For other uses, see Davos (disambiguation).

Top: View of the Sertig Valley, Middle left: World Economic Forum congress centre, Middle right: Lake Davos, Bottom: View over Davos

Coat of arms
Coordinates: 46°48′N 9°50′E / 46.800°N 9.833°E / 46.800; 9.833Coordinates: 46°48′N 9°50′E / 46.800°N 9.833°E / 46.800; 9.833
Country Switzerland
Canton Graubünden
District Prättigau/Davos
  Executive Kleiner Landrat
with 5 members
  Mayor Landammann (list)
Tarzisius Caviezel FDP/PLR
(as of March 2014)
  Parliament Grosser Landrat
with 17 members
  Total 283.98 km2 (109.65 sq mi)
Elevation (Church St. Theodul) 1,560 m (5,120 ft)
Population (Dec 2015[2])
  Total 11,109
  Density 39/km2 (100/sq mi)
Demonym(s) German: Davoser/Davoserin
Postal code 7260 Davos Dorf
7270 Davos Platz
SFOS number 3851
Localities Davos Dorf, Davos Platz, Frauenkirch, Davos Glaris, Davos Wiesen, Davos Monstein, Davos Clavadel, Laret, Wolfgang, Obem See, Meierhof, Stilli, Bünda, Spina, Tschuggen, Dörfji, In den Büelen, Hof, Teufi, Gadmen, Am Rin, Dürrboden, Sertig Dörfli, Oberalp, Inneralp
Surrounded by Arosa, Bergün/Bravuogn, Klosters-Serneus, Langwies, S-chanf, Susch
Website www.gemeinde-davos.ch
SFSO statistics

Davos (Romansh:  Tavau , archaic Italian: Tavate, local German pronunciation [daˈfoːs],[3] German pronunciation [daˈvoːs][4]) is a municipality in the district of Prättigau/Davos in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland. It has a permanent population of 11,109 (2015).[2] Davos is located on the river Landwasser, in the Rhaetian Alps, between the Plessur and Albula Range. At 1,560 m (5,120 ft), it is the highest "town" in Europe.

Davos is host to the World Economic Forum (WEF), an annual meeting of global political and business elites (often referred to simply as Davos) and the home of one of Switzerland's biggest ski resorts. At the end of every year it serves as the site of the annual Spengler Cup ice hockey tournament, hosted by the HC Davos local hockey team.


The current settlement of the Davos area began in the High Middle Ages with the immigration of Rhaeto-Romans. The village of Davos is first mentioned in 1213 as Tavaus.[5] From about 1280 the barons of Vaz allowed German-speaking Walser colonists to settle down, and conceded them extensive self-administration rights, causing Davos to become the largest Walser settlement area in eastern Switzerland. Natives still speak a dialect that is atypical for Graubünden, showing similarities with German idioms of western parts of Switzerland, especially the Upper Valais. In 1436, the League of the Ten Jurisdictions was founded in Davos.

From the middle of the 19th century, Davos modeled on Sokołowsko became a popular destination for the sick and ailing because the microclimate in the high valley was deemed excellent by doctors (initiated by Alexander Spengler[6]) and recommended for lung disease patients. Robert Louis Stevenson, who suffered from tuberculosis, wintered in Davos in 1880 upon the recommendation of his Edinburgh physician Dr. George Balfour. Arthur Conan Doyle wrote an article about skiing in Davos in 1899. A sanatorium in Davos is also the inspiration for the Berghof Sanitorium in Thomas Mann's novel Der Zauberberg (The Magic Mountain). Between 1936 and 1938, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, then at the end of his life and living in Davos since 1917, depicted Davos and the Junkerboden. His painting has a both Romantic and pantheistic atmosphere and simplified formal structure.

Bobsled team in Davos, 1910

During the natural ice era of winter sports, Davos and the Davos Eisstadion were a mecca for speed skating. Many international championships were held here, and many world records were set, beginning with Peder Østlund who set four records in 1898. The only European Bandy Championship was held in the town in 1913.[7] Subsequently, Davos became a famous ski resort, especially frequented by tourists from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. After peaking in the 1970s and 1980s, the city settled down as a leading but less high-profile tourist attraction.



