Tolochenaz, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland

Tolochenaz is a Swiss municipality in the canton of Vaud, located in the district of Morges. Tolochenaz, a preserved living environment, one of the last natural shores of Lake Geneva, the Boiron river, chosen for the reproduction of the lake trout, a river that can be walked along a didactic path laid out by the Association Truite Léman with the support of regional authorities.

The village occupies land bordering Lake Geneva. The Tolochinese territory is generally flat, but sloping towards the lake. The mouth of the Boiron de Morges, a river passing in the vicinity, forms a beach there. This same river determines a large part of the border of the municipality with Saint-Prex.

Tolochenaz is a place to discover or rediscover, it is both the witness of a distant past and the promise of a dynamic future. Audrey Hepburn, actress, lived there from 1963 in her villa in La Paisible and until her death onJanuary 20, 1993. She is buried in the village cemetery.

Remains brought to light on our territory in 1823, at the crêt du Boiron, trace the first signs of civilization known in the region to the Bronze Age. The discovery of around forty tombs was significant enough to go down in history under the name of “civilization of Boiron”.

The funerary monuments discovered in the pit margin Carolina, south of Tolochenaz, delivered graves attesting an almost continuous occupation from the Neolithic (second half of the V th millennium BC) and the Roman period (II th century AD). By preceding the extension of the gravel pit, the researchers were able to excavate nearly 200 structures and tombs, some presenting for coffins, hollowed trunks covered with slabs and placed in large pits.

Already in 561, the locality takes shape under the name of Tolochene, which will evolve into Tolochino, then Tolozzina to end up with this name which, today, carries far the notoriety of our village: Tolochenaz. The charm and the softness of the site, the tranquility of the country attract illustrious guests there, in particular the famous Polish pianist and statesman Ignace Paderewski and the actress Audrey Hepburn.

After having served as headquarters for the “Bourlapapeys”, the village retained its peasant vocation until the construction of the highway, which profoundly changed its development. The agricultural land then gave way to industrial activities as well as to collective or individual dwellings, without however disrupting the framework of the village itself, which retained its silhouette of that time. The development of economic activities was marked by the establishment of many companies and the Vaudoise School of Construction. Finally, in 1995, we were able to welcome the arrival of Medtronic Sàrl, world leader in the production of cardiac pacemakers which, together with the FVE, gives the industrial zone of Tolochenaz a high architectural quality.

Thus, from 341 inhabitants in the post-war period, Tolochenaz saw its population increase to some 1,700 inhabitants. To cope with this growth, significant investments have already been made to develop and improve our infrastructure, resize certain access points and develop the public transport network.

Medtronic has its Europe/Asia headquarters in Tolochenaz. As of 2010, Tolochenaz had an unemployment rate of 5.2%. As of 2008, there were 4 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 1 business involved in this sector. 604 people were employed in the secondary sector and there were 22 businesses in this sector. 1,110 people were employed in the tertiary sector, with 59 businesses in this sector. There were 883 residents of the municipality who were employed in some capacity, of which females made up 43.8% of the workforce.

In 2008 the total number of full-time equivalent jobs was 1,613. The number of jobs in the primary sector was 3, all of which were in agriculture. The number of jobs in the secondary sector was 581 of which 502 or (86.4%) were in manufacturing and 59 (10.2%) were in construction. The number of jobs in the tertiary sector was 1,029. In the tertiary sector; 179 or 17.4% were in wholesale or retail sales or the repair of motor vehicles, 267 or 25.9% were in the movement and storage of goods, 20 or 1.9% were in a hotel or restaurant, 71 or 6.9% were the insurance or financial industry, 289 or 28.1% were technical professionals or scientists, 40 or 3.9% were in education and 1 was in health care.

In 2000, there were 1,119 workers who commuted into the municipality and 718 workers who commuted away. The municipality is a net importer of workers, with about 1.6 workers entering the municipality for every one leaving. About 2.8% of the workforce coming into Tolochenaz are coming from outside Switzerland. Of the working population, 19.7% used public transportation to get to work, and 63% used a private car.

