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Simmental cow in front of the Wildstrubel massif

Kind originals of the Simmental

Four-legged celebrity of the Simmental

A fine coat shimmering in the sunlight, ears twitching to flick the flies away. First, a cautious look with large, wide eyes. Then she lifts her head and curiously sniffs the air in the direction of the visitors.

The Simmental cow is world famous

The breed is particularly large and very robust, with a white head and short horns that curve forwards. Their coat is light brown, reddish with white spots – only the legs are completely white. The Simmental cow’s delicious milk, exquisite meat and excellent qualities as a mother cow are valued across the world.

Simmental cows are instantly recognisable with their white and fluffy heads. Here in the Simmental they wear their horns with pride and can look back on a history stretching back to the Middle Ages.

Simmentaler Kuh Hörner
Horns of a Simmental cow

Be part of the family

The cows spend the summer on the alpine meadows with their herders

«Our cows are not just numbers to us; they all have names and are almost like family», laughs mountain farmer Hansueli Klopfenstein. He proudly points to the picture of Juliette, who was awarded the accolade of most beautiful Simmental cow at the Alpine festival a few years ago. The former «Miss Lenk» exudes outer and inner beauty.

«Cows are very sensitive creatures», Klopfenstein continues. «If I’m in a bad mood or annoyed, they notice immediately.» Children make friends with the animals quickly, stretching out their little hands to stroke the soft coat. And they love to try their hand at milking and cheese making.

The cows are milked twice a day, at 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. This is done seven days a week – whether it’s a working day, a Sunday or a public holiday.

It is an exhausting daily routine of which the many visitors remain blissfully unaware.

Milking the cow
Milking the cow

The bare essentials

All you can hear are the cowbells and the sounds of nature

A slight breeze and the bees and crickets in the meadow down the slope. There is a wonderful unimpeded view out over the whole valley. Mountain life in the 21st century is still traditional and simple. You can’t help but forget the stresses of everyday life and become aware of how little you need to be happy.

Approach with respect

The cow that answers to the name «Spiegel» snorts loudly, quietly chews the grass and gazes curiously whenever anyone comes near. Hiking trails often lead through cow pastures. «But that doesn’t mean that you can approach the cows», warns the mountain farmer. «You have to treat the cows with respect and judge whether they really want to be stroked. It is important to be aware that, although cows are peaceful, they have a strong maternal instinct and can become very aggressive if you come too close to their calves.»

It’s time to begin the return journey. But not without a large piece of alpine cheese packed safely in your rucksack. A last look back. The cows watch you, their gentle gaze almost seeming to say that they hope to see you again.

Klopfenstein's Simmentaler cow «Spiegel»
Klopfenstein’s Simmentaler cow «Spiegel»