The Schopfer Cowbells

I was fortunate enough to meet Hannes Moor and interview him for an article published by Gstaadlife on 24 August 2018.

Hannes Moor, a former vet, is a native of the Saanenland region and passionate about the Schopfer cowbells. These are cast brass bells famous for their distinctive melodic sound.

The cows wear the decorative bells at particular times of the year particularly during the annual procession known as the desalp.  The event usually takes place in September when the farmers bring their cattle down from the alpine pastures.

The desalpe is a traditional Swiss tradition that draws people from all over the country. They come to watch the processions of cows decorated with their bells and floral headdresses and take part in the general festivities.

According to Moor, cowbells in Switzerland date back to the 15th century. At that time, local inhabitants believed that spirits and dragons inhabited the high mountains.   The clanging balls, echoing off the surrounding peaks, chased away these evil spirits and invoked divine protection.

The Landschaft museum in Saanen is running a permanent exhibition of the Schopfer bells and has many items of the original foundry on display.