Executive summary.

Built in 1838 by Johann Kon­rad Bech­ter as a court seat, mul­ti­ple chan­ges of ownership.
The Nat­ters have been inn­kee­pers for 3 genera­ti­ons. Sin­ce 2005 Hele­ne Nußbaumer-Natter and Diet­mar Nußbaumer.

History for history lovers.

From the life of the Kronenwirtinnen.

And the builder of the crown.

Era Hele­ne and Diet­mar (sin­ce 2005) — told by Hele­ne Nussbaumer-Natter

Becau­se in a com­pa­ny of our size, a lot depends on the inn­kee­pers and their coope­ra­ti­on, I’ll start with how Diet­mar and I got together.

We met very ear­ly, when I was 15, I went to hotel manage­ment school in Inns­bruck and we went out tog­e­ther as a group a few times, but then we did­n’t see each other for a long time. Diet­mar then worked in Lech for 10 years as a manage­ment assi­stant, as did I after hotel manage­ment school in 1997 — actual­ly we almost had eye con­ta­ct, but we did­n’t see each other all win­ter. We then met again at an event in Wol­furt — we’­re still puz­zled today whe­ther that was coin­ci­dence or fate. We’­ve been tog­e­ther ever sin­ce. First pri­va­te­ly, later also on business.

Diet­mar star­ted out in ser­vice at the Kro­ne and has gra­du­al­ly grown into the fami­ly, the com­pa­ny and the place. We took over the Kro­ne in 2005 , but I think we real­ly — mental­ly and emo­tio­nal­ly — took over with our first con­ver­si­on in autumn 2007.

Sin­ce then, the clocks have ticked fas­ter – we now share almost all of the hotel rooms with our friend and archi­tect Ber­nar­do Bader and the craft­s­men of the regi­on, the par­lors, the recep­ti­on and the hotel ent­ran­ce, the fire­place room and sin­ce then we’­ve had 2 more peop­le: our boys Oskar and Max bring a lot of momen­tum to the shop ;-).

We are cul­tu­ral­ly invol­ved with our rea­ding room, the Mar­cel Proust Days, the “Guests in the Crown” seri­es and other coope­ra­ti­ons. Tog­e­ther with Flo­ri­an Aicher, Diet­mar brings out the Edi­ti­on Kro­ne, a small seri­es of books on topics rela­ted to our house. It was very important to me that the Kro­ne beco­mes an orga­nic hotel, which is what the­se times demand, becau­se the eco­lo­gi­cal foot­print of our indus­try is lar­ge and we like to be one of the tra­vel desti­na­ti­ons whe­re you can holi­day with a clear conscience.

I think Diet­mar and I make a good team: Diet­mar is crea­ti­ve and a host with body and soul. I like being in the back­ground (pre­fer­a­b­ly at the back of the patis­se­rie becau­se I just love des­serts!), a good team play­er and a good con­ver­sa­ti­on part­ner for our employees. We both have high qua­li­ty stan­dards and are consistent.

Whe­re you can see our two per­so­na­li­ties qui­te well is when you look in front of our

“Krömle-Box” is writ­ten, in which we sell sou­ve­nirs: I made the home­ma­de jams, the crown tea mix­tures deve­lo­ped with a her­ba­list in Alber­schwen­de, bis­cuits from our bak­e­ry, beau­ti­ful cand­les, etc., the books are from Diet­mar — the edi­ti­on kro­ne , the werk­raum kro­ne book — which docu­ments our first con­ver­si­on and also con­tains reci­pes from the Kro­nen kit­chen — as well as other selec­ted books from the region.

I am proud that we are still very hap­py with the two major reno­va­tions ( 2007 and 2010 ) and the con­struc­tion of the sau­na in 2018. I see that as a sign of well-considered decisi­ons. And I am very proud that we have many employees who have been loy­al to us for years — Bea­te and Ema­nue­la for almost 30 years, Johan­na, Fat­ma and Figen for more than 10 years etc. — that’s just nice!

