The Elbe (/ˈɛlbə/; Czech: Labe (help·info) [ˈlabɛ]; German: Elbe [ˈɛlbə]; Low German: Elv, historically in English also Elve) is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia (Czech Republic), then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km (68 mi) northwest of Hamburg. Its total length is 1,094 kilometres (680 mi).
The Elbe river basin, comprising the Elbe and its tributaries, has a catchment area of 148,268 square kilometres (57,247 sq mi), the fourth largest in Europe. The basin spans four countries, with its largest parts in Germany (65.5%) and the Czech Republic (33.7%). Much smaller parts lie in Austria (0.6%) and Poland (0.2%). The basin is inhabited by 24.4 million people.
The Elbe (Labe) near Děčín, Czech Republic
The Elbe drainage basin
|Country||Czech Republic, Germany|
|Region||Hradec Králové, Pardubice, |
Central Bohemia, Ústí nad Labem,
Brandenburg, Lower Saxony,
|Cities||Hradec Králové, Pardubice, Ústí nad Labem, Děčín, Dresden, Meißen, Wittenberg, Dessau, Magdeburg, Hamburg, Stade, Cuxhaven|
|- location||Krkonoše, Czech Republic|
|- elevation||1,386 m (4,547 ft)|
|0 m (0 ft)|
|Length||1,094 km (680 mi)|
|Basin size||148,268 km2 (57,247 sq mi)|
|- average||870 m3/s (31,000 cu ft/s)|
|- minimum||493 m3/s (17,400 cu ft/s)|
|- maximum||1,232 m3/s (43,500 cu ft/s)|
|- average||303 m3/s (10,700 cu ft/s)|
|- left||Vltava, Ohře, Mulde, Saale, Ohre, Ilmenau, Este, Lühe, Schwinge, Oste, Medem|
|- right||Jizera, Schwarze Elster, Havel, Elde, Bille, Alster, Mrlina|
The Elbe rises at an elevation of about 1,400 metres (4,593 ft) in the Krkonoše (also known as Giant Mountains or in German as Riesengebirge) on the northwest borders of the Czech Republic near Labská bouda. Of the numerous small streams whose waters compose the infant river, the most important is the Bílé Labe, or White Elbe. After plunging down the 60 metres (197 ft) of the Labský vodopád, or Elbe Falls, the latter stream unites with the steeply torrential Malé Labe, and thereafter the united stream of the Elbe pursues a southerly course, emerging from the mountain glens at Jaroměř, where it receives Úpa and Metuje.
Here the Elbe enters the vast vale named Polabí (meaning "land along the Elbe"), and continues on southwards through Hradec Králové (where Orlice flows in) and then to Pardubice, where it turns sharply to the west. At Kolín some 43 kilometres (27 mi) further on, it bends gradually towards the north-west. At the village of Káraný, a little above Brandýs nad Labem, it picks up the Jizera.
At Mělník its stream is more than doubled in volume by the Vltava, or Moldau, a major river which winds northwards through Bohemia. Upstream from the confluence the Vltava is in fact much longer (434 kilometres (270 mi) against 294 kilometres (183 mi) of the Elbe so far), and has a greater discharge and a larger drainage basin. Nonetheless, for historical reasons the river retains the name Elbe, also because at the confluence point it is the Elbe that flows through the main, wider valley while the Vltava flows into the valley to meet the Elbe at almost a right angle, and thus appears to be the tributary river.
Some distance lower down, at Litoměřice, the waters of the Elbe are tinted by the reddish Ohře (Eger). Thus augmented, and swollen into a stream 140 metres (459 ft) wide, the Elbe carves a path through the basaltic mass of the České Středohoří, churning its way through a picturesque, deep, narrow and curved rocky gorge.
Shortly after crossing the Czech-German frontier, and passing through the sandstone defiles of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, the stream assumes a north-westerly direction, which on the whole it preserves right to the North Sea.
