Burgdorf (Fr. Berthoud), an industrial town in the Swiss canton of Bern. It is built on the left bank of the Emme and is 14 m. by rail N.E. of Bern. The lower (or modern) town is connected by a curious spiral street with the upper (or old) town. The latter is picturesquely perched on a hill, at a height of 1942 ft. above sea-level (or 167 ft. above the river); it is crowned by the ancient castle and by the 15th-century parish church, in the former of which Pestalozzi set up his educational establishment between 1798 and 1804. A large trade is carried on at Burgdorf in the cheese of the Emmenthal, while among the industrial establishments are railway works, and factories of cloth, white lead and tinfoil. In 1900 the population was 8404, practically all Protestants and German-speaking. A fine view of the Bernese Alps is obtained from the castle, while a still finer one may be enjoyed from the Lueg hill (2917 ft.), north-east of the town. The castle dates from the days of the dukes of Zäringen (11th-12th centuries), the last of whom (Berchtold V.) built walls round the town at its foot, and granted it a charter of liberties.
On the extinction (1218) of that dynasty both castle and town passed to the counts of Kyburg, and from them, with the rest of their possessions, in 1272 by marriage to the cadet line of the Habsburgs. By that line they were sold in 1384, with Thun, to the town of Bern, whose bailiffs ruled in the castle till 1798.
(W. A. B. C.)