The Emscher source at Emscherquellhof in Holzwickede

The Emscher ( Low German Iämscher ) is a 83.1 km long right tributary of the Rhine in the Ruhr. She was with her catchment river landscape of the Year in 2010 and 2011.

Geographical Location

The Emscher springs southeast of Dortmund at Holzwickede ( Unna district ) on the hair strand to about 147 m above sea level. NN in a source pond. In fact, there are several smaller rivulets from which springs the Emscher, which open into said source pond. The catchment area of the river is a system of branched tributaries 775.466 km ².

In its upper reaches the river Emscher flows through - only by the ridge of hair strand or the Ardey Mountains from the Ruhr valley separated - the south-east of Dortmund and then turns to the northwest. In the northern Castrop -Rauxel she crosses the Rhine -Herne canal in a culvert structure with three concrete tubes. Then it flows through Oberhausen almost continuously parallel to this channel to the west. During the construction of the channel you have used the geography of the Emscher.

In Oberhausen, the river bends to the north west and flows to its present confluence with the Rhine at Dinslaken - Eppinghoven. There, their discharge rate has increased to an average of 16 m³ / s.

The Emscher flows through the municipal area of Dortmund, Castrop -Rauxel, Recklinghausen, Herten, Herne, Gelsenkirchen, Essen, Bottrop, Oberhausen, Duisburg and Dinslaken.

Natural space Emschertal

The valley of the Emscher between the inner city and the separation from the hitherto parallel Rhine -Herne Canal in Oberhausen, the natural spatial subset Emschertal the main unit Emscherland dar. latter is largely consistent with the catchment area of ​​the Emscher without source and mouth running, but saved by south, the headwaters of some tributaries of the Castroper plates which belong to Westenhellweg. In the north of the Emscher country also includes the lip abdachende areas.

Nature regions

The Emscher is organized as follows:

  • ( to 543 Emscherland ) 543.2 Emschertal 543.20 Emscher valley
  • 543.21 Northern Emscher- edge plates
  • 543.22 Southern Emscher- edge plates
  • 543.23 Boyeplatten


Even before the Saale glaciation the Emschertal existed. Even to the end of the 19th century the Emscher meandered through her ​​between Herten and pan - Eickelmann over 5 km wide valley. Floods larger subdivisions were not rare. In the meadows dominated oak -hornbeam forests and swamp forests in areas sumpfigeren

Since the formation of Emschergenossenschaft in 1904 the Emscher and its tributaries have been channelized and straightened after it had come in mining subsidence areas to swamps. Here also, the river bed was placed several times lower. Furthermore, the mouth of the Rhine was relocated twice to the north. In some areas, there was thus a lowering of the groundwater table.

As it is, however, come to today is that subsidence due to the hard coal mining, the natural receiving water is still disturbed, so that larger sub-areas must be kept dry over pumping stations regularly.

In the area of the actual Emscher the height of the eponymous river drops today from 70 m in Dortmund up to about 35 m south of Bottrop.


After the Emscher initially bathed in the Witten- Hörder trough the Dortmund back south and then west, it occurs immediately west of the inner city into a real Emschertal. Also, the Port of Dortmund on the Dortmund- Ems Canal, located just east of the River Emscher, in this natural space that the channel, however, soon leaves.

A significant Talverbreiterung adjusts itself in Castrop- Rauxel Henrichenburg where the Emscher crosses under at about 60 m above sea level the Rhine -Herne Canal and changes its course from northwest to southwest.

The additional first conspicuous valley widening is found immediately south Recklinghausen's where the creek side valley of Hell pulls up directly in front of the city center. Similarly, long, although less wide, something cuts to the west and also the right of the Emscher valley of the brook wood to Herten - Westerholt. Parallel to the latter two streams and exactly between them was the valley of the now Resser Bach said brook at the city limits between Recklinghausen and Herten. However, the Resser Bach is now redirected to the Wood Creek, he meets east of Gelsenkirchen- Resse.

Next emscher down can still be found, also on the right, north side, the - something less conspicuous - cut valley of Lanferbaches and, facing south towards him, the incision of the Black creek - both opening out in Gelsenkirchen.

Edge plates

The northern and southern edges of the plates Emscher valley, both are just 5 m - 20 m higher than the Emscher valley itself.

While the southern edge plates are not interrupted by side valleys, and not by that of Black creek, the northern be segmented by Bright Stream, Resser Bach, Bach and wood Lanferbach in individual Patten. The most westerly of those five plates at Gelsenkirchen- Beckhausen goes west fluent in the Boyeplatten the Boye, the second largest Emscher Creek, about.

The Boyeplatten on which is a large part of Bottrop, take a more area than all other edge plates. Moreover, they provide at Kirchhellen of the North to only 51 m high Lower watershed a corridor to Dorsten Dorsten valley widening the lip at her.

Adjacent natural areas

The following natural areas bordering downriver to the Emschertal that the Witten- Hörder trough to the north continues (after indent per the associated main unit ):

  • Right of the Emscher Dortmund back (southeast) - Hellweg Börden
  • Dortmund Hellwegtal ( Southern East) - Hellweg Börden
  • Derner height (East) - Hellweg Börden
  • Oer- Waltroper flat waves ( north east to north-east) - Emscherland Waltroper flat waves ( north east)
  • Emscher- Lippe- plates (Northeast)
  • Recklinghauser Lößrücken ( östlicherer north)
  • Buerscher ridge ( westlicherer north)
  • Dorsten- Ulfkotter plates ( narrow corridor in the northwest)
  • King Hardter main terrace plate ( north west)
  • Hiesfeld - Sterkrader middle terraces ( narrow corridor in the far west )
  • Castroper plates (eastern South) - Westenhellweg Martener plane wave country
  • Ückendorf - Rauxeler plates
  • