, was finished.
Isenfluh was connected to Lauterbrunnen with a footpath since 1905. It’s only since 1962 that they are connected with a mountain road. The decrease in population since 1880 resulted finally with the political and ecclesiastical union with Lauterbrunnen in 1973.
In 1987 the road connecting Isenfluh with Lauterbrunnen was destroyed by a landslide. An aerial cableway was used for the next couple of years to link the village with the valley while a new road was being constructed. Finished in 1992, Isenfluh celebrated this event with a three-day village party.
The cablecar from Isenfluh to Sulwald built in 1975 as well as the new road from Lauterbrunnen managed to stop the continuous decrease in population and facilitate the work of today’s local farmers. The larger villages (Mürren, Lauterbrunnen and Wengen) are almost exclusively related to tourism, smaller villages such as Stechelberg, Gimmelwald and Isenfluh are basically still dairy farming communities with a little bit of tourist activities.
Text based on following sources – free translation:
- Historisches Lexikon Schweiz http://www.hls-dhs-dss.ch/textes/d/D3282.php
- Ruedi Zumstein, 3822 Isenfluh