The Whitsun weekend is all about the anniversary

Intangible UNESCO Cultural Heritage Dürrnberg Sword Dance on 4 June at Berchtesgaden's Schlossplatz

The anticipation for the Bergfest on 5 June 2017 in Berchtesgaden is growing.The excitement is particularly high this year because the major event in Berchtesgaden is all about the 500th anniversary of the local salt mine.“Church and festival processions with guilds, miners' and miners' bands, miners' and marksmen's associations as well as fire brigade associations from the nearby and wider region of Berchtesgadener Land provide a colourful and appropriate setting for this extraordinary birthday,” says Peter Botzleiner-Reber, head of tourism at the Berchtesgaden Salt Mine, underlining the significance of the event on Whit Monday from 6 am.One of the highlights of the public celebrations is the festive service on the Schlossplatz at 10 a.m. with Reinhard Cardinal Marx followed by a procession with 2,500 participants through the market town of Berchtesgaden.

On the occasion of this outstanding anniversary, those responsible in the salt mine have come up with something very special.At the traditional festival announcement by the miners' band, the Dürrnberg sword dancers will perform for the first time one day before on Whitsunday at 9 pm on the stage at Schlossplatz in Berchtesgaden.In 12 successive scenic group pictures, the essential work processes of the miners in the salt mines, performed by 16 dancers, can be marvelled at.The Dürrnberg Sword Dance, which was listed as an intangible UNESCO cultural heritage in 2011, lasts about 45 minutes and offers a spectacle of a special kind. Already from 7 p.m., the Berchtesgaden Music School and afterwards the market and miners' band will provide the atmosphere on the Schlossplatz.And Berchtesgaden's gastronomy has special treats in store for visitors.

Photo released for editorial publication BU:Dürrnberg sword dancers at an event in Salzburg Photo:Johann F. Schatteiner

Guest list in extracts

  • Prime Minister Horst Seehofer
  • Prince Leopold of Bavaria
  • Mayor Berchtesgaden Franz Rasp
  • Chief Mayor of Bad Reichenhall Dr. Herbert Lackner
  • District Administrator Georg Grabner
  • MP Michaela Kaniber Mayors from the region
  • Lord Mayor of the City of Heilbronn Harry Mergel
  • Board of the Südwestdeutsche Salzwerke AG
  • Supervisory Board of the Südwestdeutsche Salzwerke AG


The programme will be moderated by Markus Othmer

Berchtesgaden Salt Mine

Active salt mining since 1517, making it the oldest active salt mine in Germany

1517 by Gregor Rainer, Imperial Prelate and Provost of the Berchtesgaden Monastery

Operating time
Since its foundation without interruption

Brine production per year
approx. 1.000.000 m³

Wet mining

Mountain salinity
An average of 50 %

Approx. 100 at the Berchtesgaden site

Technical data
Extension of a drilling mud plant: up to 160 m long, 120 m wide, 125 m high
Active wet mining plants:30
Daily mining progress: approx. 1 cm upwards
Usable mining height:100 m
Operating life of a drilling fluid plant: approx. 30 years
Brine production per wet mining plant during the entire operating period: approx. 1.300.000 m³

Size of the deposits
South-West to North-East:4.5 km (2.5 km in mining)
North-west to south-east:1.5 km (1.5 km in mining)
Proven storage depth:500 m below the valley floor
Presumed bearing depth:1,000 m below the valley floor

Südwestdeutsche Salzwerke AG, Heilbronn
Spokesman of the Board, Ulrich Fluck
Board of Directors, Wolfgang Rüther

Duration of the guided tour through the visitor mine
1.5 to 2 hours including ticket purchase and changing clothes
(Overall partly with lighting elements for underground use)

Visitors per year
Approx. 382.000 (2016)

Salt shop:150 m²
Visitor centre:600 m²
Tunnels in the entire salt mine: approx. 30 km
Route length visitor pit railway:1.400 m
Length of the first slide:34 m
Length of the second slide:40 m

Opening hours
1 May to 31 October: daily 9 AM to 5 PM*
2 November to 31 March: daily 11 AM to 3 PM*
1 April to 30 April: daily 10 AM to 3 PM*
(*last admission)

Good Friday, Whit Monday, 1 November, 24 and 25 December, 31 December, 1 January

Site Manager
Raimund Bartl

Head of Department Tourism
Peter Botzleiner-Reber


Press article

This text can be used for press publications.All rights remain with „Salzbergwerk Berchtesgaden, Südwestdeutsche Salzwerke AG“.