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The Rhine

The Rhine has always played an important role in the economic development of the regions alongside it. Navigable over more than 800 kilometres, between its mouth and the Swiss town of Basel, the large European river acts as an economic route on which millions of tonnes of goods are transported each year. In 2011, this figure rose to 187 million tonnes. One of the largest economic centres in Europe is located on the edge of the River Rhine: the immense industrial complex of the Ruhr, made up by the conglomeration of around ten German towns, has some 5.2 million inhabitants. From the end of the 18th century, the hydraulic power of the River Rhine was converted into electricity, through a series of hydroelectric works built along the waterway.Some of these structures can be visited, like in Kembs, in the Haut-Rhin department.

  • The Rhine Falls

    Only a few hundred metres downstream from Schaffhausen is one of Europe's most powerful and impressive waterfalls. 150 metres wide and 23 metres high water flows over the falls at an average of 750 m3 per second. The wild spectacle of the Rhine hurtling over the rocks attracts hundres of thousands of sightseers every year. Boat rides enable visitors to get even closer to the falls.

  • Duisburg Inner Harbour

    Where grain was once stored and milled, visitors will today find museums, restaurants and a marina - Mediterranean flair right in the centre of the city. The old harbour has been transformed into an ambitious urbanistically and architecturally attractive city quarter.

  • Fish ladder in Gambsheim

    Weirs, locks and a fish ladder at Gambsheim. To meet shipping, agricultural and power generation requirements, weirs and hydraulic plants have been built on the River Rhine. These often create obstacles difficult for migrating fish to overcome on their way to their spawning ground. To enable them to reach the Rhine basin, Germany and France signed an agreement in 1997 to construct fish ladders at the hydro-electric plants in Iffezheim and Gambsheim. The Gambsheim fish ladder, opened in 2006, is the largest in Europe. An observation room enables visitors to watch the salmon, eels, trout and river herrings on their way upstream.

  • Lake Toma

    Located at the foot of Piz Baduz at an altitude of 2345 metres, Lake Toma is considered to be the source of the River Rhine. A one-hour walk away from the Oberalp Pass in Graubünden, it is the only place where the river can be crossed in one stride. With a surface area of 2.5 hectares, it is also the start of a 1230 kilometre journey through four European countries to the North Sea.

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