Dornbirn is the most populous municipality in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg and also the seat of the Dornbirn District Commission. The city is an economic center in the north of the westernmost state of Austria and a regional transport hub. With its 49,872 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2020) Dornbirn is the tenth largest city in Austria and the largest without its own statute.

The importance of the city only developed relatively late at the end of the 19th century with the flourishing of the textile industry, which quickly made Dornbirn the largest municipality between the Alpine Rhine and Arlberg. Since the decline of the local textile industry in the last quarter of the 20th century, trade, commerce, tourism and some medium-sized industrial companies have dominated the city's economy, which is still a dominant economic center of Vorarlberg and by far the largest place of work in the state. In addition, with the Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences established here in the 1990s, Dornbirn is the most important university location in the state and a center for science and education.



Geographical location
Dornbirn is located at an altitude of 437 meters in the Rhine Valley at the foot of the Bregenz Forest Mountains and thus on the western edge of the Eastern Alps. Geographically, Dornbirn belongs to the Vorderer Bregenz Forest, which is part of the Austrian Pre-Alps. By far the most important river is the Dornbirner Ach, which divides the local area into two halves and thus also forms the border of some city districts.

Most of the Dornbirn settlement area lies directly on the sediment fan of the Dornbirner Ach. Due to its location in the Rhine Valley, the community is geologically located in the so-called Lake Constance basin, which was partly tectonically created, but was also formed by the erosion of the Rhine glacier, which receded after the last ice age. The Lake Constance basin forms the subsoil on which the sediments washed up by the Dornbirn Ach could be deposited and thus determine what is now Dornbirn's subsoil. In the east of the municipality rise the first mountains of the Eastern Alps, which here for the most part still consist of brittle diluvial masses.

The general altitude of the city of Dornbirn is 437 m above sea level. A. stated. This corresponds to the position of the stone city coat of arms, which is embedded in the middle of the market square. The geographically lowest point of Dornbirn is the river bed of the Dornbirner Ach a few meters before the confluence of the Vorarlberg Rhine Valley Inland Canal in the extreme north of the municipality at 399 m above sea level. A. The highest point is the summit of the Sünserspitze at 2061 m above sea level. A.

City structure
Dornbirn did not grow together from formerly independent villages, but was always a single municipality, the settlement areas of which, however, were very scattered and with today's districts 1 to 4 consisted of four unconnected parts. At that time these “quarters” were still called Niederdorf, Hatlerdorf, Oberdorf and Stiglingen. It was not until 1902 that these four districts were officially declared city districts with their current names (Niederdorf became the Markt district, Stiglingen became Haselstauden). Today there is an urban area that has grown together, which expanded particularly to the west of the railway line in the second half of the 20th century. In these areas, the Rohrbach and Schoren districts were partially created, which only became separate city districts in 1994.

The city's population is mainly concentrated in the core area in the extreme northwest of the municipality. However, especially on the mountain slopes in the east of the city, there are still numerous smaller places known as mountain parcels. These include Watzenegg and Kehlegg, which have high land prices, especially because of their hillside location and the view of the Rhine Valley. In addition, Winsau, Heilgereuthe and numerous other collections of houses in the eastern mountain area also belong to the city of Dornbirn. The most outstanding parcel of Dornbirn is the Walser village of Ebnit, which was formerly an independent municipality and became part of the city in 1932 due to financial problems. The Ebnit is also the southernmost and easternmost year-round inhabited area of ​​Dornbirn and thus forms the center of the south-eastern municipality area, which is characterized by mountains and forests.

Neighboring communities
Due to the size of the municipality of Dornbirn, the city has numerous borders with other municipalities. Of the 15 neighboring communities in Dornbirn, nine belong to the political district of Bregenz (Lauterach, Wolfurt, Schwarzach, Bildstein, Alberschwende, Schwarzenberg, Reuthe, Mellau and Damüls) and four to the Feldkirch district (Laterns, Zwischenwasser, Viktorsberg and Fraxern). In addition, the two other municipalities of the Dornbirn district (Hohenems and Lustenau) border the municipal area of ​​the city, which is the only municipality in the district that does not have a state border as a municipal boundary. (The municipalities are given clockwise, starting in the north.)

