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Verlaufskarte Wupper.png
Origin Sauerland
Mouth Rhine
51°02′43″N 6°56′27″E / 51.04528°N 6.94083°E / 51.04528; 6.94083Coordinates: 51°02′43″N 6°56′27″E / 51.04528°N 6.94083°E / 51.04528; 6.94083
Basin countries Germany
Length 113 km
Source elevation 441 m
Avg. discharge 17 m³/s [1]
Basin area 827 km²

The Wupper is a right tributary of the River Rhine in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Rising near Marienheide in western Sauerland it runs through the mountainous region of the Bergisches Land in Berg County and enters the Rhine at Leverkusen, south of Düsseldorf. Its upper course is called the Wipper.

On its course of about 113 km, the Wupper passes through the city of Wuppertal where the suspension railway runs for 10 kilometres above the river. According to a popular local story, on 21 July 1950 a young elephant named Tuffi jumped into the Wupper from the railway.

It is crossed by the highest railway bridge in Germany near Müngsten, between Remscheid and Solingen. A few miles further down, Burg Castle is located on a hill overlooking the river.


From the 15th century, the Wupper and its many streams gave birth to hundreds of workshops, mills and factories on their banks. Originally water was used for dying, bleaching and washing canvas and cloth,[2] later it was used to power machines or transport waste.

The Wupper thus facilitated the early industrial expansion of the Wuppertal or Wupper valley during the 18th, 19th and early 20th century, similar to that of Silicon Valley in the United States in the 20th century. The Wupper Valley was one of world's first industrialized regions and empowered inter alia the Ruhrgebiet as a coal-mining region.

The suspension railway over the Wupper in Wuppertal


  • The Wupper is cited in two German sayings: "Über die Wupper gehen" - "To go over the Wupper" meaning going bankrupt, going into jail or going to die, and "Wir wuppen das" -"We'll whoop that" meaning We'll get that done.[3]
  • The 1928 American musical Whoopee and the famous title song Makin' whoopee! may have been inspired by the German saying "Wir wuppen das". The writer of the song was Gus Kahn, who was born in Koblenz, about 100 kilometres from the Wupper Valley and might have known this saying.[4]


  1. ^ Die Wupper // Wupperverband (German)
  2. ^ "Cloth Bleaching alongside Wupper River". Municipality of Wuppertal. Retrieved January 2011. 
  3. ^ "German Sayings Wupper". Andre Przybilla. Retrieved January 2011. 
  4. ^ Theory from Dutch journalist J. Vandersteen