Coordinates: 47°30′07″N 8°14′15″E / 47.5019°N 8.2375°E / 47.5019; 8.2375
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Limmat River.jpg
The Limmat in Zürich, looking downstream to Rathausbrücke from Quaibrücke at Lake Zurich, Stadthausquai to the left and Limmatquai to right.
Karte Limmat.png
CantonsZurich, Aargau
SettlementsZürich (ZH), Schlieren (ZH), Dietikon (ZH), Oetwil a.d.L. (ZH), Wettingen (AG), Baden (AG), Ennetbaden (AG), Nussbaumen (AG), Turgi (AG), Untersiggenthal (AG)
Physical characteristics
 • locationLake Zurich, Zurich
 • coordinates47°22′00″N 8°32′35″E / 47.36677°N 8.54316°E / 47.36677; 8.54316
 • elevation406 m (1,332 ft)
 • location
Aare, Gebenstorf
 • coordinates
47°30′07″N 8°14′15″E / 47.5019°N 8.2375°E / 47.5019; 8.2375
 • elevation
328 m (1,076 ft)
Length36.3 kilometres (22.6 mi), 140 kilometres (87 mi) (Lake Zurich and Linth included)
Basin size2,416 km2 (933 sq mi) (Lake Zurich and Linth included)
 • locationBaden
 • average101.0 m3/s (3,570 cu ft/s) (MQ 1951-2013)
 • minimum69.2 m3/s (2,440 cu ft/s) (MNQ 1951-2013),
24.6 m3/s (870 cu ft/s) (NNQ, 2003)
 • maximum141 m3/s (5,000 cu ft/s) (MHQ 1951-2013),
657 m3/s (23,200 cu ft/s) (HHQ, 1999)
Basin features
ProgressionAareRhineNorth Sea
 • leftSihl, Schäflibach, Reppisch, Dorfbach Spreitenbach
 • rightLänggenbach, Furtbach, Lugibach, Gottesgraben
WaterbodiesLake Zurich, Stausee Wettingen
Rathausbrücke and Hotel zum Storchen at Weinplatz in Zürich
The confluence of the Limmat and Sihl, just downstream of Zurich city centre
Letten Power Station in Zurich
Kloster Fahr on the Limmat
The Limmat in Ennetbaden
The confluence of the Aare (to the left) and Limmat

The Limmat is a river in Switzerland. The river commences at the outfall of Lake Zurich, in the southern part of the city of Zurich. From Zurich it flows in a northwesterly direction, after 35 km reaching the river Aare. The confluence is located north of the small town of Brugg and shortly after the mouth of the Reuss.

The main towns along the Limmat Valley downstream of Zurich are Dietikon, Wettingen, and Baden. Its main tributaries are the Linth, via Lake Zurich, the Sihl, in Zurich, and the Reppisch, in Dietikon.

The hydronym is first attested in the 8th century, as Lindimacus. It is of Gaulish origin, from *lindo- "lake" (Welsh llyn) and *magos "plain" (Welsh maes), and was thus presumably in origin the name of the plain formed by the Linth.[1]

Power generation[edit]

Like many Swiss rivers, the Limmat is intensively used for production of hydroelectric power: along its course of 35 km (22 mi), its fall is used by no less than ten hydroelectric power stations. These include:

