When Africa comes together with Europe

The magic Line and its hole

New positioning and convincing implementation


In 2005 it seemed certain that the „Glarner Hauptüberschiebung“ – as this geotectonic peculiarity in the area bordering the three Swiss Cantons of Glarus, St. Gall and the Grisons was then known – would be rejected as a candidate for UNESCO’s World Heritage list. The examining experts had found the application to be insufficiently convincing and had declined it. After the nomination had been withdrawn, the dossier was handed to me - at that time in the employ of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) – to consider and, if appropriate, to prepare a new candidacy.

I accepted the task with pleasure and with the certainty that there was much for me to learn. For example, that here, in close proximity to Liechtenstein, some 20 to 25 million years ago as Africa and Europe moved closer together, darker and tectonically older layers of rock had been forced to overlap with younger, lighter layers, resulting in a ‚magic line‘ which can be seen from afar. That all occurred under the surface of the Earth by dint of high temperatures and massive pressure. Today – as I found out on a two-day mountain hike at the start of the project - this very special geotectonic formation is visible for more than 35 kilometres, even to the geologically untrained eye.

With the conviction that the unique value of the object could be much better accentuated and promoted, I succeeded with a team of international experts in presenting the scientific details in a new light, particularly for environmental education and the tourism industry. Out of this the trademark “Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona“ was born. Three years after the project dossier was closed, it was quite clear that the region with the tuneful name Sardona had become an outstanding universal value and this was evidenced by the fact that it was unanimously added by the World Heritage Committee to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

If you have not yet experienced the UNESCO World Heritage Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona, please do so: you will not regret it.

For a particular matter, project or task, do you have need of:

  • strategic impulses,

  • a fresh start, or

  • creative solutions

for a profitable result?

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What people think of me

 “Thanks to his wide-ranging grasp of topics concerned with biodiversity and the landscape Mr. Walder was very quickly able to see the various possible ways in which a matter might develop and to make the right decisions at the right time.”

Evelyne Marendaz, Head Division Species, Ecosystems, Landscapes; Federal Office for the Environment FOEN, Berne, Switzerland. April 2012