Length of the Rhine (Update 2015)

9 01 2015

During the 65th meeting of the CHR in May 2010 the question of the real lenght of the Rhine was disussed as a result of the publication by Bruno P. Kremer 'Der Rhein - von den Alpen bis zur Nordsee'.

The CHR members were of the opinion that the CHR should take a position in this discussion and should announce the 'real and official' length of the Rhine. It was decided that the member countries Switzerland, Germany and The Netherlands determine the official lenght of the main course for their part of the basin. The secretariat has collected these data and announces the CHR truth for the real length of the River Rhine.

Stretch 1: From the source to the Swiss-German border
Official communication of Mr. Urs Helg (Federal Office for the Environment, Dept. Water):
For all official publications the Federal Office for the Environment uses as length of the Rhine from the source to the Swiss-German border 376 km in round figures.
All other figures for the length are dependent on the observation scale, the topographical products (Federal Office for Topograpy, VECTOR25 vs. TLM) and the position of the virtual river axis in the lakes. Therefore these other legths should not be used.

Stretch 2: From the Swiss-German border to the German-Dutch border
Official communication of Mr. Jörg Uwe Belz (Federal Institute of Hydrology)

Length of the Rhine according to the German federal states

  km from to
Baden-Württemberg 266,610 Rhine bend Basel (Rhine km 170) Rhine km 437
Rhineland-Palatinate 205,272 Rhine km 437 Rhine km 642
Hessen * 107 * Rhine km 437 Rhine km 544
Northrhine-Westfalia 223,510 Border Rhineland-Palatinate Border D-NL
Sum 695,392    
* The length of the Hessian stretch is part of the length given by Rhineland-Palatinate

Lenght of the Rhine according to German technical authorities

Water and Navigation Administration (WSV) 695,500 Rhine bend Basel (Rhine km 170) Border Northrhine-Westfalia / NL (Rhine km 865,515)

Stretch 3: From the German-Dutch border to the river mouth

Official communication of Mr. Eric Sprokkereef (Rijkswaterstaat Water Management Center for the Netherlands)
German-Dutch border: Rhine km 865,515
River mouth at Hoek van Holland, 6,5 km downstream of the Maeslant storm surge barrier: Rhine km 1.032,78
According to the Rijkswaterstaat Publication 'Vaarwegen in Nederland' version 2014, the length of the Rhine in the Netherlands from the Dutch point 'Zero', location Spijksche Veer (Rhine-KM 857,4), to location Maasmond (Rhine-KM 1.032,78) is 169,35 km. Since the German stretch ends at Rhine-KM 865,515, a lenght of 865,515 - 857,4 = 8,115 km should be subtracted.

Total length in The Nethelands: 161,235 km

Official length of the Rhine according to the International Commission for the Hydrology of the Rhine basin: 376 + 695,5 + 161,2 = 1.232,7 km