Rhine River Basin

  • Daphne Willems
  • Esther Blom
Reference work entry


With a length of 1,320 km and a river basin of 168,757 km2, the Rhine is the largest river in Northwest Europe. On its way, the Rhine passes through eight countries: Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. In the nineteen-eighties, the water and spatial quality of the river were very poor. A chemical disaster stimulated international cooperation at river basin level. Restoration measures started in the nineties, with success. Key principles used are Working with Nature (Room for the River), Integrated approaches, strategic partnerships and flagship species. The latter has been used to bring parties from different backgrounds together, and unite them in their efforts. The working with Nature approach involves the entire river basin: from the mountains, where water can be stored near the source in natural sponges; the middle reaches, where the Room for the River concept can be applied; and the Delta, where natural processes can keep pace with a rising sea level. Although many challenges are still there, nowadays the salmon and sturgeon are back in the Rhine.


ICBR International cooperation Living Rivers River basin approach River restoration River Rhine Smart Rivers Working with nature 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.WWF-NetherlandsZeistThe Netherlands

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