View of Davos from paraglider looking south-west
Davos from the air looking north with Schatzalp and Parsenn ski areas

Davos has an area, as of 2006, of 254.5 km2 (98.3 sq mi). Of this area, 37.1% is used for agricultural purposes, while 19.7% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 2.2% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (41%) is unproductive (rivers, glaciers or mountains).[8]

The municipality is located in the Davos subdistrict of the Prättigau/Davos district in the Landwasser Valley. In terms of area, it was the largest municipality in Switzerland until the formation of the municipality of Glarus Süd in 2010, and is the largest in the canton of Graubünden. It consists of the village of Davos, with its two parts Davos Dorf (Davos-Village, north-east) and Davos Platz (Davos-Place, south-west), and the villages Frauenkirch, Davos Glaris, Davos Wiesen, Davos Monstein, and Davos Clavadel, and the hamlets of Laret, Wolfgang, Obem See, Meierhof, Stilli, Bünda, and Spina in the main valley. In the side valleys there are additional hamlets including Tschuggen, Dörfji, In den Büelen, Hof, Teufi, Gadmen, Am Rin, Dürrboden, Sertig Dörfli, Oberalp, Inneralp.

Davos lies in a high valley, the connection to Klosters needing a pass of only some 70m ascent from Davos Dorf. This tiny pass results in a flow direction of the river not corresponding to the main traffic routes of road and railway to the northeast but flowing in a southwesterly direction. Three long side valleys reach out to the south from the main valley.


Davos has a continental subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc) with an average of 124.7 days of precipitation per year and on average receives 1,022 mm (40.2 in) of precipitation. The wettest month is August during which time Davos receives an average of 148 mm (5.8 in) of precipitation. During this month there is precipitation for an average of 13.5 days. The month with the most days of precipitation is June, with an average of 13.6, but with only 126 mm (5.0 in) of precipitation. The driest month of the year is April with an average of 56 mm (2.2 in) of precipitation over 9.6 days, of which 50.9 cm (20.0 in) in 8.5 days are snowfall.[9]

Climate data for Davos (1981–2010, 1594m a.s.l.)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −0.2
Daily mean °C (°F) −4.9
Average low °C (°F) −9.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 66
Average snowfall cm (inches) 90.0
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 8.8 7.6 9.7 9.6 11.9 13.6 13.2 13.5 9.9 8.0 9.4 9.5 124.7
Average snowy days (≥ 1.0 cm) 11.3 10.5 11.0 8.5 2.3 0.7 0.1 0.2 0.8 3.0 9.3 11.3 69.0
Average relative humidity (%) 75 72 71 70 71 73 73 76 77 74 77 78 74
Mean monthly sunshine hours 111 121 144 138 151 162 187 175 159 149 104 93 1,696
Percent possible sunshine 54 53 48 44 44 45 52 53 52 55 50 48 49
Source: MeteoSwiss[9]



The municipality of Davos is divided into five Fraktionsgemeinden (which are also former municipalities): Davos Dorf, Davos Platz, Davos Frauenkirch, Davos Glaris, Davos Monstein, and Davos Wiesen.[10]


The Small Municipal Council (Kleiner Landrat) constitutes the executive government of the municipality of Davos and operates as a collegiate authority. It is composed of five councilors (German: Landrat/-rätin), each presiding over a department (Departement) comprising several bureaus. The president of the executive department acts as president of the municipality (Landammann, or Gemeindepräsident). In the mandate period 2013–2016 (Legislatur) the Small Municipal Council is presided by Landammann Tarzisius Caviezel. Departmental tasks, coordination measures and implementation of laws decreed by the Grand Municipal Council are carried by the Small Municipal Council. The regular election of the municipal councils by any inhabitant valid to vote is held every four years. Any resident of the municipality of Davos allowed to vote and being registered can be elected as a member of the Small Municipal Council. The delegates are selected by means of a system of Majorz. The president is elected as such as well by public election while the heads of the other departments are assigned by the collegiate. The executive body holds its meetings in the Stadthaus (City Hall).[11]

