Davos (UK: /ˈdævɒs, dɑːˈvɒs/, US: /dɑːˈvoʊs/; German: [daˈfoːs] or [daˈvoːs] (listen); Romansh: Tavau; archaic Italian: Tavate) is an Alpine town, and a municipality in the Prättigau/Davos Region in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland. It has a permanent population of 10,899 (2018). Davos is located on the river Landwasser, in the Rhaetian Alps, between the Plessur and Albula Range at 1,560 m (5,120 ft) above sea level.
The former Alpine resort village consists of two parts: Davos Dorf (literally: "Davos village") to the northeast towards Klosters and further down through the Prättigau to Landquart, and Davos Platz (literally: "place") to the southwest, which opens into the valley of the river Landwasser and eventually leads to Filisur.
Davos plays host to the World Economic Forum (WEF), an annual meeting of global political and business elites (often referred to simply as "Davos"), and has 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. From about 1280 the barons of Vaz allowed German-speaking Walser colonists to settle, 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) 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.
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. Subsequently, Davos became a 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.
Davos has an area (as of the 2004/09 survey) of 284 km2 (109.65 sq mi). Of this area, about 35.0% is used for agricultural purposes, while 22.2% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 2.3% is settled (buildings or roads) and 40.5% is unproductive land. In the 2004/09 survey a total of 337 ha (830 acres) or about 1.2% of the total area was covered with buildings, an increase of 61 ha (150 acres) over the 1985 amount. Over the same time period, the amount of recreational space in the municipality increased by 10 ha (25 acres) and is now about 0.22% of the total area. Of the agricultural land, 1,296 ha (3,200 acres) is fields and grasslands and 9,056 ha (22,380 acres) consists of alpine grazing areas. Since 1985 the amount of agricultural land has decreased by 736 ha (1,820 acres). Over the same time period the amount of forested land has increased by 481 ha (1,190 acres). Rivers and lakes cover 285 ha (700 acres) in the municipality.
Until 2017 the municipality was located in the Davos subdistrict of the Prättigau/Davos district, after 2017 it was part of the Prättigau/Davos Region. It is 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, northeast) and Davos Platz (Davos-Place, southwest), and the villages Frauenkirch, Davos Glari, 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 the Wolfgang Pass of only some 70 metres 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 Rhätische Bahn to the northeast but flowing in a southwesterly direction. Three long side valleys reach out to the south from the main valley.
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.
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.
The Small Country 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 2017–2020 (Legislatur) the Small Country Council is presided by Landammann Tarzisius Caviezel. Departmental tasks, coordination measures and implementation of laws decreed by the Grand Country Council are carried by the Small Country 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 Country Council for a maximal period of twelve years. The delegates are selected by means of a system of Majorz. The President is elected as such as well by a public election while the heads of the other departments are assigned by the collegiate. They usually meet once a week.
As of 2017, Davos's Small Country Council is made up of two members of FDP (FDP.The Liberals, of whom one is the president), one BDP (Conservative Democratic Party), one SP (Social Democratic Party), and one SVP (Swiss People's Party). The last regular elections (Landschaftswahlen) were held on 5 June 2016.
The Grand Country Council (Grosser Landrat) holds legislative power. It is made up of 17 members, with elections held every four years. The Grand Country Council decrees regulations and by-laws that are executed by the Small Country Council and the administration. The delegates are selected by means of a system of Majorz.
The sessions of the Grand Country Council are public. They usually meet ten times a year. Members of the Grand Country Council are not politicians by profession, and they are paid a fee based on their attendance. Any resident of Davos allowed to vote can be elected as a member of the Grand Country Council for a maximal period of twelve years.
The last regular election of the Grand Country Council was held on 5 June 2016 for the mandate period (German: Legislatur) from January 2017 to December 2020. Currently the Grand Country Council consist of 7 The Liberals (FDP/PLR), 4 Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC), 2 members of the Social Democratic Party (SP/PS), and one each of the Conservative Democratic Party (BDP/PBD), Christian Democratic People's Party (CVP/PDC), Evangelical People's Party (EVP/PES), and one independent.
In the 2015 federal election the most popular party was the SVP with 30.0% of the votes. The next five parties were the FDP (20.4%), the BDP (15.8%), the SP (14.7%), the glp (12.1%), and CVP (5.2%). In the federal election, a total of 3,231 votes were cast, and the voter turnout was 46.7%.