The river rolls through Dresden and finally, beyond Meißen, enters on its long journey across the North German Plain passing along the former western border of East Germany, touching Torgau, Wittenberg, Dessau, Magdeburg, Wittenberge, and Hamburg on the way, and taking on the waters of the Mulde and Saale from the west, and those of the Schwarze Elster, Havel and Elde from the east. In its northern section both banks of the Elbe are characterised by flat, very fertile marshlands (Elbe Marshes), former flood plains of the Elbe now diked.
At Magdeburg there is a viaduct, the Magdeburg Water Bridge, that carries a canal and its shipping traffic over the Elbe and its banks, allowing shipping traffic to pass under it unhindered.
From the sluice of Geesthacht (at kilometre 586) on downstream the Elbe is subject to the tides, the tidal Elbe section is called the Low Elbe (Unterelbe). Soon the Elbe reaches Hamburg. Within the city-state the Unterelbe has a number of branch streams, such as Dove Elbe, Gose Elbe, Köhlbrand, Northern Elbe (Norderelbe), Reiherstieg, Southern Elbe (Süderelbe). Some of which have been disconnected for vessels from the main stream by dikes. In 1390 the Gose Elbe (literally in English: shallow Elbe) was separated from the main stream by a dike connecting the two then-islands of Kirchwerder and Neuengamme. The Dove Elbe (literally in English: deaf Elbe) was diked off in 1437/38 at Gammer Ort. These hydraulic engineering works were carried out to protect marshlands from inundation, and to improve the water supply of the Port of Hamburg. After the heavy inundation by the North Sea flood of 1962 the western section of the Southern Elbe was separated, becoming the Old Southern Elbe, while the waters of the eastern Southern Elbe now merge into the Köhlbrand, which is bridged by the Köhlbrandbrücke, the last bridge over the Elbe before the North Sea.
The Northern Elbe passes the Elbe Philharmonic Hall and is then crossed under by the old Elbe Tunnel (Alter Elbtunnel), both in Hamburg's city centre. A bit more downstream the Low Elbe's two main anabranches Northern Elbe and the Köhlbrand reunite south of Altona-Altstadt, a locality of Hamburg. Right after both anabranches reunited the Low Elbe is passed under by the New Elbe Tunnel (Neuer Elbtunnel), the last structural road link crossing the river before the North Sea. At the bay Mühlenberger Loch in Hamburg at kilometre 634, the Northern Elbe and the Southern Elbe (here now the cut-off meander Old Southern Elbe) used to reunite, which is why the bay is seen as the starting point of the Lower Elbe (Niederelbe). Leaving the city-state the Lower Elbe then passes between Holstein and the Elbe-Weser Triangle with Stade until it flows into the North Sea at Cuxhaven. Near its mouth it passes the entrance to the Kiel Canal at Brunsbüttel before it debouches into the North Sea.
|Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav||18,134|
|Ústí nad Labem||93,409|
The Elbe has been navigable by commercial vessels since 1842, and provides important trade links as far inland as Prague. The river is linked by canals (Elbe Lateral Canal, Elbe-Havel Canal, Mittellandkanal) to the industrial areas of Germany and to Berlin. The Elbe-Lübeck Canal links the Elbe to the Baltic Sea, as does the Kiel Canal, whose western entrance is near the mouth of the Elbe. The Elbe-Weser Shipping Channel connects the Elbe with the Weser.
By the Treaty of Versailles the navigation on the Elbe became subject to the International Commission of the Elbe, seated in Dresden. The statute of the Commission was signed in Dresden on February 22, 1922. Following articles 363 and 364 of the Treaty of Versailles, Czechoslovakia was entitled to lease its own harbour bassin, Moldauhafen in Hamburg. The contract of lease with Germany, and supervised by the United Kingdom, was signed on February 14, 1929 ending in 2028. Since 1993 the Czech Republic holds the former Czechoslovak legal position.