The­re are also a lot of peop­le on the guest side who keep com­ing back to us — some sin­ce I was a child mys­elf. I’m also hap­py every day when the home­ma­de bread and cakes rise in the oven. But what is most important to me is that we as a fami­ly – all three genera­ti­ons of Nuss­baum­ers and Nat­ters – get along well and stand together.

Wilma and Herbert era (1971 to 2005)

told by Wil­ma Natter 

Her­bert and I got to know each other at a St. Nicho­las wreath at the Jun­ges Gast­ge­wer­be in Blu­denz — he asked me to dance. Which made me hap­py, becau­se I had noti­ced it befo­re. At that time, Her­bert was a cashier at the Young Hos­pi­ta­li­ty Tra­de, he sat in a smart suit at the end of a long table and smo­ked. That was in 1969.

The day after the Niko­laus­kränz­le, Her­bert was drin­king cof­fee at the Engel in Schwarz­ach, my par­ents’ house. My father was immedia­te­ly taken with Her­bert, who is 11 years older than me — he always said, “A man under 30 is a ‘trul­lar’ — that is, a good-for-nothing — and he appre­cia­ted Herbert’s good man­ners and dry sen­se of humour.

I still remem­ber one of my first visits to the Kro­ne: In the evening a wed­ding was announ­ced in the Kro­nen­saal and I was asked to go out onto the ter­race: the­re they gave me a Bos­nian cake (which is still baked accord­ing to the same reci­pe today) and cara­mel cream ( pre­pa­red for the evening) was ser­ved, it was won­der­ful. I noti­ced that the­re was a very neat kit­chen, ever­ything was imma­cul­ate­ly clean, but also a bit sober, the­re were hard­ly any flowers in the house. I would have lik­ed to deco­ra­te the­re. A litt­le later I some­ti­mes hel­ped out in the ser­vice depart­ment at the Kro­ne. I par­ti­cu­lar­ly remem­ber a car­ni­val ball, which was more like run­ning the gaunt­let for me. I was “scru­ti­ni­zed” by the who­le village.

Important events

In 1971 we got married.

In 1972, pret­ty soon after the wed­ding, we ope­ned the base­ment bar. That was some­thing spe­cial back then… our per­so­nal young hos­pi­ta­li­ty pro­ject, at that time cock­tails like “Welt­frie­den” and “Moc­caf­lip” were in vogue and we had a pro­fes­sio­nal bar­ten­der from the Arl­berg. The Kro­ne cel­lar bar was the only bar in the vil­la­ge, with all the advan­ta­ges and dis­ad­van­ta­ges that that entails…

In 1973 our daugh­ter Isa­bel­la was born, who is now self-employed as an inno­va­ti­on con­sul­tant and lives with her fami­ly in Lin­ge­nau — ie nearby.

It might sound fun­ny, but a big deal for us was the Sala­det­te, which we bought in 1973 — a ref­ri­gera­ted salad cabi­net that was outra­ge­ous­ly expen­si­ve at the time but real­ly is still in use today! We often went to Switz­er­land to eat on the rest day, the­re were already

Raw vege­ta­ble salads, while we were still coo­king ever­ything. I have always pla­ced a lot of empha­sis on the salad and to this day I still think that the way a salad is pre­pa­red says a lot about a kitchen.

In 1976 our daugh­ter Hele­ne was born.

That was also a very important busi­ness year for Her­bert and me: the balls were no lon­ger a busi­ness and run­ning the hall was pro­ble­ma­tic over­all: for the neigh­bors, for the guests in the house and for us as a young fami­ly too. So, with a hea­vy heart, we tore down the Kro­nen­saal – de fac­to half the house – and built guest rooms with a total of 35 beds, a hotel with a lift, recep­ti­on, fire­place room. I still vivid­ly remem­ber the dis­cus­sions with site mana­ger Wal­ter Hau­ser – Hele­ne lay in the pram and we tal­ked for many evenings.

