Grundlsee is a municipality with 1179 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2020) in the Styrian Salzkammergut in Austria. The municipality is located in the Liezen district (Liezen judicial district) and covers 152.23 km² large parts of the Ausseerland and the Dead Mountains. The place is located directly on the Grundlsee of the same name.



The municipality of Grundlsee is located in the Ausseerland in the Styrian Salzkammergut in the district of Liezen, state of Styria. Grundlsee lies at 732 m above sea level. A. directly on the Grundlsee on the southwestern edge of the Dead Mountains.

The five localities of the municipality are located in an elongated valley on the banks of the Grundlsee, which is framed on three sides by the 1000-meter-high foothills of the Dead Mountains. The valley has an east-west length of about ten kilometers (to the Kammersee) and a width of about one kilometer in a north-south direction with the only opening to the west to the Bad Aussee basin.

The most striking mountains that frame this valley are the Hundskogel (1748 m), the Backenstein (1772 m) and the Reichenstein (1913 m) in the north, the Elm (2128 m), the Große Hochkasten (2389 m) and the White Wall (2198 m) in the east, the Türkenkogel (1756 m) and the Röthelstein (1614 m) in the south. The highest mountain in Grundlsee is the Große Hochkasten at 2389 m on the border with Upper Austria.

The inhabited area has an average altitude of 750 m. Due to the alpine location and the large proportion of the Dead Mountains, around 75% of the municipal area consists of alpine wasteland, the rest are forests, grassland and other forms of land.

At 4.22 km², the Grundlsee is the largest lake in Styria and is drained by the Grundlseer Traun, one of the three source rivers of the Traun. It is fed by the Stimitz, the Zimitzbach and the Toplitz, the drainage creek of the Toplitzsee in the municipality. In addition, the Dreibrüdersee, the Elmsee, the Henarsee, the Kammersee, the Vorderer and the Hinterer Lahngangsee lie in the municipality, as well as the source waters of the Traun, the so-called Traun origin.

The Dead Mountains, whose foothills surround Grundlsee on three sides, consists largely of limestone and dolomite, which were formed in the seas of the Mesozoic Era, especially the Triassic and Jura, about 210 to 135 million years ago. In the north of the municipality there is predominantly the Plassenkalk of the Jura, in the east mainly the Dachsteinkalk of the Triassic and in the south the Triassic with Zlambach marl, Pedatakalk, Hallstatt layers, Gutensteiner Kalk and dolomite. The west of the Grundlsee towards Bad Aussee is characterized by a highly glacial ground moraine from the Würm glacial period. The gypsum and anhydrite deposits near the Wienern settlement (village of Gößl) arose from the Upper Permian to the Scythian and consists of the Alpine Hasel Mountains. The lake basin of the Grundlsee was formed as a tongue basin of a glacier during the worm glaciation.

The settlement centers of the villages of Bräuhof, Archkogel, Mosern and Untertressen in the west of the municipality are completely on alluvial cones, debris and ground moraines, which were mostly formed in the Würm glacial period, some of which were postglacial. The center of the settlement of Gößl lies entirely on a low terrace from the Pleistocene.

With karstification, many sinkholes and caves formed, such as the 17 km long Almberg cave system at the foot of the Backenstein.

The climate in Grundlsee is determined by its geographical location in the Aussee basin. It is mainly characterized by its high altitude and its location in the northern congestion area. With currents from west to north, the result is often days of precipitation, which in winter are accompanied by a great deal of snow. With 100 to 120 days of snow cover per year, the Aussee Basin is one of the most snow-sure basin locations in Austria. Snowfall is expected from October to May, with fresh snow every third day on average from December to March. With a relative sunshine duration of over 50%, autumn is the most favorable time in terms of weather in the region. The climate in the Aussee Basin is often a stimulating climate, especially in winter.



Name history

The name Grundlsee is pronounced in standard German [Grundlseː]. The name was first mentioned in 1188 as Chrungilse. [10] The spelling of the name varied over time until the current spelling finally prevailed: Chrungilse (1188)> Chrungelse (1300)> Chrungelsee (1386)> Krungelsee (1450)> Crungelsee (1479)> Grunglsee (1493)> Chrundelsee & Grundelsee (1494)> Krunglsee (1496)> Crunglsee (1566)> Grundelsee (1665)> Grundlsee (today). The name of the cadastral community Grundlsee is derived from the name of the lake. This probably has its origin in the Old Slavic krągl jezero (round lake). Instead of the legal Krungelsee, this original form changed to today's Grundlsee. This was probably due to a folk etymological influence of the Middle High German goby, grundelinc (the gudgeon).