Before Germany was reunited, waterway transport in Western Germany was hindered by the fact that inland navigation to Hamburg had to pass through the German Democratic Republic. The Elbe-Seitenkanal (Elbe Lateral Canal) was built between the West German section of the Mittellandkanal and the Lower Elbe to restore this connection. When the two nations were reunited, works were begun to improve and restore the original links: the Magdeburg Water Bridge now allows large barges to cross the Elbe without having to enter the river. The often low water levels of the Elbe no longer hinder navigation to Berlin.
The Elbe is crossed by many ferries, both passenger and car carrying. In downstream order, these include:
First attested in Latin as Albis, the name Elbe means "river" or "river-bed" and is nothing more than the High German version of a word (albiz) found elsewhere in Germanic; cf. Old Norse river name Elfr, Swedish älv "river", Norwegian elv "river", Old English river name elf, and Middle Low German elve "river-bed".
The Elbe was recorded by Ptolemy as Albis (Germanic for "river") in Germania Magna with its source in the Asciburgis mountains (Krkonoše, Riesengebirge or Giant Mountains), where the Germanic Vandalii lived.
The Elbe has long been an important delineator of European geography. The Romans knew the river as the Albis; however, they only attempted once to move the Eastern border of their empire forward from the Rhine to the Elbe, and this attempt failed in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD, after which they never seriously tried again. In the Middle Ages it formed the eastern limit of the Empire of Charlemagne. The river's navigable sections were also essential to the success of the Hanseatic League and much trade was carried on its waters.
Since the early 6th century the areas east of the rivers Elbe and Saale (which had been depopulated since the 4th century) were populated by Slavic tribes called the Polabian Slavs. From the 10th century onward, these lands were conquered by the Ottonian Dynasty and slowly Germanized, including during the Wendish Crusade of 1147.
The Elbe delineated the western parts of Germany from the eastern so-called East Elbia, where soccage and serfdom were more strict and prevailed longer, than westwards of the river, and where feudal lords held bigger estates than in the west. Thus incumbents of huge land-holdings became characterised as East Elbian Junkers. The Northern German area north of the Lower Elbe used to be called North Albingia in the Middle Ages. When the four Lutheran church bodies there united in 1977 they chose the name North Elbian Evangelical Lutheran Church. Other, administrative units were named after the river Elbe, such as the Westphalian Elbe département (1807–1813) and the Lower Elbe département (1810), and the French département Bouches-de-l'Elbe (1811–1814).
In 1945, as World War II was drawing to a close, Nazi Germany was caught between the armies of the western Allies advancing from the west and the Soviet Union advancing from the east. On 25 April 1945, these two forces linked up near Torgau, on the Elbe. The event was marked as Elbe Day. After the war, the Elbe formed part of the border between East Germany and West Germany.
The Amselsee (also Amselsee Rathen) is a small reservoir in the spa town of Rathen in Saxon Switzerland. It is located in the Free State of Saxony in Eastern Germany.Boizenburg
Boizenburg is a municipality in the Ludwigslust-Parchim district in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany. It is situated on the right bank of the Elbe, 53 km west of Ludwigslust, 25 km northeast of Lüneburg and 50 km east of Hamburg. It is part of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Boizenburg's historical old town stretches along the Elbe, has a harbour and offers heritage baroque timberframe and brick buildings.
As per the dictates of the Yalta Conference, Boizenburg was placed just a few kilometers behind the perimeter of the Iron Curtain, otherwise known as the 'Inner German Border'.Dresden
Dresden (German pronunciation: [ˈdʁeːsdn̩] (listen); Upper and Lower Sorbian: Drježdźany; Czech: Drážďany; Polish: Drezno) is the capital city of Saxony, Germany, on the River Elbe near the Czech border.Dresden has a long history as the capital and royal residence for the Electors and Kings of Saxony, who for centuries furnished the city with cultural and artistic splendor, and was once by personal union the family seat of Polish monarchs. The city was known as the Jewel Box, because of its baroque and rococo city centre. The controversial American and British bombing of Dresden in World War II towards the end of the war killed approximately 25,000 people, many of whom were civilians, and destroyed the entire city centre. After the war restoration work has helped to reconstruct parts of the historic inner city, including the Katholische Hofkirche, the Zwinger and the famous Semper Oper.
