5,241 (Sep 30, 2009)
Laufen (French: Laufon) is a municipality and the capital of the district of Laufen in the canton of Basel-Country in Switzerland.
Laufen is a principal train station for the surrounding area, connecting it to Basel.
Between 58 BC and 470 AD, Laufen was part of the Roman Empire; after the empire collapsed it was part of the Alemanish area for several decades. During the early sixth century, the entire valley came into the possession of France, and from 853 until 1033 it was part of the Burgundian Kingdom. In 999 Rudolf III, the childless king of Burgundy donated most of the Laufen valley territory to the Archbishopric of Basel.
Laufen is first mentioned in 1141 as Loufen. For a time, it was known by its French name Laufon. In 1295 Peter Reich von Reichenstein founded the small town of Laufen.
Laufen has an area, as of 2009, of 11.37 square kilometers (4.39 sq mi). Of this area, 3.07 km2 (1.19 sq mi) or 27.0% is used for agricultural purposes, while 6 km2 (2.3 sq mi) or 52.8% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 2.15 km2 (0.83 sq mi) or 18.9% is settled (buildings or roads), 0.1 km2 (25 acres) or 0.9% is either rivers or lakes and 0.02 km2 (4.9 acres) or 0.2% is unproductive land.
Of the built up area, industrial buildings made up 3.5% of the total area while housing and buildings made up 8.3% and transportation infrastructure made up 5.0%. Power and water infrastructure as well as other special developed areas made up 1.1% of the area while parks, green belts and sports fields made up 1.1%. Out of the forested land, 51.5% of the total land area is heavily forested and 1.2% is covered with orchards or small clusters of trees. Of the agricultural land, 18.7% is used for growing crops and 7.7% is pastures. All the water in the municipality is flowing water.
The municipality is the capital of the Laufen district. It consists of the old city of Laufen, within the city walls, the settlement outside the walls by the waterfall and since the 20th Century, settlements on both sides of the Birs river. The old city and the settlement outside the walls merged in 1852.