The fascinating aspect of the geography of this world and of the many places on this globe is, that they are so different, both physically as well as culturally and socially. They challenge us to think differently and to try to understand those different places. After immersing oneself into these places and their local cultures we get the feeling to have understood those places. In my own life, I have been moving around many times and have been challenged by these for me new places over and over again. Switzerland is one of those places, and I learned a lot about it, and can probably now even call it my second home. Especially the mountain valley where my family in law owns a chalet, the Lötschental [Lötschen-valley], has become a special place for me. When I first visited the valley sometime around 1978, the seminal book by the anthropologists John W. Cole and Eric R. Wolff (1999 [1974]) The Hidden Frontier: Ecology and ethnicity in an Alpine valley. University of California Press, Berkeley, helped me a lot to understand how life in these alpine valleys literally ‘took place’. See also the page on this website referring to our holiday home.

But when a colleague from the Geography Department visited me in the Lötschental, one automatically reviews one’s knowledge about the Lötschental again, from a more professional a scientific perspective. and you get into the ‘fieldwork mode’. This posed new questions demanding for new answers. So we also had to delve into some more readings, such as: Arnold Niederer (1993) Alpine Alltagskultur zwischen Beharrung und Wandel. Ausgewählte Arbeiten aus den Jahren 1956 bis 1991. Haupt, Bern [Alpine everyday culture between persistence and change]. This finally resulted in a small article [Lötschental: the hidden valey] published in Dutch in the January 2020 issue of the glossy magazine ‘Geografie’ of the Royal Dutch Geographical Society (KNAG) on the Lötschental, with also some interesting insights in how the valley is branded and marketed for touristic uses. (Click on image to see full text)