Since German reunification in 1990 Dresden is again a cultural, educational and political centre of Germany and Europe. The Dresden University of Technology is one of the 10 largest universities in Germany and part of the German Universities Excellence Initiative. The economy of Dresden and its agglomeration is one of the most dynamic in Germany and ranks first in Saxony. It is dominated by high-tech branches, often called “Silicon Saxony”. The city is also one of the most visited in Germany with 4.3 million overnight stays per year. The royal buildings are among the most impressive buildings in Europe. Main sights are also the nearby National Park of Saxon Switzerland, the Ore Mountains and the countryside around Elbe Valley and Moritzburg Castle. The most prominent building in the city of Dresden is the Frauenkirche. Built in the 18th century, the church was destroyed during World War II. The remaining ruins were left for 50 years as a war memorial, before being rebuilt between 1994 and 2005.
Dresden has nearly 560,000 inhabitants, the agglomeration is the largest in Saxony with 780,000 inhabitants.
According to the Hamburgische Weltwirtschaftsinstitut (HWWI) and Berenberg Bank in 2017, Dresden has the fourth best prospects for the future of all cities in Germany.Dvůr Králové nad Labem
Dvůr Králové nad Labem (Czech pronunciation: [ˈdvuːr ˈkraːlovɛː ˈnad labɛm], German: Königinhof an der Elbe) is a town in the Czech Republic in Hradec Králové Region, in the Labe (Elbe) river valley. It is located in the Eastern Bohemia close to the Czech highest mountains Krkonoše.Děčín
Děčín (Czech pronunciation: [ˈɟɛtʃiːn]; German: Tetschen, 1942–45: Tetschen–Bodenbach) is a town in the Ústí nad Labem Region in the north of the Czech Republic. It is the largest town and administrative seat of the Děčín District. From 1938 to 1945 it was one of the municipalities in Sudetenland, then controlled by Nazi Germany.Eisenbahnen und Verkehrsbetriebe Elbe-Weser
EVB Eisenbahnen und Verkehrsbetriebe Elbe-Weser GmbH is a German railway and bus company offering passenger and freight services that is headquartered in Zeven and Bremervörde. The company was created in 1981 by the merger of the two companies Wilstedt-Zeven-Tostedter Eisenbahn GmbH (founded in 1912) and Bremervörde-Osterholzer Eisenbahn GmbH (founded in 1907).
Between 1991 and 1993, the company acquired further railway lines from the Deutsche Bundesbahn and merged with the Buxtehude-Harsefelder Eisenbahn in 1993, so that the total network length reached 285 km.
The company offers a passenger rail service between Bremerhaven and Hamburg via Bremervörde that carries one million passengers per year. It also operates seventeen bus lines with four million passengers per year as well as freight services between Bremerhaven, Bremen and Hamburg. Using rented Siemens Dispolok locomotives, it also operates freight trains to Southern Germany and has recently announced to acquire two new Eurorunner diesel locomotives. During the summer months, a heritage railway service between Bremervörde and Osterholz-Scharmbeck, called the Moorexpress, is in operation.Elbe, Washington
Elbe () is a census-designated place (CDP) in Pierce County, Washington, Washington, United States. The population was 29 at the 2010 census.