Station Capacity (MW) Location Geographic coordinates
Aue Power Station[2] 3.9 Baden 47°28′13″N 8°18′40″E / 47.47034°N 8.31098°E / 47.47034; 8.31098 (Aue Power Station)
Dietikon Power Station[3] 2.6 Dietikon 47°24′36″N 8°24′30″E / 47.410137°N 8.408344°E / 47.410137; 8.408344 (Dietikon Power Station)
Höngg Power Station[4] 1 Zurich 47°24′07″N 8°29′13″E / 47.401835°N 8.487035°E / 47.401835; 8.487035 (Höngg Power Station)
Kappelerhof Power Station[2] 6.8 Baden 47°29′04″N 8°17′35″E / 47.484469°N 8.292945°E / 47.484469; 8.292945 (Kappelerhof Power Station)
Letten Power Station[5] 4 Zurich 47°23′15″N 8°31′56″E / 47.387396°N 8.532321°E / 47.387396; 8.532321 (Letten Power Station)
Schiffmühle Power Station[2] 2.6 Untersiggenthal 47°29′19″N 8°15′54″E / 47.488687°N 8.264937°E / 47.488687; 8.264937 (Schiffmühle Power Station)
Turgi Power Station[2] 1 Turgi
Wettingen Power Station[6] 26 Wettingen 47°27′24″N 8°19′14″E / 47.456554°N 8.320631°E / 47.456554; 8.320631 (Wettingen Power Station)


Historically, the Limmat was an important navigation route. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, voyages from Zurich to Koblenz are recorded. In 1447, the Emperor Frederick III granted the privilege of free navigation on the Limmat and on the Rhine to Zurich. Because of the current, navigation was typically downstream only, with the barges being sold on arrival.[7]

Today, the Limmat is navigable for much of its length by small craft only, with many of the hydroelectric power plants incorporating boat lifts. The traditional boat type used on the river is the weidling, a flat-bottomed vessel that is usually 10 metres (33 ft) long.[8][9]

The uppermost stretch of the river through the centre of Zurich is navigable by rather larger vessels, albeit limited by low bridges. On this stretch of the river the Zürichsee-Schifffahrtsgesellschaft (Lake Zurich Navigation Company) operates its Limmat boat service, from the Landesmuseum to Lake Zurich, using low-profile motor boats.[10]

Towns near the river[edit]

Cultural Heritage[edit]

Located on the swamp land between Limmat and Zürichsee around Sechseläutenplatz on small islands and peninsulas in Zürich, Prehistoric pile dwellings around Zürichsee were set on piles to protect against occasional flooding by the Linth and Jona. Zürich–Enge Alpenquai is located on Zürichsee lakeshore in Enge, a locality of the municipality of Zürich. It was neighbored by the settlements at Kleiner Hafner and Grosser Hafner on a then peninsula respectively island in the effluence of the Limmat, within an area of about 0.2 square kilometres (49.42 acres) in the city of Zürich. As well as being part of the 56 Swiss sites of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps, the settlement is also listed in the Swiss inventory of cultural property of national and regional significance as a Class object.[11][12][13]


  1. ^ Felix Stähelin (1935), "Die vorrömische Schweiz im Lichte geschichtlicher Zeugnisse und sprachlicher Tatsachen", Zeitschrift für schweizerische Geschichte (in German), Leemann, vol. Band 15, pp. 337–368
  2. ^ a b c d "Limmat Power Generation". Regional Werke AG Baden. Archived from the original on 2013-05-21. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  3. ^ "Flusskraftwerk Dietikon". Elektrizitätswerke des Kantons Zürich. Archived from the original on 2013-05-22. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  4. ^ "Kraftwerk Höngg". City of Zurich. Archived from the original on 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  5. ^ "Kraftwerk Letten". City of Zurich. Archived from the original on 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  6. ^ "Kraftwerk Wettingen". City of Zurich. Archived from the original on 2013-01-15. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  7. ^ "Limmat". Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (in German). Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  8. ^ "Funicular Boat Lifts of Switzerland". Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  9. ^ "Clubportrait Schiffe" (in German). Archived from the original on 2005-12-15. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  10. ^ "Limmat river cruises". Zürichsee-Schifffahrtsgesellschaft. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  11. ^ "A-Objekte KGS-Inventar". Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft, Amt für Bevölkerungsschutz. 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-06-28. Retrieved 2014-12-10.
  12. ^ "Prehistoric Pile Dwellings in Switzerland". Swiss Coordination Group UNESCO Palafittes ( Archived from the original on 2014-10-07. Retrieved 2014-12-10.
  13. ^ "World Heritage". Archived from the original on 2014-12-09. Retrieved 2014-12-10.

External links[edit]