Kunstwerk Agnes Krone von Rudolf von Rheinfelden auf dem Inseli mit Blick zum Rhein und Statue Judith

Rheinfelden's history

Zähringer, Habsburger, Confederates - Rheinfelden has known many rulers, all of whom left their mark on the historic old town. But the town is also planning for the future and is committed to combining modern and old in the best possible way.

Rheinfelden was elevated to the status of a town by Duke Konrad von Zähringen around 1130.

This makes Rheinfelden the oldest Zähringen town in Switzerland. Even today, the social structure of medieval society can be seen in the townscape: The wealthy inhabitants lived in Marktgasse, a lot of farming was done in the eastern part of the town, as shown by the numerous barns, and above, the wealthy and the farmers, rose the church, canons' houses and aristocratic residences.

Mosaik Adler der Zähringer auf dem Zähringerplatz

In 1218 the Zähringers died out and in 1225 Rheinfelden became a free imperial town. In 1330 King Ludwig the Bavarian pledged it to the Habsburgs. Rheinfelden had thus become an Austrian town and remained so for almost half a millennium.

Rheinfelden experienced difficult times during the 30 Years War.

The conflicts occurred between the Habsburgs and the French. After the 30 Years War, the Austrians built an artillery fort on the island, because since the loss of Alsace, Rheinfelden was an Austrian fortress against France. In the wars of Louis XIV and the wars of succession in the 18th century, Rheinfelden felt this painfully: in 1678 Marshal Créqui shelled the town, and in 1744 the French captured the town and blew up the artillery fort.

Historische Ansicht Rheinfeldens um 1650 aus der Luft

In 1844 a new boom began for Rheinfelden.

Two salt works were founded, the now disused Rheinfelden salt works and the Riburg salt works. The use of the unique natural brine for bathing also began with the salt production. Soon inns set up as brine baths, the first being the Hotel Schützen in 1846.

Schweizer Salinen Riburg mit Saldom und 2 Bohrhaustürmen

Worth living in. Lovable.

The two breweries also contributed to the upswing of the community: "Salmen-Bräu" and Feldschlösschen. The latter has developed into the largest brewery in Switzerland. Today, Rheinfelden with its hotels, first and foremost Hotels Schützen and EDEN im Park, the Rheinfelden Reha, the Schützen Clinic for Psychosomatics and Medical Psychotherapy and the Parkresort with the «sole uno» wellness world, is a modern meeting place for health and wellness, for seminars, group travel and day trips.

Awards with the Wakker Prize of the Swiss Heritage Society 2016.

Growth yes, but with quality. With this conviction, the town of Rheinfelden has played an active role in shaping the development of the Zähringerstadt in recent years. The Swiss Heritage Society now honours the forward-looking urban development strategy, the careful handling of the historic town centre and the promotion of cooperation across property, neighbourhood and even national borders.

Information on the Wakker Prize

Guided tour of the Wakkerpreis

Logo Auszeichnung Wakkerpreis 2016 Altstadt Rheinfelden

Rheinfelder Neujahrsblätter.

Historically interesting contributions and current articles on events in and around Rheinfelden are published annually. Order the two most recent volumes in the online shop or search for a specific volume via E-Periodica of the ETH Zurich.

Neujahrsblätter in the online shop

History of Rheinfelden.

Would you like to learn more about the history of Rheinfelden? The book «Drinnen, Draussen, dabei» (German only) tells it.

More information & online shop


Fricktal Museum
Marktgasse 12
4310 Rheinfelden
+41 61 831 14 50


This may also be of interest to you