As of 2015, Davos's Small Municipal Council is made up of two members of FDP (FDP.The Liberals, of whom one is the president and the other the vice president), one BDP (Conservative Democratic Party), one SP (Social Democratic Party), and one independent. The last regular elections (Landschaftswhlen) were held on 17 June 2012.[11]

The Small Municipal Council (Kleiner Landrat) of Davos[11]
Municipal Councilor
Party Head of Department (Vorsteher, since) of elected since
Tarzisius Caviezel[KLR 1]      FDP President's Office (Präsidialdepartement, 2013) 2012
Simi Valär[KLR 2]      FDP Civil Engineering and Public Facilities (Departement Tiefbau + öffentliche Betriebe, 2013) 2012
Reto Dürst independent Structural Engineering and Environmental Protection (Departement Hochbau + Umweltschutz, 2009) 2008
Stefan Waiser      SP Education and Energy (Depertement Bildung + Energie, 2013) 2012
Herbert Mani      BDP Health and Security (Departement Gesundheit + Sicherheit, 2014) 2013
  1. President (Landammann, or Gemeindepräsident)
  2. Vice President (Statthalter, or Gemeindevizepräsident)

International relations

Sister and twin towns

None. Former relations have been cancelled since Februar 2010 by the council due to thorough austerity measures.


Davos with the Vaillant Arena (center)

Davos has a population (as of 31 December 2015) of 11,109.[2] As of 2008, 23.7% of the population was made up of foreign nationals.[12] Over the last 10 years the population has decreased at a rate of 5.5%. Most of the population (as of 2000) speaks German (86.3%), with Serbo-Croat being second most common (2.8%) and Italian being third (2.7%).[8]

As of 2000, the gender distribution of the population was 49.1% male and 50.9% female.[13] The age distribution, as of 2000, in Davos is; 1,102 children or 9.7% of the population are between 0 and 9 years old and 1,435 teenagers or 12.6% are between 10 and 19. Of the adult population, 1,733 people or 15.2% of the population are between 20 and 29 years old. 1,897 people or 16.6% are between 30 and 39, 1,806 people or 15.8% are between 40 and 49, and 1,498 people or 13.1% are between 50 and 59. The senior population distribution is 902 people or 7.9% of the population are between 60 and 69 years old, 677 people or 5.9% are between 70 and 79, there are 318 people or 2.8% who are between 80 and 89 there are 49 people or 0.4% who are between 90 and 99.[12]

Park on the Promenade

In Davos about 74% of the population (ages 25–64) have completed either nonmandatory upper secondary education or additional higher education (either University or a Fachhochschule).[8]

Davos has an unemployment rate of 0.85%. As of 2005, there were 239 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 86 businesses involved in this sector. 1,118 people are employed in the secondary sector and there are 123 businesses in this sector. 5,565 people are employed in the tertiary sector, with 615 businesses in this sector.[8]

From the 2000 census, 5,321 residents (46.6% of the population) belonged to the Swiss Reformed Church while 3,950 residents (34.6%) are Roman Catholic. Of the rest of the population, there were 10 individuals (or about 0.09% of the population) who belong to the Christian Catholic faith, 439 individuals (3.85% of the population) who belonged to the Orthodox Church, 274 (2.40%) who belonged to another Christian church, 79 (0.69%) who were Muslim, 56 (0.49%) who belonged to another faith (not listed), and eight residents (0.07%) were Jewish. In addition, 832 residents (7.29%) belonged to no faith, were agnostic or atheist, and 448 individuals (3.92%) did not answer the question.[12]

The historical population is given in the following table:[5]

year population
1850 1,680
1888 3,891
1900 8,089
1930 11,164
1950 10,433
2000 11,417
2010 11,166


The ice stadium, including the largest natural ice skating field in Europe

Davos is known throughout Switzerland for its famous ice hockey team, the HC Davos, who play in the Swiss National League A. Their home arena is the Vaillant Arena.