From 1977 it was necessa­ry to fill the house. We had pre­vious­ly had indi­vi­du­al guests from Alsace who were enthu­si­astic about the Bre­gen­zer­wald and we thought: good distance, nice peop­le, that would be a mar­ket. So tog­e­ther with Ger­trud and Otto Seiz from Ifen­blick in Sibratsgfäll we sim­ply went to Alsace in the off-season and went to tra­vel agencies.

That brought us good guests by the bus and, through recom­men­da­ti­ons in Alsace, also com­pa­ny outings from che­mi­cal labo­ra­to­ries, refi­ne­ries, clubs and seni­or citi­zen groups.

Ano­t­her important part­ner later beca­me the Dut­ch bus com­pa­ny Leo Thys­sen, which brought groups to the house for many years.

At the end of the 1980s , qua­li­ty bus tou­rism col­lap­sed – the pri­ce war began, it was­n’t a fun time. We had to offer very chea­ply and soon we had two bre­ak­fast buf­fets — one for bus tra­velers and one for pri­va­te travelers.

We then worked con­sist­ent­ly to only get more pri­va­te guests — a tough time. Hel­pful was our good kit­chen, fami­ly cele­bra­ti­ons, diners who recom­men­ded us and litt­le by litt­le pri­va­te hotel guests have arrived.

From 1992

In Novem­ber, the wine mer­chant Wal­ter Amann came to talk and congra­tu­la­ted him on the toque, an award in the recent­ly publis­hed Gault Mil­lau gour­met gui­de — we did­n’t know anything about it, becau­se we weren’t asked if we wan­ted to be tes­ted! We were total­ly sur­pri­sed and very hap­py! After that, many cooks came to eat, e.g. Ernst Huber, at that time cer­tain­ly the most famous top chef in Vorarlberg.

Actual­ly, we have always had many host col­leagues as guests. It was never that com­pe­ti­ti­ve – Her­bert con­tri­bu­t­ed a lot to that with his dry humor and his cor­rect­ness. Chefs and hosts are very good guests, we always appre­cia­ted that!

2005

This year our daugh­ter Hele­ne and our son-in-law Diet­mar took over the crown. We are very gra­te­ful and hap­py that our life’s work remains in the fami­ly and is deve­lo­ping so well. We haven’t lived in the Kro­ne for a long time, but we’­re still the­re several times a week and are hap­py to help out here and there.

About coo­king

We tra­v­eled a lot and collec­ted inspi­ra­ti­on every year. We then imple­men­ted or trans­la­ted it at home – with local ingredients.

In 1984 , Edgar Hus­ser from Alsace was on vaca­ti­on in the Kro­ne — he ran the Auber­ge d’Ar­zen­heim, a very good restau­rant. I was then able to spend a week on the “sta­ge” in the kit­chen and lear­ned how to cook fish and also took a lot of other things with me that we did­n’t know before.

We have collec­ted inspi­ra­ti­on over the many years in Tici­no, Alsace, Friu­li, Tusca­ny, Pied­mont, Umbria, Ligu­ria, Cin­que Terre, Rome, Cana­ry Islands, Aus­tra­lia, Thai­land, Sin­g­a­po­re, Hong Kong, but also on spa tre­at­ments in Wal­ters­dorf and Rakersdorf.

We were always impres­sed by what was coo­ked on site, the simp­le coun­try cui­sine: ste­wed oni­ons with corn por­ridge, the who­le fish in salt dough or sama fish with pink gar­lic stea­med on the Cana­ry Islands, cod with tomatoes in Luc­ca, who­le fawn roas­ted with herbs in Friu­li, fennel salad with oran­ges, lemon ice cream with wild straw­ber­ries in Tusca­ny, sea fish in white wine stock with the first Char­don­nay in Australia, .…

I’m proud of:

That we get along well in the fami­ly – that we are the­re for each other. That we have good suc­ces­sors. That our daugh­ters both go their own way. And of cour­se we are very proud of our four grand­child­ren, who are all won­der­ful litt­le personalities.