The Elbe Evangelical Lutheran Church, a tiny white church built by the German immigrants who established the community, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 8, 1976. The Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad begins its excursion trains in Elbe, with seasonal tours to Mineral Lake, just 3 miles south.Elbe-Elster
Elbe-Elster is a Kreis (district) in the southern part of Brandenburg, Germany. Neighboring districts are Teltow-Fläming, Dahme-Spreewald, Oberspreewald-Lausitz, Meißen,
Nordsachsen and Wittenberg. The district has a partnership with the Märkischer Kreis.Elbe Sandstone Mountains
The Elbe Sandstone Mountains, also called the Elbe sandstone highlands (German: Elbsandsteingebirge; Czech: Labské pískovce) is a mountain range straddling the border between the state of Saxony in southeastern Germany and the North Bohemian region of the Czech Republic, with about three-quarters of the area lying on the German side. The mountains are also referred to as Saxon Switzerland and Bohemian Switzerland in both German and Czech (Sächsische Schweiz and Böhmische Schweiz in German, Saské Švýcarsko and České Švýcarsko in Czech) or simply combined as Saxon-Bohemian Switzerland. In both countries, the mountain range has been declared a national park. The name derives from the sandstone which was carved by erosion. The river Elbe breaks through the mountain range in a steep and narrow valley.Electricity sector in Germany
Germany's electrical grid is part of the Synchronous grid of Continental Europe. In 2018, Germany produced 540 TWh of electricity of which 40% was from renewable energy sources, 38% from coal, and 8% from natural gas.While nuclear power production decreased only slightly from 2013 to 2014, electricity generated from brown coal, hard coal, and gas-fired power plants significantly decreased by 3%, 9.5%, and 13.8%, respectively. Germany will phase-out nuclear power by 2022.Irminones
The Irminones, also referred to as Herminones or Hermiones (Ancient Greek: Ἑρμίονες), were a large group of early Germanic tribes settling in the Elbe watershed and by the 1st century AD expanding into Bavaria, Swabia and Bohemia. Notably this included the large sub-group of the Suevi, that itself contained many different tribal groups, but the Irminones also for example included the Chatti.
Irminonic or Elbe Germanic is also therefore a term for one of the unattested dialect groups ancestral to the West Germanic language family, especially the High German languages, which include modern Standard German.Lauenburg
Lauenburg (listen ), or Lauenburg an der Elbe (Lauenburg/Elbe), is a town in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is situated on the northern bank of the river Elbe, east of Hamburg. It is the southernmost town of Schleswig-Holstein and belongs to the Kreis (district) of Herzogtum Lauenburg. Lauenburg had a recorded population on 31 December 2013 of 11,253.Lili Elbe
Lili Ilse Elvenes (28 December 1882 – 13 September 1931), better known as Lili Elbe, was a Danish transgender woman and among the early recipients of sex reassignment surgery.Elbe was born Einar Magnus Andreas Wegener, and was a successful painter under that name. During this time she also presented as Lili (sometimes spelled Lily) and was introduced publicly as Einar's cousin.
After successfully transitioning in 1930, she changed her legal name to Lili Ilse Elvenes and stopped painting altogether. The name Lili Elbe was given to her by Copenhagen journalist Louise Lassen. She died from complications involving a uterus transplant. Her autobiography Man into Woman was published posthumously in 1933.List of bridges in Hamburg
This list of bridges in Hamburg has no claim to be complete, but rather just give an overview of their history and scope. For this article, the bridges are listed by Hamburg's three major rivers (Alster, Bille and Elbe) and the respectively crossed body of water (river, creek, canal, fleet, harbor basin or else). The Elbe is by far the largest of the three. Unlike Alster and Bille, the Elbe is also within the North Sea's tidal influence, and Elbe bridges differ substantially from the ones on Alster and Bille. All three rivers are fed by a number of smaller rivers and also feature a number of branches or sidearms.
