PROF. Walter Leimgruber


Phone: +41 26 300 90 14 | Fax: +41 26 300 97 46

E-mail: walter.leimgruber(at)


Function: Professor Emeritus in Human Geography

Personal Info

Academic Qualification

  • 1971 - PhD University of Basle (PhD thesis on population geography in part of the Basle region)
  • 1984 - University aggregation (Docent), University of Basle (Aggregation thesis – habilitation – on transborder relations on the Swiss-Italian boundary)
  • 1982 - 1985 Senior assistant, University of Fribourg
  • 1985 - 1989 Associate Professor, University of Fribourg
  • 1989 - present Professor, University of Fribourg


Professional Experience

  • 1973 – 1975 Assistant and lecturer, University of Oulu /Finland)
  • 1975 - 1982 Assistant University of Basle
  • 1982 – present Senior assistant and professor, University of Fribourg
  • 1999 Boundaries and border regions, postgraduate course, National University of Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentine
  • 2001 Human geography seminar, Punjabi University, Patiala (India)
  • 2003 Population and economic geography course, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa


  • Political boundaries and transborder issues
  • Cultural limits and questions of identity
  • Marginality and marginal regions
  • Processes behind human decisions and actions concerning environment and society


Books and chapters in Book

The global challenge and marginalization (ed. Márcio M. Valença, Etienne Nel, Walter Leimgruber), New York, Nova Science Publisher, 2008

Cepparo  M.E., Prieto E.B. & Gabrielidis G. (eds.), Rasgos de marginalidad. Diferentes enfoques y aportes para abordar su problemática. Malargüe, un ejemplo motivador, Mendoza, Facultad de Filosofia y Letras, Universidad de Cuyo, pp.41-60, 2010

Mountain regions in transformation. Edited with Walter Zscilincsar & Etienne Nel, Aachen, Shaker Verlag, 2012

Il confine e la gente. Interrelazioni spaziali, sociali e politiche fra la Lombardia e il Canton Ticino. Collana dell'Istituto di Scienze Geografiche dell'Università di Parma, vol. 7. Varese: Lativa, 1987

Boundaries, values and identity: the Swiss-Italian transborder region. in: D. Rumley & J.V. Minghi (eds.): The geography of border landscapes, p. 43-62. London: Routledge, 1991

Impact of migration in the receiving countries. Switzerland. Paris (CICRED) & Genf (IOM). 96 pp., 1992

Perceptions of marginality. Theoretical issues and regional perceptions of marginality in geographical space. (edited with H. Jussila & R. Majoral). Aldershot: Ashgate 1998

Border effects and the cultural landscape: the changing impact of boundaries on regional development in Switzerland. in: H. Knippenberg & J. Markusse (eds.): Nationalising and denationalising European border regions, 1800-2000: views from geography and history. Geojournal Library 53, p. 199-221. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1999

Land use and abuse: on the ecological and spiritual marginalization of land. in: R. Majoral, H. Jussila and F. Delgado-Cravidão (eds.): Environment and marginality in geographical space. Issues of land use, territorial marginalization and development in the new millennium. Aldershot: Ashgate, p. 7 – 24, 2000

La politica immigratoria in Svizzera, in Meneghel G.B. and Lombardi D. (eds.), Immigrazione e territorio, Bologna, Patron Editore, pp. 29-42, 2002

Biosphere reserves: sustainable development of marginal regions? (with T. Hammer) In: H. Jussila, R. Majoral and B. Cullen (eds.), Sustainable Development and Geographical Space. Issues of population, environment, globalization and education in marginal regions, pp.129-144, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2002

(ed. with Majoral R. and Lee Chul-Woo), Policies and strategies in marginal regions. Summary and evaluations, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2003

Between global and local. Marginality and marginal regions in the context of globalization and deregulation. Ashgate, Aldershot, 2004

Values, migration, and environment: an essay on driving forces behind human decisions and their consequences, in Unruh J.D., Krol M.S. & Kliot N. (eds.), Environmental change and its implications for population migrations, Kluwer, Dordrecht (Advances in Global Change Research, vol. 20),2004, p.247-266

The Right to Diversity. Human Rights from a geographical point of view, Schriften zur internationalen Entwicklungs- und Umweltforschung 6, ed. ZEU Giessen, Peter Lang, Frankfurt/M, pp.21-36, 2004


peer-reviewed papers 

Entwicklungsperspektiven des ländlichen Raumes: das Beispiel Schweiz, Materialien zur Regionalentwiclung und Raumordnung, Heft 25 (Sonderheft), Technische Universität  Kaiserslautern, pp.61-72, 2008

Regional policy and the future of the countryside in Switzerland, Questiones Geographicae, Series B Human Geography and Spatial Management, 27B/1, pp.43-52, 2008

Understanding Marginality: Recent Insights from a Geographical Perspective, with Steve Déry & Walter Zsilicsar, Hrvatski Geografski Glasnik (Croatian Geographical Bulletin) 74/1, 5 – 18, 2012

The Swiss Jura. Reflections on Marginality, Hrvatski Geografisk Glasnik (Croatian Geographical Bulletin) 75/1, 5 – 22, 2013

Defying political boundaries: transborder tourism in a regional context. in: Visions in Leisure and Business 17/3, p. 8-29, 1998

Boundaries and transborder relations, or the hole in the prison wall. GeoJournal 64,3, 2005, pp.239-248


Conference proceedings

Marginality and marginal regions: problems of definition. in: Chang-Yi D. Chang (ed.): Marginality and development issues in marginal regions. Proceedings of the IGU Study Group 'Development issues in marginal regions', p. 1-18. Taipei, National Taiwan University, 1994

Remote alpine valleys and the problem of sustainability. (mit Georg Imhof). in: L. Andersson & T. Blom (eds.): Sustainability and development. On the future of small society in a dynamic economy, p. 385-396. Univ. of Karlstad (Sweden), 1998

La communauté des immigrés érythréens à Fribourg et sa perception de l’espace urbain (with A. Brunner). in: Les défis migratoires. Actes du Colloque CLUSE «Les défis migratoires à l’aube du troisième millénaire», Neuchâtel 1998, ed. P. Centlivres & I. Girod, p. 248-260. Zürich, Seismo, 2000

In Harmony with Nature - the importance of the productivist cycle for rural areas. in: S. PELC (ed.): Developmental problems in marginal rural areas: local initiative versus national and international regulation. Proceedings of the Marginal Areas Research Initiative Meeting. Ljubljana/Preddvor, 25-29 June 2000, pp. 15-26. Ljubljana: Faculty of Education, 2001


Unit of Geography - Chemin du Musée 4 - 1700 Fribourg - Tel +41 26 / 300 90 10 - Fax +41 26 / 300 9746
nicole.equey [at] - Swiss University