Her­bert and I have always stuck tog­e­ther — if we can do things tog­e­ther, then we can do anything! We are both epi­cu­re­ans and crea­ti­ve and have ide­as in very dif­fe­rent ways.

My wish has always been that we are and can remain a good coun­try inn, not a fan­cy hotel. A good coun­try inn whe­re ever­yo­ne feels at home. I don’t like it when you “sift” peop­le. We mana­ged that well in our crown time.

Apollonia and Walter Natter era (1930 to 1965)

In 1930, the bro­thers Oskar and Wal­ter Nat­ter, who alrea­dy own the post office in Bezau, bought the Hit­ti­s­au­er Kro­ne from the Läs­ser fami­ly from Alber­schwen­de. Soon after, the bro­thers split up the houses and Wal­ter (1899 to 1971) took over the crown. He hires an expe­ri­en­ced cook from the post office kit­chen. It comes as it must, and the wed­ding is celebrated.

Appo­lo­nia, cal­led Plo­ne (1907 to 1980) joins the list of pro­mi­nent people
crown hos­tes­ses. By the way, at her husband’s request, she wore the Bre­gen­zer­wald cos­tu­me year in and year out, even in the sum­mer when she was stre­nuous to work on the lar­ge wood stove.

In 1934 daugh­ter Eri­ka was born. Soon she can be found all over the crown as her mother’s right hand. Even befo­re her bro­ther Her­bert, who was three years youn­ger, took over the house, she was the crown land­la­dy for a while.

After the war, busi­ness slow­ly picked up again. On Sundays, the par­lors fill up for a morning pint. You drink lemo­na­de, bot­t­led beer (the bre­we­ry only deli­vers bar­rels on high holi­days), wine: Kal­te­rer, Lag­rein Kret­zer, Gum­polds­kirch­ner. War refu­gees from the East lodge on the third floor, and now and then the­re is a wed­ding, a fun­e­ral feast.

The first balls take place in 1947/48 : the bet­ter gen­tle­men dri­ve up in sleighs, sta­ble hands unhitch the hor­ses and take care of the hor­ses, peop­le dance abo­ve the sta­ble (today the hotel wing), feast in the par­lors: schnit­zel, roast pork, meat­lo­af, sau­sa­ges with sauer­kraut. At that time, the sup­ply of regio­nal pro­ducts was more than a mar­ke­ting slo­gan: it was a necessa­ry mat­ter of course.

In the mid- 1950s , the men’s room and the South Tyro­lean room were con­ver­ted into a dining room. In 1952 , the tool shed in the rear part of the Kro­ne was trans­for­med into a hall: the famous Wed­nes­day dance evenings take place here — for years the most important dating event in the Bregenzerwald.

Johann Konrad Bechter

(5/11/1796 – 5/17/1845)
Far­mer, buil­der, mayor
From notes by Dr. Anton Stoeckler

Kon­rad Bech­ter came to Hit­ti­s­au from Lin­ge­nau with his mother at the age of six­teen in 1812 . His father died in 1802 , as did his 5 sib­lings when they were still todd­lers. Mother and son sold their homes­tead in Lin­ge­nau and bought a pro­per­ty in Hit­ti­s­au with the proceeds.

In 1814 , the young man, who was self-employed from an ear­ly age, bought the “Son­ne” inn oppo­si­te, along with the asso­cia­ted farm. In 1820 he acqui­red ano­t­her adjoi­ning farm­s­tead. In 1816 , at the age of 20, he mar­ried Kris­ti­na Hag­spiel, from the Hir­schen inn, who was seven years his seni­or. The­se bold steps, which were unusual­ly ear­ly for the time, took place in extre­me­ly dif­fi­cult eco­no­mic times.

