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Natural heritage

At the start of the 19th century, the Rhine's flow changed with each rising, creating and destroying islands and peninsulas, supplying humid zones and marshes. This large river took several meanderings, divided into several branches and sometimes spread over several kilometres in width. At this time, the ecosystem developed according to the whims of the river. Salmon swam upstream to spawn and the alluvial forests were created along the edge of the river. But in order to protect the villages from flooding, sanitize the marshes, ensure a better flow of the rising waters, and recover new land for farming, the River Rhine has been gradually tamed and canalised, further to significant development work. Nowadays, several nature reserves have been opened and maintain some of the last natural landscapes of the River Rhine. Don't miss them!

  • Biesbosch National Park

    Biesbosch Natural Park lies in a brackwater zone in which freshwater and saltwater mix. Lying in the estuary of the Rhine and Maas in the North Sea, Biesbosch provides the ideal habitat for numerous kinds of animals and plants. Normal long ago for the western part of the Netherlands, large areas of reeds, meadows, islands full of willow trees and marshy woodland are still to be found in the national park. All the various forms of vegetation have been protected in Biesbosch, one of the biggest national parks in the Netherlands, since 1994.

  • Nature reserve of the Offendorf forest

    Located on a former Rhine gravel bank, the nature reserve protects 60 hectares of alluvial forest. The whole of the natural site, deprived since 1977 of the Rhine's floods and their contributions in nutritious sediment, is flooded, at the start of the summer, by the rising of the water table during the period of the Rhine's high waters. Gigantic trees, mysterious reed beds and a large variety of water birds make up the attractions of this Alsace jungle.

  • River Linge

    108 kilometres in length, it is the longest river flowing solely in the Netherlands. Flowing from east to west, it runs through the Betuwe region from Doorenburg to Gorinchem. Motorized boats are not allowed on the Linge unless the "Watershap Rivierenland" (the Dutch waterways authority) issues a permit for the stretch between Geldermalsen and the Kanal van Steenenhoek.

  • The Kromme Rijn, or Crooked Rhine

    The secondary branch of the Rhine is 17 miles long. Known as the Kromme Rijn, or Crooked Rhine, it was an important waterway until the construction of a dam in 1122 during the Middle Ages. Still flowing gently, the Kromme Rijn has maintained a pleasant landscape, with castles and private estates built alongside the river. Eurovélo 15 crosses the Kromme Rijn at the town of Wijk bij Duurstede.

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