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Euro Football Tournament - The Mighty Rhine

Rhine River cruise ship from above

(own photograph)

What with the start of the Euro’s last night, and a hammering on the football pitch for Scotland. This got me to thinking once more, about how the Europeans and in particular the Germans use the water. So much more than we on this small Island Nation do.

If ever a time to help get traffic off our potholed roads, then we should invest in the waterways and small ports around our long coastline. With the lack of skills to work in our warship building endeavour we could start to build up the commercial shipbuilding that we once had. It would never get back to being a mainstay of manufacturing in the U.K., but it could create as many jobs as the so-called green industry.

Rhine River barge from above

(own photograph)


While we don’t have the mighty rivers that you can find in Europe, we could be using the short sea routes and the waterways to shift so much more goods, all the while building up a long-lost industry, which could also compliment the warship building and the green energy building that is required.

The River Rhine is one of the most important and iconic rivers in Europe, flowing through several countries including Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France, and the Netherlands. In Germany, the Rhine River plays a crucial role both geographically and culturally.

The Rhine originates in the Swiss Alps and flows for a total length of 1,233 kilometres (766 miles), with about 865 kilometres (537 miles) of that length flowing through Germany. As it winds its way through the German landscape, the Rhine passes through several major cities such as Cologne, Bonn, Koblenz, and Mainz.

Cologne is just one of the many great towns and Cities to visit in Germany.

Wunnenstein on the Rhine (own photograph)

The Rhine is an important commercial waterway, supporting a robust shipping and transportation industry in Germany. Barges and cargo ships regularly transport goods like coal, steel, and agricultural products along the river. The Rhine is also a popular route for river cruises, allowing travellers to take in the picturesque towns, medieval castles, and stunning natural scenery that line its banks.

Clema on the Rhine (own photograph)

Beyond its economic significance, the Rhine River has deep cultural importance in Germany. It has inspired countless works of art, literature, and music over the centuries. The legendary Lorelei rock formation along the Middle Rhine Valley, for example, has been the subject of famous poems and folk songs. The annual Rhine in Flames festival, which features impressive fireworks displays along the river, is a beloved tradition.

The Rhine has also played a major role in German history. It has served as an important defensive boundary and has witnessed many significant battles and conflicts over the centuries. The river's influence can be seen in the architecture, cuisine, and traditions of the communities that have developed along its course.

Short video of Rhine Barges moving cargo. (own work)

The Rhine is considered the most important waterway in Germany and one of the busiest rivers in the world for cargo transportation. Approximately 200 million metric tons of goods are transported annually along the Rhine, including coal, minerals, chemicals, agricultural products, and manufactured goods.

Major ports along the Rhine such as Duisburg, Cologne, and Mannheim are major hubs for intermodal transportation, allowing goods to be efficiently transferred between river barges, trains, and trucks.

Full cargo on the River Rhine (own photograph)

The Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, completed in 1992, connects the Rhine to the Danube River, providing a continuous inland waterway transportation route from the North Sea to the Black Sea.

The river brings a huge economic impact, and the Rhine shipping industry supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in Germany, including sailors, shipbuilders, dock workers, logistics coordinators, and more.

Messina on the Rhine (own photograph)

Estimates suggest the Rhine waterway generates over €80 billion in economic activity per year for Germany. Companies located along the Rhine benefit from efficient and cost-effective transportation, helping to boost their competitiveness.

The Rhine's role as a commercial artery is crucial for the export-oriented German economy, facilitating the movement of raw materials and finished goods.

The German government has invested heavily in maintaining and upgrading the Rhine's infrastructure, including locks, dams, and port facilities, to keep it functioning efficiently.

Efforts are also underway to make Rhine shipping more environmentally sustainable, such as transitioning to low-emission vessel engines.

Gas 94 is an EPowered vessel seen here on the Rhine.

Overall, the Rhine River is truly the economic backbone of Germany's transportation network, supporting industries across the country and facilitating the flow of goods both domestically and internationally. Its strategic importance to the German economy cannot be overstated.

As for the football, well Germany looked very good, although perhaps that was because Scotland looked so bad, Germany will be rightly one of the favourites while Scotland will keep trying. It seems like we are at our best when people and things are against us, we thrive on adversary.

Allianz Stadium light up in the colours of Germany and Scotland, from the bbc/scotland website.

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I enjoyed reading the article Ron.

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