From 1816 to the sum­mer of 1818 , extre­me­ly sno­wy and long win­ters, cold and rai­ny spring and sum­mer mon­ths had to be endu­red, which led to a gre­at shor­ta­ge of food, which ulti­mate­ly could only be brid­ged by grain deli­ve­ries from Egypt.

Bet­ween 1817 and 1820 , Kris­ti­na Bech­ter gave birth to five child­ren, three of whom died in infan­cy. Mean­while, her hus­band beca­me a buil­der on a grand sca­le. He rebuilt the “Son­ne” inn and added a dance hall on the first floor. The lower part of the house still stands today. First and fore­mo­st, Kon­rad Bech­ter was a far­mer. He set up a flou­ris­hing farm in Hittisau-Rain. Even then, good milk pro­duc­tion was the prio­ri­ty, and Kon­rad Bech­ter was an excel­lent expert when it came to buy­ing and tra­ding catt­le. He was born into a heyday of good milk con­ver­si­on and took advan­ta­ge of this opportunity.

The basis for this was, among other things, the good sales oppor­tu­nities for cheese in the vast area of the Impe­ri­al and Roy­al Monarchy.

Bech­ter was par­ti­cu­lar­ly for­tu­n­a­te in acqui­ring shares in the alp from his child­less rela­ti­ves. Bech­ter built lar­ge sta­bles and farm buil­dings on the difficult-to-reach Alps for his far-reaching, generous­ly modern alpi­ne far­ming. On the Alpe Ober­bal­der­schwang, for examp­le, Bech­ter tore down the old huts and built a barn for 100 cows. Gra­du­al­ly he beca­me the lar­gest far­mer and owner of the Alps in the ent­i­re Bregenzerwald.

It was only a mat­ter of time befo­re the suc­cess­ful far­mer took on a cor­re­spon­ding role in the public life of his com­mu­ni­ty. In 1827 , the peop­le of Hit­ti­s­au elec­ted the young eco­no­mist Kon­rad Bech­ter as head (= mayor); he held this posi­ti­on until his ear­ly death in 1845. Incre­a­sing catt­le and cheese exports as well as popu­la­ti­on growth in gene­ral neces­si­ta­ted urgent inno­va­tions in transport.

With gre­at zeal, Bech­ter pushed for the con­struc­tion of the Gschwendto­bel Bridge over the Sub­er­sach, through which the Vor­derb­re­gen­zer­wald was to be con­nec­ted to the road from Alber­schwen­de to Egg and the Hin­ter­wald. engi­neer Alo­is Negrel­li (who later plan­ned the Suez Canal), who was then a civil engi­neer at the Bre­genz District Office (and drew up many valu­able plans for Vor­arl­berg), also sub­mit­ted one for the Gschwendto­bel Bridge and Bech­ter eager­ly hel­ped with the rea­liz­a­ti­on of this urgent pro­ject from 1833–1835 . (This bridge is one of the few remai­ning cove­r­ed woo­den bridges).

With the same zeal, Bech­ter also sup­por­ted the district cap­tain Ebner against all resis­tance to the con­struc­tion of the Schwarz­acht­o­bel road, which in 1835–1837 brought very valu­able reli­ef to the con­nec­tion bet­ween the Rhi­ne Val­ley and the Bre­gen­zer­wald. Bech­ter spo­ke on behalf of the Vord­er­wald com­mu­nities to make 90,000 guil­ders avail­ab­le for the road pro­jects men­tio­ned, for which he was pro­mi­sed that the Müselbach-Lingenau con­nec­tion would also be rea­li­zed after­wards. Howe­ver, this was delay­ed for years.