Primeval times, Celts and Roman times
The earliest witnesses of human settlement activity in the Grundlsee municipality are Paleolithic finds in the salt furnace cave in the Dead Mountains. Charcoal remains of a paleolithic fireplace found there could be dated to an age of around 34,000 years. Numerous relics from the Bronze and Iron Ages, as well as a Bronze Age settlement, were found along the natural traffic line of the Koppental in the neighboring municipality of Bad Aussee. These finds can be explained in the context of Hallstatt, which is only 20 km away and which, due to its archaeological importance, gave its name to the older Iron Age (800-450 BC). The younger Iron Age / La Tène period (500-100 BC), which was borne by the Celts, left no archaeological traces. Only the river name Traun (from Celtic druna, the running one) indicates Celtic settlement. As evidence of Roman rule in Noricum, traces of late Roman settlement were discovered during excavations in Bad Aussee and on the Altaussee Michlhallberg (Sandling massif). According to the previously recovered finds, the settlement in Altaussee was likely to have existed from the end of the 2nd century AD to the late 4th century. A Roman salt mining is suspected there.

Slavs and Bavarians
The era of the Great Migration left no traces in the Ausseerland. The next population group that can be identified with certainty were the Slavs. Traces of Slavic settlement by name can be found in the entire Ausseerland (place and field names with the endings -itz, -itsch, -isch; in Grundlsee e.g. Stimitz, Toplitz, Zimitz). Around 800 a strong immigration of Bavarians began. The place names are important traces of the first contact between the Slavs and the Bavarians. The earliest datable Germanizations of place names in Ausseerland come from the Old High German period before 1100.

middle age
The name Grundlsee (apud chrungilse) was first mentioned on August 2, 1188. Duke Ottokar IV was on the Grundlsee that day and sealed three documents there.

After the death of the last Duke of Babenberg, Friedrich II. In 1246, the elected Archbishop of Salzburg, Philipp von Spanheim, occupied large parts of the Ennstal and thus also the Ausseerland. To secure the new claim to power and to protect the nearby salt mines on the Sandling massif and the mule tracks, he built the small fortress Pflindsberg in neighboring Altaussee. Philipp von Spanheim had to retire after the Treaty of Ofen in 1254 and the castle and the Ausseerland were incorporated into Styria around 1260. The previous history of the Ausseerland is controversial. Most likely it was part of a county in the Ennstal under the margraves of the Carinthian Marks in the 12th to 13th centuries. The theory that the Aussee area previously belonged to the County of Traunau cannot be proven. The plant developed into the administrative center with lower jurisdiction of the independent rule Pflindsberg, which was separated from the sovereign rule Grauscharn-Pürgg. It comprised around 90% of the goods in the Ausseerland and, as part of the Salzkammergut, was princely.


Protestantism, re-Catholicization (from 1599), dominance of salt mining
With the Reformation in the 16th century, the population of the Ausseerland had become largely Protestant. From 1599 a re-Catholicisation commission forcibly pushed through the Counter Reformation. The entire Ausseerland was spared the larger armed conflicts and social uprisings of the 16th and 17th centuries (peasant wars, Thirty Years War). The reasons for the absence of social tensions were a relatively secure livelihood for the population and extensive social concessions on the part of the authorities. The entire Salzkammergut was a closed domain that had dedicated itself to a mono-economy. The only line of business was salt production, to which all economic activity was tailored. The salt was mined in Altaussee and simmered into salt in the brewing pans in Bad Aussee. Grundlsee's role in this mono-economy was above all to supply the brew pans with the necessary firewood, i.e. the forestry necessary for salt production. The workers employed in this branch were also mostly small part-time farmers who, together with their family members, produced part of the essential products themselves. Due to the barreness and the harsh climatic conditions, there were relatively few full-time farmers in the entire region.

During the Napoleonic Wars between 1800 and 1809, French troops marched through the Ausseerland several times. In 1809 the Koppenpass and the Pötschenpass were fortified and fortified. But there was no fighting. In 1813 the Pötschenpass was fortified again, this time with several gun emplacements, a powder magazine and two barracks. The expected battles for the pass did not materialize, as Napoleon's troops were decisively defeated in the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813.