None. Former relations have been cancelled since February 2010 by the council due to thorough austerity measures.
Davos has a population (as of December 2018) of 10,899. As of 2014, 27.0% of the population are resident foreign nationals. In 2015 7.3% of the population was born in Germany and 6.9% of the population was born in Portugal. Over the last four years (2010-2014) the population has changed at a rate of -0.27%. The birth rate in the municipality, in 2014, was 9.1, while the death rate was 8.2 per thousand residents.
As of 2014, children and teenagers (0–19 years old) make up 17.3% of the population, while adults (20–64 years old) are 64.5% and seniors (over 64 years old) make up 18.2%. In 2015 there were 5,099 single residents, 4,666 people who were married or in a civil partnership, 550 widows or widowers and 794 divorced residents.
In 2014 there were 5,441 private households in Davos with an average household size of 2.03 persons. Of the 2,133 inhabited buildings in the municipality, in 2000, about 30.7% were single family homes and 39.1% were multiple family buildings. Additionally, about 25.9% of the buildings were built before 1919, while 8.3% were built between 1991 and 2000. In 2013 the rate of construction of new housing units per 1000 residents was 23.46. The vacancy rate for the municipality, in 2015, was 0.71%.
The historic population is given in the following chart:
Davos is a tourist community and a regional center.
As of 2014, there were a total of 8,853 people employed in the municipality. Of these, a total of 203 people worked in 80 businesses in the primary economic sector. The secondary sector employed 996 workers in 145 separate businesses. Finally, the tertiary sector provided 7,654 jobs in 926 businesses. In 2014 a total of 5,211 employees worked in 908 small companies (less than 50 employees). There were 17 mid sized businesses with 2,074 employees and 1 large business which employed 369 people. In 2014 a total of 23.5% of the population received social assistance.
In 2015 local hotels had a total of 797,348 overnight stays, of which 46.9% were international visitors.
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.
Besides 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. An international tournament, starting in 2014, has been organised. 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:
- Parsenn / Gotschna which connects to the partner town of Klosters from Davos Dorf
- Jakobshorn which can be reached from Davos Platz directly
- Pischahorn which can be reached by frequently running buses into Flüela valley
- Rinerhorn to start from Davos Glaris
- Madrisahorn located in neighbouring Klosters
- Schatzalp is privately owned by the Schatzalp Hotel and a specialty as a "decelerated" skiing area
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.
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.
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.
Davos is part of the rail network of the Rhaetian Railway (RhB). The RhB has two main stations in Davos: Davos Dorf (Rhaetian Railway station) (northeast) and the Davos Platz (Rhaetian Railway station) (southwest). Further Rhb also calls Davos Wolfgang and Davos Laret towards Klosters, and Davos Frauenkirch, Davos Glaris, Davos Monstein, and Davos Wiesen towards Filisur.
The bottom station Davos Dorf DKB of the funicular Parsennbahn to Weissfluhjoch (Parsenn) is in Davos Dorf, the one to Schatzalp, the station Davos Platz Schatzalpbahn in Davos Platz. Also in Davos Platz are the bottom stations of the cable car to the Jakobshorn, the station Davos Platz DKB (right next to the corresponding railway station), but also the one of the chair lift to Usser Isch, namely the Davos Platz (Talstation Carjöl).
Local buses are operated by Verkehrsbetrieb der Landschaft Davos Gemeinde (vbd).
Davos has 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 World Radiation Center (PMOD/WRC) and the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL).
