The Elbe is a living river

The Elbe river can serve as a model for other European rivers. Within ten years after the reunification the water quality of the Elbe river has improved significantly - from extremely polluted water to a river with good bathing water quality. The changes that have occurred since 1990 are really surprising and an encouraging sign for the future.


  • Since 1989 the pollution of the Elbe has decreased by 60 to 70 %
  • Chlorinated hydrocarbon contaminants, mercury and other toxic substances have decreased by 98 %.
  • Poisonous foam, fish kills and murky waters are things of the past
  • Since 1990 along the Elbe 239 sewage works have been built, 61 of which are in the Czech Republic and one in Austria.
  • Over 220 nature reserves between the Giant Mountains and North Sea contribute to the recovery of the river.
  • Salmon have returned to their old homes along the Elbe. Boating and angling are becoming more and more popular, here and there Elbe fish is offered. A few years ago, the Elbe river was heavily polluted, today its shores invite to go for a swim, or to laze around and enjoy the ambiance. The inhabitants of the Elbe region more and more identify with "their" river. The Swimming Days are a good example of this development.

More Information


Info-flyer about the Elbebadetag (available ind german only)

2.4 M

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