Beginnings of tourism
At the beginning of the 19th century, the Salzkammergut was discovered for the summer resort. Archduke Johann of Austria met his future wife Anna Plochl at Lake Toplitz in August 1819. The nearby Bad Ischl developed into a prominent health resort and was an imperial summer residence from 1849. The presence of the nobility in the region also made the Ausseerland more and more a center of attraction for the elegant society. Many artists and representatives of Viennese society were soon drawn to Grundlsee, which had become a political municipality since 1850 when the manor was abolished in 1848. The Aussee landscape attracted many painters early on. Between 1801 and 1848 Archduke Johann had his chamber painters work in Ausseerland, including Jakob Gauermann, Matthäus Loder, Thomas Ender and Jakob and Rudolf Alt, resulting in a large number of landscapes with motifs from Grundlsee. Another painter who worked in Grundlsee is Johann Matthias Ranftl, after whom the Ranftlmühle built in 1850 on the Stimitzbach is named. The Kronprinz-Rudolf-Bahn was opened in 1877 and the infrastructure of the Ausseerland was finally well developed for tourism. As early as 1879, tourist steamship traffic was started in Grundlsee with the wooden steamboat Archduke Johann. Among the artists and intellectuals who spent their summer vacation in Grundlsee or who settled there permanently, the industrialist and folklorist Konrad Mautner, the neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud and the conductor Herbert von Karajan deserve special mention.

National Socialism, Alpine fortress, Nazi treasure in Toplitzsee
After Austria was annexed to the German Reich in 1938, the entire Ausseerland was incorporated into the administrative unit of Upper Danube (Upper Austria). The autonomy of the municipalities of Bad Aussee, Grundlsee and Altaussee was dissolved and a mayor's office was set up in Bad Aussee. The Grundlsees and Altaussees municipal offices were henceforth field offices of Bad Aussee.


As a result, the Ausseerland attracted numerous Nazi figures, most of whom lived in previously Aryanized villas. For example, three National Socialist Gauleiter regularly spent their holidays in the neighboring town of Altaussee: August Eigruber, Konrad Henlein and Hugo Jury. The Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels and his family resided in Grundlsee Castle.

In 1943, work began on setting up a depot for art objects in the nearby Altaussee salt mine. In August of the same year, the storage of art treasures from Austrian churches, monasteries and museums began in order to protect them from bomb attacks. As of February 1944, the inventory of around 4,700 works of art was stored. It was this piece of art stolen from all over Europe, which was collected by Adolf Hitler under the code name Special Order Linz and was destined for the planned Führer Museum in Linz. At the end of the war, the entire depot contained around 6,500 paintings in eleven disused factories, as well as numerous statues, furniture, weapons, coins and libraries. Including part of the so-called guide library planned for Linz. The largest part of this library was deposited in the Villa Castiglioni in Grundlsee.

Between 1943 and 1945 numerous technical weapons tests were carried out by the German navy at Lake Toplitz. At the end of the war, boxes with counterfeit British pound banknotes from Operation Bernhard were sunk in the lake, which should have been used to weaken the British economy. Rumor has it that gold reserves from the Third Reich, notes for numbered accounts and works of art were sunk in the lake at the end of the war. These rumors about the “gold treasure in Toplitzsee” have not been confirmed to date.

The Ausseerland was part of the so-called Alpine fortress and in 1944/45 a final retreat for National Socialist party and government offices and Wehrmacht headquarters. Entire governments that had been installed by the National Socialists in the Balkan states also sought refuge. At the end of the war, for example, nine pro-fascist governments in exile from Eastern Europe were in the neighboring town of Altaussee.

The Americans reached the Ausseerland on May 8, 1945. The main power of the US Army followed the next day. Before that, a self-appointed civil government under Albrecht Gaiswinkler had already formed in Bad Aussee, which maintained order and ensured that the population was fed.

Second republic
On July 1, 1948, Grundlsee was reintegrated into Styria. From 1945 to 1955 it was part of the US zone of occupation in Austria. Until 2011, Grundlsee was part of the political branch in Bad Aussee, which was converted into a branch of the Liezen district administration on January 1, 2012. As part of the Styrian municipal structural reform, a merger with the municipalities of Bad Aussee and Altaussee has been under discussion in recent years. However, since February 2013 it has been decided that the three municipalities will remain independent.

Population development
The municipality is relatively sparsely populated with a population density of 7.9 inhabitants per km² (for comparison: Styria has 75.4 and Austria 104.6 inhabitants per km²).

The rough age structure of the Grundlsee population on October 13, 2011 shows that 63.6% of the Grundlsee are over 15 and under 65 years old. 11.6% of the population are younger, 24.8% older. The proportion of women in the population is 52.6%.

According to the 2011 register census, 7.9% of those over the age of 15 have graduated from a university, technical college or academy (proportion of women: 62.5%), 11.6% have the Matura (proportion of women: 51.6%) and 54.9% have completed an apprenticeship or vocational middle school (share of women 47.8%). 25.4% of those over fifteen have only completed compulsory schooling, including 63.6% women.