Langnau im Emmental (Kanton Bern, Switzerland)

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Langnau is a beautiful village in the Emmental (Emme Valley), the main village of the Signau district, the largest village (pop. 8,726) in the canton of Bern, Switzerland. It has a number of industries. It was once the center of pottery and linen weaving in the Emmental; in the 18th century it became the center of the "Emmentaler" cheese industry. The village is mentioned for the first time in A.D. 850.

On 13 March 1525 the preacher at Langnau was threatened by Bern, because his preaching "is producing discord, revolt, and disobedience" to the government. By a decision of the council of 28 February 1527, two men of Langnau were put in "neck irons" for destroying an image. On 25 October 1526 Bern demanded that "the priests at Langnau and elsewhere, who do not wish to hold Mass, must continue to hold Mass." Three days later Langnau replied, citing the mandates of Bern which ordered that the Word of God be taught on the basis of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (Aktensammlung).

Thus the people of Langnau, even before the Reformation was introduced there, showed independence in religious thinking and religious life, as well as a desire for freedom. These traits are also responsible for the persistence of Anabaptism in the Emmental. Langnau was always an Anabaptist center and today has the oldest Mennonite congregation in the world. The local clergy often had to cope with the Swiss Brethren, as the baptismal registers of Langnau report. The Chorgerichtsmanuale of Langnau omitted the Anabaptist persecutions and showed that the populace was not hostile to the Swiss Brethren. On 6 May 1934 the citizens of Signau elected an Emmental Mennonite to the Great Council of the canton of Bern. The Mennonite meetinghouse is located at Kehr, on the outskirts of Langnau.

In Langnau Ernst Müller, the author of the authoritative history of the Mennonites of Bern, was the pastor of the state church from 1884 to 1927. Langnau is the meeting place of the Swiss Mennonite conference every fall. Here also the Zionspilger was published.

See Bern and Emmental


Geiser, Samuel. Die Taufgesinnten-Gemeinden: eine Kurzgefasste Darstellung der wichtigsten Ereignisse des Täufertums. Karlsruhe: H. Schneider, 1931.

Gratz, Delbert L. Bernese Anabaptists and their American descendants. Goshen, IN: Mennonite Historical Society, 1953. Reprinted Elverson, PA: Old Springfield Shoppe, 1994.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 619.

Käser, Hs. "Ausserkirchliche christliche Versammlungen im Unteremmental in früherer Zeit." Brosamen (1926): Nos. 1-9.

Käser, Hs.  "Chorgericht und Landvogt in Behandlung der Täufergeschäfte." Blätter für bernische Geschichte und Altertumskunde (1928, No. 2).

Müller, Ernst. Geschichte der Bernischen Tääufer. Frauenfeld: Huber, 1895. Reprinted Nieuwkoop : B. de Graaf, 1972.

Author(s) A. J Amstutz-Tschirren
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Amstutz-Tschirren, A. J. "Langnau im Emmental (Kanton Bern, Switzerland)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 27 Sep 2023.,_Switzerland)&oldid=145688.

APA style

Amstutz-Tschirren, A. J. (1957). Langnau im Emmental (Kanton Bern, Switzerland). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 September 2023, from,_Switzerland)&oldid=145688.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 290. All rights reserved.

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