River Rhine in the Netherlands Attractions Rijn
The Rhine (Dutch Rijn; Celtic Renos, Latin Rhenus, German Rhein), 1,320km/820mi long from source to sea, is Europe's most important waterway and scenically its most attractive. It originates in the western Swiss canton of Grisons, where the Vorderrhein and Hinterrhein unite to form the Alpine Rhine. It then flows through Lake Constance, goes over the Rhine Falls at Schaffhausen and continues on its way to Basle as the High Rhine. At Basle it turns north and flows through the Upper Rhine plain. Between Mainz and Bingen it follows a westerly course and then bears northwest through the Rhenish Uplands. Within the territory of the Netherlands it divides into a number of separate arms, which finally flow into the North Sea.The hydrographic pattern of the Rhine and the various arms which convey its water to the sea is highly complex, particularly since it is bound up with the course of the Maas and its various ramifications.
At the German-Dutch frontier, which for the first 8km/5mi runs along the middle of the Rhine, the river takes the name of Bovenrijn (Upper Rhine). 2km/1.25mi farther on it divides into a northern and a southern arm.
The northern arm of the Rhine is known as Pannerdens Kanaal as far as Arnhem, where the Gelderse IJssel branches off to flow into the IJsselmeer. From Arnhem to Wijk bij Duurstede it is known as the Nederrijn (Lower Rhine).
Shortly before Wijk bij Duurstede the Kromme Rijn (Winding Rhine) branches off and flows northwest towards Utrecht.
Soon after Wijk bij Duurstede the Nederrijn crosses the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal, which provides a link with the Waal; and from this point to its junction with the Noord (linking it with the Merwede) it is known as the Lek.
Within the city and port area of Rotterdam the river successively bears the names of Nieuwe Maas (New Maas; at IJsselmonde, junction with the Hollandse IJssel), Het Scheur and the Nieuwe Waterweg (New Waterway). Between the oil port of Europoort and the ferry port of Hoek van Holland (Hook of Holland) the Nieuwe Waterweg flows into the North Sea.
Beyond Utrecht the Oude Rijn (Old Rhine) pursues a winding course by way of Alphen aan den Rijn, the old university town of Leiden and Katwijk aan den Rijn to the seaside resort of Katwijk aan Zee, where it flows into the North Sea.
The southern arm of the Rhine, known as the Waal, flows past Nijmegen and continues broadly parallel to the Maas, a short distance to the south (connected by two canals; the Maas continues as the Bergse Maas and the Amer, and after its junction with the Nieuwe Merwede flows into the Hollands Diep). At Tiel the Waal is joined by the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal, which provides a connection with the Lek. From the old outflow of the Maas into the Waal near Gorinchem the southern arm of the Rhine is known as the Merwede. At Dordrecht, where the Nieuwe Merwede branches off to flow into the Hollands Diep, the Merwede divides into the Noord (connection with the Lek) and the Oude Maas (Old Maas). The Oude Maas then flows south past Rotterdam and joins the Nieuwe Maas (Het Scheur) opposite Vlaardingen.
Delta Plan of the Rhine
Under the Delta Plan, designed to protect 15,000 sq.km/5,800 sq.mi of land, the various mouths of the Rhine, the Maas and the Schelde, with the exception of the Nieuwe Waterweg and the Westerschelde, have been closed by dams. The tidal waters of the Oosterschelde are enclosed by a storm-surge barrier which is fully closed only in the event of a storm tide.
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