From the 2000 census, 626 or 38.0% were Roman Catholic, while 596 or 36.2% belonged to the Swiss Reformed Church. Of the rest of the population, there were 7 members of an Orthodox church (or about 0.43% of the population), there were 2 individuals (or about 0.12% of the population) who belonged to the Christian Catholic Church, and there were 100 individuals (or about 6.08% of the population) who belonged to another Christian church. There was 1 individual who was Jewish, and 27 (or about 1.64% of the population) who were Muslim. There were 7 individuals who were Buddhist and 4 individuals who belonged to another church. 233 (or about 14.16% of the population) belonged to no church, are agnostic or atheist, and 93 individuals (or about 5.65% of the population) did not answer the question.

In Tolochenaz about 627 or (38.1%) of the population have completed non-mandatory upper secondary education, and 285 or (17.3%) have completed additional higher education (either university or a Fachhochschule). Of the 285 who completed tertiary schooling, 53.7% were Swiss men, 26.7% were Swiss women, 12.3% were non-Swiss men and 7.4% were non-Swiss women.

In the 2009/2010 school year there were a total of 212 students in the Tolochenaz school district. In the Vaud cantonal school system, two years of non-obligatory pre-school are provided by the political districts. During the school year, the political district provided pre-school care for a total of 631 children of which 203 children (32.2%) received subsidized pre-school care. The canton’s primary school program requires students to attend for four years. There were 123 students in the municipal primary school program. The obligatory lower secondary school program lasts for six years and there were 86 students in those schools. There were also 3 students who were home schooled or attended another non-traditional school.

As of 2000, there were 15 students in Tolochenaz who came from another municipality, while 213 residents attended schools outside the municipality.

Historical heritage
The reformed church was built in 1930 by the architect Alfred de Goumoëns. Villa Riond-Bosson, built in 1882, was inhabited from 1898 to 1940 by the Polish virtuoso pianist Ignace Paderewski. Of this mansion, demolished, only an outbuilding remains, the old dovecote. Today we find on this site the School of Construction, a competence center for training in the building trades, built in 1985-1988 by the architects Bernard Gachet and Patrick Mestelan. An administrative building, to the north, with a large portico, dates from 1994-1997, while an extension, to the south, from 2001-2003, is due to the same builders.

On the lake road, crossing the Boiron de Morges stream, the bridge built in 1785 has a milestone on the north side dating from the time of the Roman emperor Marc Aurèle. It comes from Villars-sous-Yens, where the old Roman roadpassed. A stone column, not far from Boiron de Morges, near the lake road, is the last vestige of the old gibbet of Morges.

Maison of the River
La Maison de la Rivière is a center dedicated to aquatic life located on the banks of the Boiron in Tolochenaz, in the canton of Vaud (Switzerland). Inaugurated on May 6, 2015 after 8 years of work, the center combines a research station, a permanent exhibition and an educational trail. Built on the site of an old powder magazine of the army, it cost 12.5 million Swiss francs, partly provided by private funds.

La Maison de la Rivière is managed by the Fondation La Maison de la Rivière (FMDLR), a private law foundation created on December 20, 2007, chaired by Jean-François Rubin, which aims to study, research, protect, conserve and enhance aquatic ecosystems. Its founding members are the University of Lausanne, the High School of Landscape, Engineering and Architecture of Geneva and the Association Truite-Léman.

Notable residents
One of its most famous residents was the actress Audrey Hepburn, who lived there from 1963 until her death in 1993 and is buried there. Another famous resident was the legendary tenor Nicolai Gedda, who lived in retirement there with his wife.

Audrey hepburn
Audrey Hepburn was much loved by the people, who appreciated her simplicity and humility. Star of Hollywood in the 50s and 60s, muse of Givenchy, the famous British actress lived in our village from 1966 until her death on January 20, 1993. The magnificent property where she lived with her children and her companion Robert Wolders, a Dutch actor, is in private hands and therefore cannot be visited.

Nikolai Gedda
Swedish tenor Nikolai Gedda passed away on January 8, 2017 at his home in Tolochenaz, where he lived peacefully with his third wife Aino. With more than 200 records recorded and some 70 roles in his repertoire, he was one of the greatest tenors of the 20th century. Mr. Gedda had an exceptional voice and perfect diction in 7 languages. Yet he never considered himself a star. For him, his voice was a gift from God. During his long career, he has performed on the greatest opera stages in the world.