ICPR – International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine

The Rhine

The Rhine connects the Alps to the North Sea and represents the most important cultural and economic axis in Middle Europe. Its use is more intensive and varied than that of all other European rivers. In its watershed 60 million people are living in nine different states.

With its tributaries, uncounted brooks, lakes, wetlands and groundwater the Rhine forms a widely ramified network of water bodies, in which water flows in all directions, always following the slope towards the North Sea.

The water in the Rhine catchment is part of the global water cycle.

Did you know ...

that the name of the Rhine should really be “Aare“?

At the confluence with the Rhine the Aare carries the larger volume of water, which usually is the factor deciding on the naming. However, the course of the Rhine up to the confluence is longer, and thus came out on top in the naming.

Did you know ...

that the name „Rhine“ is of Celtic origin and means “great running water“?

Lateron, the Romans withheld this meaning and called the river “Rhenus“. In the different languages of the watershed the name of the Rhine is as follows:

Swiss German Rhy
Rhaeto-romanic Rein
French Rhin
Luxembourgian Rhäin
Dutch Rijn
Frisian Ryn