Lake Biel

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Lake Biel
Lake Bienne
Bielersee.jpg
Location Canton of Berne
Coordinates 47°5′N 7°10′E / 47.083°N 7.167°E / 47.083; 7.167Coordinates: 47°5′N 7°10′E / 47.083°N 7.167°E / 47.083; 7.167
Catchment area 8305 km²
Basin countries Switzerland
Max. length 15 km
Max. width 4.1 km
Surface area 39.3 km²
Max. depth 74 m
Water volume 1.12 km³
Residence time 58 days
Surface elevation 429 m
Islands Sankt-Petersinsel
Settlements Biel/Bienne (see list)

Lake Biel or Lake Bienne (German: Bielersee, French: Lac de Bienne) is a lake in the west of Switzerland. Together with Lake Morat and Lake Neuchâtel, it is one of the three large lakes in the Jura region of Switzerland. It lies approximately at 47°5′N 7°10′E / 47.083°N 7.167°E / 47.083; 7.167 (Lake Biel), at the language boundary between German & French speaking areas.

The lake is 15 km long and up to 4.1 km wide. Its surface area is 39.3 km², the maximum depth 74 m. The lake is located at 429 metres above sea level.

Lake Biel has a catchment area of about 8,305 km². Water remains in the lake for an average of 58 days. The river Aare, the river Zihl/Thielle flowing from Lake Neuchâtel, the Twannbach draining water down from the surplombing first Jura mountain range and the river Suze draining water down from the Vallon de St. Imier, are the main tributaries. The river Aare was redirected into the lake in 1878, in order to prevent the flooding of the nearby area called "Seeland", and drains the water out of the lake down to Büren through a simultaneously man-made channel. The level of all three lakes is being controlled by a dam built across the channel, in Port.

The largest settlement along the shores of Lake Biel are the bilingual city of Biel/Bienne and its sister city Nidau, both located on the northern end The Sankt-Petersinsel (island) attracts tourists, mainly families. The island is located near Erlach. Jean-Jacques Rousseau once spent a few months on the island.

One of the main business in the area is the watch and affiliated microtechnic industries. World famous watch brands have their sites and headquarters in the area, including the Swatch Group and Rolex movements manufacture.

The lake's surface is the lowest point of the canton of Neuchâtel.

Cities and villages on the lake[edit]

The lake at Bienne

As the lake is located on the border of the French and German language regions, most places have names in both languages, though not all versions are still in use.

External links[edit]

Lake Bienne, view from Nidau