Weser

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This article is about the river in Germany. For the river in eastern Belgium, see Vesdre.
Coordinates: 53°32′8″N 8°33′56″E / 53.53556°N 8.56556°E / 53.53556; 8.56556
Weser
Werser (Low German)
River
Weser2.JPG
The Weser near Bad Oeynhausen.
Name origin: *weis, germanic, meaning to flow
Country Germany
Bundesland Bremen, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Thuringia, Hessen
Tributaries
 - left Diemel, Emmer, Werre, Große Aue, Hunte
 - right Aller, Lesum
Cities Bremerhaven, Bremen, Minden, Hamelin, Hann. Münden, Kassel, Fulda
Source
 - location Confluence of the Fulda and Werra rivers in Hann. Münden
 - elevation 116 m (381 ft)
 - coordinates 51°25′17″N 9°38′53″E / 51.42139°N 9.64806°E / 51.42139; 9.64806
Mouth Wadden Sea/North Sea
 - location Bremerhaven/Nordenham
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
 - coordinates 53°32′8″N 8°33′56″E / 53.53556°N 8.56556°E / 53.53556; 8.56556
Length 452 km (281 mi)
Basin 46,306 km2 (17,879 sq mi)
Discharge
 - average 327 m3/s (11,548 cu ft/s)
Watershed of the Weser
Orthographic projection centred over Bremen and the Weser watershed.png

The Weser (German pronunciation: [ˈveːzɐ]) is a river in north-western Germany. Formed at Hannoversch Münden by the confluence of the rivers Fulda and Werra, it flows through Lower Saxony, then reaching the Hanseatic-town Bremen (see: Hanseatic League), before emptying 50 km further north at Bremerhaven into the North Sea. On the opposite (west) bank is the town of Nordenham at the foot of the Butjadingen Peninsula; thus, the mouth of the river is located in Lower Saxony. The Weser has an overall length of 452 km. Together with its Werra tributary, which originates in Thuringia, its length is 744 km.

Etymology[edit]

Linguistically, the name of both rivers, Weser and Werra, goes back to the same source, the differentiation being caused by the old linguistic border between Upper und Lower German, which touched the region of Hannoversch Münden.

The name Weser parallels the names of other rivers such as the Wear in England and the Vistula in Poland, all of which are ultimately derived from the root *weis- "to flow", which gave Old English/Old Frisian wāse "mud, ooze", Old Norse veisa "slime, stagnant pool", Dutch waas "lawn", Old Saxon waso "wet ground, mire", and Old High German wasal "rain".

Course[edit]

The Weser river is the longest river to reach the sea, the course of which lies entirely within German national territory.

The upper part of its course leads through a hilly region called the Weserbergland. It extends from the confluence of the Fulda and the Werra to the Porta Westfalica, where it runs through a gorge between two mountain chains, the Wiehengebirge in the west and the Weserbergland in the east.

Between Minden and the North Sea humans have largely canalised the river, permitting ships of up to 1,200 tons to navigate it. Eight hydroelectric dams stand along its length. It is linked to the Dortmund-Ems Canal via the Coastal Canal, and another canal links it at Bremerhaven to the Elbe River. A large reservoir on the Eder river, the main tributary of the Fulda, is used to regulate water levels on the Weser so as to ensure adequate depth for shipping throughout the year. The dam, built in 1914, was bombed and destroyed by British aircraft in May 1943, causing massive destruction and approximately 70 deaths downstream, but was rebuilt within four months. As of 2013 the Edersee reservoir, a major summer resort area, provides substantial hydroelectricity.

The Weser enters the North Sea in the southernmost part of the German Bight. In the North Sea it splits up into two arms representing the ancient riverbed at the end of the last ice age. These sea-arms are called Alte Weser (old Weser) and Neue Weser (new Weser). They represent the major waterways for ships heading for the harbors of Bremerhaven, Nordenham and Bremen. The Alte Weser lighthouse marks the northernmost point of the Weser. This lighthouse replaced the historic and famous Roter Sand lighthouse in 1964.

Tributaries[edit]

The largest tributary of the Weser is the Aller, which joins south of Bremen. The tributaries of the Weser and the Werra (from source to mouth) are:

Left[edit]

Right[edit]

Notable towns[edit]

Towns along the Weser, from the confluence of Werra and Fulda to the mouth, include: Hann. Münden, Beverungen, Höxter, Holzminden, Bodenwerder, Hameln, Hessisch Oldendorf, Rinteln, Vlotho, Bad Oeynhausen, Porta Westfalica, Minden, Petershagen, Nienburg, Achim, Bremen, Brake, Nordenham, Bremerhaven.

Sources[edit]

Origin of the name[edit]

  • Dieter Berger: Geographische Namen in Deutschland. Duden-Verlag, Mannheim 1999.
  • Hans Krahe: Sprache und Vorzeit. Quelle & Meyer, Heidelberg 1954. (Zur alteuropäischen Hydronomie.)
  • Julius Pokorny: Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. Francke, Bern 1959.

Geology[edit]

  • Karsten Meinke: Die Entwicklung der Weser im Nordwestdeutschen Flachland während des jüngeren Pleistozäns. Diss., Göttingen 1992. Mit Bodenprofilen der Weserstädte.
  • Ludger Feldmann und Klaus-Dieter Meyer (Hrsg.): Quartär in Niedersachsen. Exkursionsführer zur Jubiläums-Hauptversammlung der Deutschen Quartärvereinigung in Hannover. DEUQUA-Exkursionsführer, Hannover 1998, S.89ff.
  • Hans Heinrich Seedorf und Hans-Heinrich Meyer: Landeskunde Niedersachsen. Natur und Kulturgeschichte eines Bundeslandes. Band 1: Historische Grundlagen und naturräumliche Ausstattung. Wachtholz, Neumünster 1992, Seite 105ff.
  • Ludger Feldmann: Das Quartär zwischen Harz und Allertal mit einem Beitrag zur Landschaftsgeschichte im Tertiär. Papierflieger, Clausthal-Zellerfeld 2002, Seite 133ff und passim.

Archaeology[edit]

  • Bremer Archäologische Blätter, Beiheft 2/2000 zur gleichnamigen Ausstellung im Focke-Museum: Siedler, Söldner und Piraten, Chauken und Sachsen im Bremer Raum, © Der Landesarchäologe Bremen, ISSN 0068-0907.
  • Bremer Archäologische Blätter, Beiheft 3/2004 zur gleichnamigen Ausstellung im Focke-Museum: Gefundene Vergangenheit, Archäologie des Mittelalters in Bremen, © Der Landesarchäologe Bremen, ISBN 3-7749-3233-6. (wg.Geschichte des Weserarms Balge)

History[edit]

  • Georg Bessell: Geschichte Bremerhavens. Morisse, Bremerhaven 1927, 1989.
  • Heinz Conradis: Der Kampf um die Weservertiefung in alter Zeit. In: Bremisches Jahrbuch. Bremen 41.1944.
  • J. W. A. Hunichs: Practische Anleitung zum Deich-, Siel- und Schlengenbau. Erster Theil, von den Sielen. Bremen 1770.
  • Die Kanalisierung der Mittelweser. Herausgegeben von der Mittelweser AG, Carl Schünemann Verlag, Bremen 1960.
  • Kuratorium für Forschung im Küsteningenieurswesen: Die Küste. In: Archiv für Forschung und Technik an der Nord- und Ostsee. Boyens, Heide 51.1991. ISSN 0452-7739

Description[edit]