Biber (Rhine)

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Biber at Ramsen
Country Germany, Switzerland
Location Canton of Schaffhausen
Basin features
Main source Watterdingen, (Tengen)
River mouth Bibermühle (Ramsen)
394 m (1,293 ft)
47°40′45″N 8°48′22″E / 47.67917°N 8.80611°E / 47.67917; 8.80611Coordinates: 47°40′45″N 8°48′22″E / 47.67917°N 8.80611°E / 47.67917; 8.80611
Progression Rhine → North Sea
River system Rhine
  • Left:
    Riedgraben, Dorfbach
Physical characteristics
Length 23.8 km (14.8 mi)
Municipalities Thayngen

The Biber is a small river on the border between Germany and Switzerland. The source is located at Watterdingen in the municipality Tengen, district of Constance in Baden-Wuerttemberg. After about 24 kilometres (15 mi) the Biber river flows into the Rhine at the Bibermühle (Biber Mill) west of Hemishofen in the Canton of Schaffhausen. The Biber is the largest tributary of the High Rhine on the stretch between Stein am Rhein and Schaffhausen.


On its way to the Rhine, the Biber crosses the Swiss-German border three times. The source of the Biber is near Watterdingen in the municipality Tengen, in the Hegau, Germany. Then the Biber flows through the town of Blumenfeld, where she falls over the Blumenfeld waterfall. After Beuren, the Riedgraben flows in from the left. After Büßlingen, it crosses the border into Switzerland, where it flows through the former municipalities of Hofen and Bibern, before flowing through Thayngen, the seat of the former Reiat district. Shortly after Thayngen, the Biber leaves Switzerland and flows through Bietingen and Randegg, where the Dorfbach joins, coming from Gottmadingen. Then it crosses the border again and the last kilometers flow through the upper part of the canton of Schaffhausen, through the municipalities of Buch and Ramsen. It flows into the Rhine at Biber Mill, west of Hemishofen.

Biber correction[edit]

The area between Buch and the mouth of the Biber is flat and mostly use for agriculture. It was frequently flooded by the Biber. To correct this, the canton of Schaffhausen altered the course of the river in several stages between 1902 and 1907. Many of the countless loops of the river were straightened. The old loops were filled with material excavated from the new course of the river.


The German name Biber means beaver. Presumably, the river was named after the animal.

Beavers were eradicated in the watershed of the Biber over 150 years ago. Around the turn of the millennium, the animals have repopulated the river. They were first spotted in the estuary and the lower reaches. The then moved into the Randegg/Bietinge area. In 2005, beaver tracks were found in Bibern. These animals probably came from the valley of the Thur, crossed the Rhine and gradually followed the Biber upstream.