Hergiswil is first mentioned around 1303-09 as ze Hergenswile.
Hergiswil has an area, as of 2006, of 14.2 square kilometers (5.5 sq mi). Of this area, 29.3% is used for agricultural purposes, while 44.4% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 9.7% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (16.6%) is non-productive (rivers, glaciers or mountains).
Hergiswil has a population (as of 31 December 2017) of 5,715. As of 2007, 14.5% of the population was made up of foreign nationals. Over the last 10 years the population has grown at a rate of 11.5%. Most of the population (as of 2000) speaks German (91.0%), with Italian being second most common ( 2.0%) and French being third ( 1.1%). As of 2008 the gender distribution of the population was 52.2% male and 47.8% female.
As of 2000 there are 2,216 households, of which 1,627 households (or about 73.4%) contain only one or two individuals. 91 or about 4.1% are large households, with at least five members.
Hergiswil has an unemployment rate of 1.24%. As of 2005, there were 89 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 35 businesses involved in this sector. 666 people are employed in the secondary sector and there are 72 businesses in this sector. 2,091 people are employed in the tertiary sector, with 382 businesses in this sector.
The historical population is given in the following table:
Hergiswil is served by Hergiswil station and Hergiswil Matt station on the Brünig railway line, and the linked Luzern–Stans–Engelberg line. The Lucerne S-Bahn services S4 and S5 combine to provide four trains per hour at each station. Hergiswil station is also served by hourly InterRegio trains between Lucerne and Interlaken, and between Lucerne and Engelberg.
The main sights of Hergiswil are: an old clergy house, the church, the chapel Maria zum guten Rat, old mansion Thumigerhaus, and a glazier's workshop with museum. The workshop was established in 1817, burning down on one occasion, but is still working.