Even if the historical struggle for independence has in many of our project’s regions become closely associated with the fight against the Habsburg domination (the mystified battles of Morgarten (1315) and Sempach (1386) as a Swiss example, certainly shared by similar myths and legends in other regions), the rule of the house of Habsburg, at some point in time, might well be one of the most striking common denominators of our project’s regions. We henceforth propose to adorn our logo with the rampant red lion of the original coat of arms of the house of Habsburg…

Almost exactly 734 years ago (on June 1, 1283), the king of the Romans, Rudolf of Habsburg, signed a treaty with his sons Albert and Rudolf at the castle of Stein, on an island in the river Rhine, on the present-day boarder between the Swiss canton of Aargau and the German state of Baden-Württemberg. The treaty, known as the Rheinfelder Hausordnung, set down the future order of succession of the house of Habsburg. As a direct consequence, the family of Habsburg definitively left their territories around the eponymous castle of Habsburg in the present-day Swiss canton of Aargau, to make Vienna in the recently conquered duchy of Austria their new home and centre of a reign that would soon control large parts of Europe and only come to an end with the last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Charles I of Austria, in 1918. Charles of Habsburg died in exile on Madeira in 1922 and his heart was entombed in the abbey church of Muri, Aargau, just a few kilometres from the castle that gave its name to his family.

In an interesting twist of fate, the Habsburgs’ journey from the castle of Habsburg to the abbey church of Muri, both within 100 kilometres linear distance of our S3-4AlpClusters headquarters in Fribourg, led them to control, at some point in time, territories in every single region participating in our S3-4AlpClusters project.

Without any claim to be complete or unmistakably precise, the house of Habsburg ruled over:
• The city of Fribourg (LP1) until 1452 and other parts of present-day
Switzerland, e.g. Fricktal and Tarasp, until 1803;
• Oberösterreich (PP2) until 1918; Large parts of Baden-Württemberg (PP3), e.g. Breisgau, until 1805;
• Large parts of Veneto (PP4 and PP15) until 1859;
• Slovenia (PP5 and PP14) until 1918;
• Salzburg (PP6) until 1918;
• Parts of present-day Franche-Comté (PP7), e.g. the city of Belfort, until 1636;
• A small part of present-day Piedmont (PP8), Val d’Ossola, until 1743;
• Large parts of Lombardy (PP9 and PP12) until 1859;
• Trentino (PP10 and PP11) until 1918;
• And parts of Bavaria (PP13), e.g. the city of Günzburg, until 1805.


Jacques P. Bersier, HEIA-FR, S3-4AlpClusters Lead Partner
Michael Keller, HEIA-FR, S3-4AlpClusters Lead Partner