Lake Brienz

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Lake Brienz
Brienzersee westwärts.jpg
Lake Brienz
Location Canton of Berne
Coordinates 46°43′N 7°58′E / 46.717°N 7.967°E / 46.717; 7.967Coordinates: 46°43′N 7°58′E / 46.717°N 7.967°E / 46.717; 7.967
Primary inflows Aare, Lütschine
Primary outflows Aare
Catchment area 1,127 km²
Basin countries Switzerland
Max. length 14 km
Max. width 2.8 km
Surface area 29.8 km²
Average depth 173 m
Max. depth 260 m
Water volume 5.17 km³
Residence time 2.69 years
Surface elevation 564 m
Islands Schnäggeninseli (islet)
Settlements Bönigen, Brienz, Iseltwald, Niederried, Oberried, Ringgenberg

Lake Brienz (German: Brienzersee) is a lake just north of the Alps, in the Canton of Berne in Switzerland. It has a length of about 14 kilometres (8.7 mi), a width of 2.8 kilometres (1.7 mi) and a maximum depth of 260 metres (850 ft). Its area is 29.8 square kilometres (11.5 sq mi), and the surface is 564 metres (1,850 ft) above the sea-level. It is fed by the upper reaches of the Aar river at its eastern end and by the Lütschine river, flowing from the valleys of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, at its south-western corner. It flows out into a further stretch of the Aar river at its western end.[1][2] The culminating point of the lake's drainage basin is the Finsteraarhorn at 4,274 metres above sea level.[3]

The village of Brienz, from which the lake takes its name, lies to its eastern end. In the west the lake is terminated by the Bödeli, a tongue of land that separates it from neighbouring Lake Thun. The village of Bönigen occupies the lake frontage of the Bödeli, whilst the larger resort town of Interlaken lies on the reach of the Aar river between the two lakes. The village of Iseltwald lies on the south shore, whilst the villages of Ringgenberg, Niederried and Oberried are on the north shore.[1][2]

The lake is poor in nutritients, and consequently fishing is not very important. Nevertheless, in 2001 10,000 kg fish were caught.[citation needed]

There have been passenger ships on the lake since 1839, and currently there are five passenger ships on the lake. The ships are operated by BLS AG, the local railway company, and link Interlaken Ost railway station, which they access using a 1.3-kilometre (0.81 mi) long navigable stretch of the Aar river, with Brienz and other lakeside settlements. The ships also connect to the Giessbachbahn funicular, which climbs up to the famous Giessbach Falls.[4][5]

The Brünig railway line follows the northern shore of the lake, along with a local road, whilst the A8 motorway adopts an alternative, and partially tunnelled, route above the southern shore.


  1. ^ a b Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  2. ^ a b "Lake Brienz". Switzerland Tourism. Retrieved 2013-01-03. 
  3. ^ 1:25,000 topographic map (Map). Swisstopo. Retrieved 2014-07-28. 
  4. ^ "History of navigation on Lakes Thun and Brienz". BLS AG. Retrieved 2012-12-13. 
  5. ^ "BLS Schiffahrt - Our fleet". BLS AG. Retrieved 2012-12-13. 

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