Walking the Limmat Culture Trail

The Limmat Culture Trail is a loop trail along the Limmat river between Wettingen and Baden. This trail is perfect if you can’t decide between hiking and going to a museum, or if like us, you would like to go to a museum but are avoiding inside spaces because of coronavirus. Along the trail are 27 contemporary art installations by Swiss artists, some of which are quite nice. Even though we somehow missed a few as we were walking, it still made for a nice afternoon out with interesting art to admire and talk about.

Detail Summary

Where:Limmat Culture Trail, Wettingen and Baden, Canton Aargau, Switzerland
Train:Zürich HB -> Wettingen – 35 min
Zürich HB -> Baden – 30 min (15 if you can catch an express train)
What:Limmat Culture Trail (german)
Skill:Easy – About 2 hr
Length 9 km, Ascent 100 m, Descent 100 m

Additional Info

Limmat Kulturweg (German Website)

Getting There

You can start the trail below Kloster Wettingen or at the Historic Museum in Baden. We chose to start in Wettingen and we decided to drive to our starting point. There is plenty of parking at the Wettingen train station, but I read there is also parking near the Kloster Wettingen. After parking at the train station, we walked towards the river following signs to the Kloster and very shortly we found our path.

The Trail

After walking down a few switchbacks, we were along the river side. We took a left and were soon at our first art installation (“Grosses Weib” by Rudolf Blättler”) and it wasn’t long at all until we had passed two more – “Bildstock Wachstumslinie” by Anton Egloff and “Steinring” by Heinrich Richner.

We were off to a good start, although it did take us some time to realize that the concrete oval in the lower right corner of the last picture was the art piece.

The trail is divided into sections A through F. The sections are defined by bridges across the Limmat so it is possible to walk smaller loops. We intended to hike the entire loop so while we joined the trail in loop B, we didn’t cross the first bridge we came to, as we didn’t want to miss loop A. Loop A contains 9 different artworks rather close together, and although we kept a close eye out, I’m not sure we saw them all, but here are two that did catch our eye – “Espace Parole” by Anton Egloff and an untitled work by Ursula Hirsch.

As you can see in the background of the second picture, the wooden bridge there is under construction. Normally, this would be where you would cross the river at the end of the trail. As we could not cross at the wooden bridge, we followed the construction detour that took us over the taller concrete bridge. Although not a part of the “official” artwork, we did find the graffiti on the concrete bridge interesting. And it tied in rather nicely with one of the official artworks we saw on the other side of the river.

The unofficial graffiti made sense to us – it was tags, dates, and “Black Lives Matter.” But the official work by Daniel R. Hunziker titled “Wenn ich nicht will, stehe ich still” (If I don’t want to, I stand still ) and which said “Esel hat starkes Übergewicht” (“the donkey is very over weight”), did not.

The next work that really got our attention was the “Gespräch über den Fluss” (“Conversation over the River”) by Hans Anliker. This work composed of two mesh metal faces, spans the bridge dividing sections A and B of the trail. We had passed it earlier but gave it a closer look when we came across it again on the other side.

While the artwork was interesting, the bridge itself was too. The bridge was an old-style suspension bridge supported by a new-style suspension bridge. A plaque on the bridge described the different suspension techniques used.

The next object on the trail to grab our attention was also engineering related and not artwork – the metal water wheel in the first picture below. At the bridge separating sections B and C were several art pieces including the work in the second photo below titled “Shatt Al-Arab, Basra” by Thomas Galler and one of the three works titled “3x Form” by Lucie Shenker that you can see along the trail. Of the three, this is the one we liked best.

While we were primarily on the trail to enjoy the art, that didn’t stop us from enjoying the natural beauty of the trail too. The leaves were just beginning to turn and we were almost sure this old stump was art.

As we continued down the trail, several of the next pieces we saw, while interesting, did not photograph well. But this one, “Lichtung” by Gillian White really popped when viewed through the camera.

When we arrived at the pretty town of Baden, we crossed the wooden bridge. By doing so, we missed the F loop of the trail. Another time perhaps. We were just so distracted by how charming the streets and bridge were.

After crossing the river, we headed back in the direction we had come. I think we were walking a bit too fast as I am sure we missed some of the artwork on our return journey. Still, we enjoyed what we saw.

The artwork in the first picture is not an “official” artwork of the trail so I was unable to find attribution for it. In the second picture is “Weglager” by Toni Calzaferri. In the last picture is “Steinskulptur” by Albert Schilling. You can see Kloster Wettingen in the background of the final art piece as it was located just about where we had started the trail.

Getting Back

The trail is a loop, so when we got back to where we started, we simply walked back to the train station where we were parked and headed home. An easy walk and a nice day out. This trail is open all year round so it is a good choice when the higher elevation trails are closed.

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