Ulti­mate­ly, the­re are two buil­dings right on the vil­la­ge squa­re that ensu­re Bechter’s las­ting fame. On the one hand, of cour­se, the parish church ( 1843 — 184 5), and direct­ly oppo­si­te the Gast­hof Kro­ne (1838), which Bech­ter had ori­gi­nal­ly inten­ded as the seat of a regio­nal court: one of the many wis­hes of the rest­less gover­nor that did not come true. The church its­elf, tem­pora­ri­ly inau­gu­ra­ted five mon­ths after Bechter’s death, had to wait ano­t­her 8 years for its completion.

A cost esti­ma­te of 40,000 guil­ders was drawn up for the con­struc­tion of the church in 1841, after com­ple­ti­on 60,000 guil­ders are said to have been cal­cu­la­ted. An almost over­whel­ming amount of work was requi­red of the church peop­le. Sand and gra­vel had to be scoo­ped up in Sub­er­sach, a good 2 kilo­me­ters away, and pas­sed on hand to hand in buckets to the con­struc­tion site. In addi­ti­on to the eco­no­mic upswing, Bech­ter was not spa­red from per­so­nal and eco­no­mic blows of fate. His wife died in 1835 when the 6 sur­vi­ving child­ren were bet­ween 4 and 18 years old (a total of 15 child­ren were born). At least once bet­ween 1838 and 1841 , foot-and-mouth dise­a­se rava­ged Bechter’s lar­ge live­stock; the cheese tra­de was pro­hi­bi­ted for rea­sons of epi­de­mic hygie­ne, the­re were no catt­le mar­kets. In July 1841 a storm raged that kil­led at least 100,000 trees.

workroom crown

Yesterday used to be…

(taken from the book werk­raum krone)

In 1930 , the bro­thers Oskar and Wal­ter Nat­ter, who alrea­dy own the post office in Bezau, bought the Hit­ti­s­au­er Kro­ne from the Läs­ser fami­ly from Alber­schwen­de. Soon after, the bro­thers divi­ded up the houses and Wal­ter (1899 to 1971) took over the crown. He hires an expe­ri­en­ced cook from the post office kitchen…

It comes as it must, and the wed­ding is cele­bra­ted. Appo­lo­nia, cal­led Plo­ne ( 1907 to 1980 ) joins the list of pro­mi­nent landlords. By the way, at her husband’s request, she wore the Bre­gen­zer­wald cos­tu­me year in and year out, even in the sum­mer when she was stre­nuous to work on the lar­ge wood stove.

In 1934 daugh­ter Eri­ka was born. Soon she can be found all over the crown as her mother’s right hand. Even befo­re her bro­ther Her­bert, who was three years youn­ger, took over the house, she was the crown land­la­dy for a while.

After the war, busi­ness slow­ly picked up again. On Sundays, the par­lors fill up for a morning pint. You drink lemo­na­de, bot­t­led beer (the bre­we­ry only deli­vers bar­rels on high holi­days), wine: Kal­te­rer, Lag­rein Kret­zer, Gum­polds­kirch­ner. War refu­gees from the East lodge on the third floor, and now and then the­re is a wed­ding, a fun­e­ral feast.

1947/48 first balls: the bet­ter gen­tle­men dri­ve up in sleighs, sta­ble hands unhitch the hor­ses, take care of the hor­ses, the­re is dan­cing in the lar­ge Kro­nen­saal abo­ve the sta­bles (today the hotel wing), feas­ting in the par­lors: schnit­zel, roast pork, meat­lo­af, sau­sa­ges with sauer­kraut. At that time, the sup­ply of regio­nal pro­ducts was more than a mar­ke­ting slo­gan: it was a necessa­ry mat­ter of course.

In the mid-1950s , the men’s room and the South Tyro­lean room were con­ver­ted into a dining room. In 1952 , the tool shed in the rear part of the Kro­ne was trans­for­med into a hall: the famous Wed­nes­day dance evenings take place here — for years the most important dating event in the Vor­de­rer Bregenzerwald.