- Valentin Bühler (1835–1912) citizen of Davos where he went to school, a lawyer, he wrote dictionaries about the local and Swiss dialects
- Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889 in Davos – 1943) Swiss painter, sculptor, textile designer, architect and dancer
- Dorothea Wieck (1908 in Davos – 1986) a German theatre and film actress
- Juri Elperlin (1917 in Davos – 2015) writer and German-Russian translator
- Ernst Haefliger (1919 in Davos – 2007) Swiss tenor
- Eberhard W. Kornfeld (born 1923) art collector; made Honorary citizen of Davos in 2004
- Jürg Federspiel (1931–2007) Swiss writer, grew up in Davos
- Thomas Hirschhorn (born 1957) Swiss artist, grew up in Davos
- Marc Forster (born 1969) German and Swiss director and filmmaker, grew up in Davos made freeman of Davos in 2007
- Johannes Guler von Wyneck (1562 in Davos – 1637) Grisonian annalist, officer, and local official
- Fortunat Sprecher von Bernegg (1585 in Davos – 1647) lawyer, Grisonian annalist and local official
- Johann Luzius Isler (1810 in Davos – 1877) confectioner and gastronomy entrepreneur in Nevsky Prospect, St. Petersburg
- Willem Jan Holsboer (1834–1898) a Dutch entrepreneur, sponsor of Davos as a health resort. His young wife died after 2 years in Davos due to TB. He stayed in Davos, remarried, and founded the Rhaetian Railway
- Wilhelm Vischer (1895 in Davos – 1988) a Swiss pastor, theologian, Hebraist, Old Testament scholar and amateur Lied lyricist
- Ursula Wyss (born 1973 in Davos) economist, Swiss National Councillor 1999–2013 and current Municipal Councilor of Bern
- Alexander Spengler (1827–1901) a German and Swiss physician, specialised in TB in Davos
- Carl Rüedi (1848 in Davos – 1901) a Swiss pulmonologist, treated Robert Louis Stevenson
- Lucius Spengler (1858 in Davos – 1923) Swiss physician, specialised in TB
- Carl Spengler (1860 in Davos – 1937) Swiss physician, bacteriologist, inventor of immunotherapy with Spenglersan colloids. Also an ice hockey player from Davos, founded the Spengler Cup
- Carl Dorno (1865 – 1942 in Davos) German researcher, lived in Davos from 1904, founded the Physikalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos, a predecessor of Academia Raetica in Davos
- Walter Siegenthaler (1923 in Davos – 2010) Swiss physician, professor of internal medicine at Zurich University
- Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894) a Scottish novelist and travel writer, TB patient in Davos in 1880's
- Franz Holper (1862–1935) German painter and architect, lived in Davos 1901–1920 because of his TB
- Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880–1938 in Davos) German artist, TB patient, lived in Davos from 1917; namesake of the local art museum
- Philipp Bauknecht (1884 – 1933 in Davos) German expressionist painter, TB patient from 1910
- Erwin Poeschel (1884–1965) German art historian, TB patient 1914/1915
- Harry Clarke (1889–1931 in Davos) an Irish stained-glass artist and book illustrator, TB patient from 1929, buried in Chur
- Klabund (1890 – 1928 in Davos) aka Alfred Henschke, German writer and painter, TB patient
- Fritz Kraatz (1906–1992) a Swiss ice hockey player, competed in the 1928 Winter Olympics
- Paul Söllner (1911 in Davos – 1991) a German rower, competed in the 1936 Summer Olympics
- Albert Künzler (1911 in Davos - ??) a Swiss ice hockey player, competed in the 1936 Winter Olympics
- Andreas Däscher (born 1927 in Davos) a ski jumping athlete, competed at the 1956 Winter Olympics and developed the Daescher technique
- Franz Berry (1938 in Davos – 2009) a Swiss ice hockey player, competed in the 1956 and 1964 Summer Olympics
- Peter Frei (born 1946 in Davos) a Swiss former alpine skier, competed in the 1968 Winter Olympics
- Nicolas Gilliard (born 1947 in Davos) a Swiss former swimmer, competed at the 1968 Summer Olympics
- Paul Accola (born 1967 in Davos) former alpine skiing World Cup, overall champion
- Martina Accola (born 1969, Davos) a Swiss former alpine skier, competed in the 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics
- Andrea Senteler (born 1977) a Swiss cross-country skier, competed in the 1998 Winter Olympics
- Carmen Schäfer (born 1981 in Davos) a Swiss curler
- Andres Ambühl (born 1983 in Davos) a Swiss professional ice hockey forward
- Iouri Podladtchikov (born 1988) a Russian-born Swiss snowboarder, brought up in Davos, gold medallist at the 2014 Winter Olympics
- Dino Wieser (born 1989 in Davos) a Swiss professional ice hockey forward
- Stefanie Müller (born 1992 in Davos) a Swiss Alpine snowboarder, competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics
- Claude-Curdin Paschoud (born 1994 in Davos) a Swiss professional ice hockey defenceman