Besides being famous for cross-country skiing, offering some 97 km (60 mi) of pistes, Davos has the largest natural ice skating field in Europe. Bandy is occasionally played there.[14] An international tournament, starting in 2014, has been organised.[15][16] The 1913 European Bandy Championships in Davos is so far the only one of its kind.

There are six main ski areas in winter, with a total of 320 kilometres (200 mi) of slopes:

All areas offer summer transport as well on to the main peaks from mid May until end of October. The remote side valleys heading towards the Engadine area are worth long hikes towards the passes of Sertig or Scaletta Pass to reach, for example, Piz Kesch, an Ultra prominent peak. To the north there are no valleys but rather a direct one-day ascent to continue across a pass into the "Schanfigg" valley towards the rival resort of Arosa or even to continue to Lenzerheide in a two-day hike.[17]


Davos is home to seven sites that are listed as Swiss heritage sites of national significance. These heritage sites include the Town Archives, the Kirchner Museum, the Grosses Jenatschhaus (a type of charity house known as a Pfrundhaus) and the Forest Cemetery (Waldfriedhof). Several hotels and spas are also included on the list. The three hotels or former hotels are: Berghotel Schatzalp, the former Grand Hotel Belvédère, and the Zürcher Höhenklinik von R. Gaberel.[18]

Davos hosts annual meetings of the World Economic Forum. The city was featured in an episode of Viva La Bam, when cities around Europe were visited. On 14 March 2003, a festival called Winterjam was held in the city and bands such as Sum 41, Crazy Town, and Guano Apes performed during this event.[19]


Davos is part of the rail network of the Rhaetian Railway. Local buses are operated by Verkehrsbetrieb der Landschaft Davos Gemeinde.


Davos boasts several research institutes: the AO Foundation focusing on trauma and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, the Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research (SIAF), the WSL institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF), and the World Radiation Center (PMOD/WRC).

Notable residents and people connected to Davos

See also


  1. Arealstatistik Standard - Gemeindedaten nach 4 Hauptbereichen
  2. 1 2 3 Swiss Federal Statistical Office - STAT-TAB, online database – Ständige und nichtständige Wohnbevölkerung nach institutionellen Gliederungen, Geburtsort und Staatsangehörigkeit (German) accessed 30 August 2016
  3. Boesch, Bruno, ed. (1957), Die Aussprache des Hochdeutschen in der Schweiz. Eine Wegleitung, Zürich: Schweizer Spiegel Verlag, p. 36
  4. Eva-Maria Krech, Eberhard Stock, Ursula Hirschfeld, Lutz, Christian Anders, eds. (2009), Deutsches Aussprachewörterbuch, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, p. 432, ISBN 978-3-11-018202-6, retrieved 2016-01-29
  5. 1 2 Davos in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  6. Alexander Spengler Davos Klosters
  7. Web.archive.org
  8. 1 2 3 4 Swiss Federal Statistical Office accessed 28-Oct-2009
  9. 1 2 "Climate Normals Davos, Reference period 1981–2010" (PDF). Climate diagrams and normal values per stations. Zürich Airport, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss). 2 July 2014. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
  10. "Fraktionsgemeinden" (official website) (in German). Davos, Switzerland: Gemeinde Davos. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
  11. 1 2 3 "Kleiner Landrat" (official website) (in German). Davos, Switzerland: Gemeinde Davos. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
  12. 1 2 3 Graubunden Population Statistics (German) accessed 21 September 2009
  13. Graubunden in Numbers (German) accessed 21 September 2009
  14. Bandy field at the ice stadium
  15. Video from the international bandy tournament, Czech Republic vs the Netherlands
  16. Czech Republic and Germany playing in the international bandy tournament 2014
  17. (English) Hiking Alps in Switzerland, Davos, Graubünden Archived 14 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. Swiss inventory of cultural property of national and regional significance 21.11.2008 version, (German) accessed 28-Oct-2009
  19. SkisnowboardEurope.com

Further reading

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