Area balance
The entire Dornbirn municipal area extends over an area of ​​around 121 square kilometers (12,093 hectares), the area is spread over three cadastral communities
Dornbirn (9,930.41 ha)
Ebnit I (1,159.09 ha)
Ebnit II (1,003.50 ha)

Of this total area, around 4,815 hectares are forest areas and 5,723 hectares are meadows, pastures and Alps. The municipal area of ​​the city of Dornbirn makes up about 70% of the area of ​​the Dornbirn district (172.36 square kilometers). Dornbirn is the third largest municipality in Vorarlberg after Gaschurn and St. Gallenkirch and makes up 4.65% of the total area of ​​the state.


Mountain landscape
Due to its location on the edge of the Eastern Alps and the Bregenz Forest Mountains, the city of Dornbirn can reach several mountain peaks over 1,500 resp. Mention an altitude of 2,000 meters in their municipality. The most striking are the 971 meter high Karren, which is accessed by a cable car and is Dornbirn's local mountain, and the Staufen (1465 m above sea level). The 1,830 meter high Mörzelspitze and the Hohe Freschen, which is 2,004 meters high, are also popular with hikers. The highest mountain in the municipality is the rather inconspicuous Sünserspitze at 2062 m above sea level. A. Most of the mountain peaks in the municipality are accessible by hiking trails. The mountain landscape of Dornbirn is determined by the so-called First, the mountain range to which the Mörzelspitze, Hohe Freschen and Sünser Spitze belong and which can still be seen from Friedrichshafen on a clear day.

Rivers and bodies of water
The waterways map of the municipality is dominated by the Dornbirner Ach, the main river of Dornbirn. The Ach is one of the most important drainage rivers in the front Bregenzerwald and also a drain for numerous larger and smaller streams in the Dornbirn mountain landscape. Most of the countless rivers and streams that join the Dornbirner Ach as it runs from the southernmost to the northernmost point of the municipality have no name. The Fallbach is the only stream that does not flow directly into the Dornbirner Ach, but first flows into the Rhine Valley inland canal. There are only a few lakes in Dornbirn, two of the most famous are the Sünser See and the Staufensee Reservoir. In its course, the Dornbirner Ach also flows through the Alploch and Rappenloch gorges, two millennia-old gorges that are nowadays developed and accessible for tourists.

The climate in Dornbirn is relatively mild by Austrian standards, favored by its location in the Rhine Valley and the foehn. The average temperature over the entire year is 10 ° C.

The warmest month is July with an average of 19.3 ° C, the coldest is January with 0.4 ° C. Permafrost periods occur almost annually, but extreme lows are rare. The average low temperature over the course of the year is −13.0 ° C. Like the entire Alpine Rhine Valley, Dornbirn lies on the border between USDA climate zone 7b and 8a and is one of the mildest regions in Austria in terms of winter.

The last frost (measurement period 1993–2019) occurs on average on April 14th, the first on November 6th. The frost-free period is on average 205 days. Temperatures do not drop below freezing between the beginning of May and mid-October.

An average of 13 ice and 82 frost days are recorded. In contrast, there are 52 summer days and 9 hot days.

The lowest recorded temperature since measurements began in 1993 is −17.9 ° C, the highest so far at 36.8 ° C.

Noteworthy is the extensive annual precipitation for Central European conditions, which is a long-term average a little over 1,500 mm and in parts of the municipal area increases to well over 2,000 mm. This means that closed, sometimes considerable, snow covers are registered in all winters.

In winter, the sun shines on average between two and four hours a day. This number increases to over seven hours by the summer months of June to August. The average duration of sunshine is just under 1,800 hours a year, which is relatively little for the conditions in Austrian valleys.