Hamburg has the most bridges of any city in Europe. Besides the Hanseatic city's mercantile and maritime history, the many rivers, canals and bridges constitute to Hamburg's association as the "Venice of the North". A 2004 report by the Department for Roads, Bridges and Waterways (LSBG) states a total number of 2,496 bridges in Hamburg, many more than cities like Venice, Amsterdam or Saint Petersburg. Given the city's waterborne geography and the port's heavy duty requirements, bridges in Hamburg also cover a great variety of architectural styles and innovative structural systems. Function-wise the total number of bridges break down to 1,172 road bridges, 987 railroad bridges (of which 407 Hochbahn bridges) and 470 footbridges (of which 290 within public parks and green spaces). 383 bridges are under management of the Hamburg Port Authority.The most notable bridges in Hamburg include the historic inner-city bridges passing the Lower Alster (plus canals), the bridges across Speicherstadt canals, and the grand bridges spanning the Elbe's Norderelbe and Süderelbe anabranches, most commonly known as Elbbrücken.Polabian Slavs
Polabian Slavs (Lower Sorbian: Połobske słowjany, Polish: Słowianie połabscy, Czech: Polabští slované) is a collective term applied to a number of Lechitic (West Slavic) tribes who lived along the Elbe river in what is today Eastern Germany. The approximate territory stretched from the Baltic Sea in the north, the Saale and the Limes Saxoniae in the west, the Ore Mountains and the Western Sudetes in the south, and Poland in the east. They have also been known as Elbe Slavs (German: Elbslawen) or Wends. Their name derives from the Slavic po, meaning "by/next to/along", and the Slavic name for the Elbe (Labe in Czech and Łaba in Polish).
The Polabian Slavs started settling in the territory of modern Germany in the 6th century. They were largely conquered by Saxons and Danes since the 9th century and were subsequently included and gradually assimilated within the Holy Roman Empire. The tribes were gradually Germanized and assimilated in the following centuries; the Sorbs are the only descendants of the Polabian Slavs to have retained their identity and culture.
The Polabian language is now extinct. However, the two Sorbian languages are spoken by approximately 60,000 inhabitants of the region and the languages are regarded by the government of Germany as official languages of the region.Port of Hamburg
The Port of Hamburg (German: Hamburger Hafen) is a sea port on the river Elbe in Hamburg, Germany, 110 kilometres from its mouth on the North Sea.
It's Germany's largest port and is named the country's "Gateway to the World" (Tor zur Welt). In terms of TEU throughput, Hamburg is the third-busiest port in Europe (after Rotterdam and Antwerp) and 15th-largest worldwide. In 2014, 9.73 million TEUs (20-foot standard container equivalents) were handled in Hamburg.The port covers an area of 73.99 km² (64.80 km² usable), of which 43.31 km² (34.12 km²) are land areas. The location is naturally advantaged by a branching Elbe, creating an ideal place for a port complex with warehousing and transshipment facilities. The extensive free port was established when Hamburg joined the German Customs Union. It enabled duty-free storing of imported goods and also importing of materials which were processed, re-packaged, used in manufacturing and then re-exported without incurring customs duties. The free port was abandoned in 2013.Schönebeck
Schönebeck (German: [ˈʃøːnəbɛk] (listen)) is a town in the district of Salzlandkreis, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the left bank of the Elbe, approx. 14 kilometres (9 miles) southeast of Magdeburg.
For much of the twentieth century it was noted for its large salt mine.
The manor house of Schönebeck was owned by Count Heinrich von Blumenthal, Mayor of Magdeburg, until 1810.
The firm of Sellier & Bellot opened a munitions factory there in the 1829.The Brick Testament
The Brick Testament is a project created by Elbe Spurling in which Bible stories are illustrated using still photographs of dioramas constructed entirely out of Lego bricks.
The project began as a website in October 2001 that featured six stories from the book of Genesis, and is completely unaffiliated with the Lego company. There is also a Brick Testament book series.Throughout stories are retold using passages from the Bible, with chapter and verse cited, the wording being a free adaptation that Spurling says is based on a number of public domain Bible translations. Occasionally, mostly when images are being used to contrast with the underlying scripture, Spurling dramatises the images with additional text. Such text is displayed in gray instead of the usual black.Ústí nad Labem
Ústí nad Labem (Czech pronunciation: [ˈuːsciː ˈnad labɛm] (listen)), formerly known by its German name Aussig, is the 7th-most populous city of the Czech Republic. It is the capital of its eponymous region and district. Ústí is situated in a mountainous district at the confluence of the Bílina and Elbe rivers. It is a major industrial center and, besides being an active river port, is an important railway junction.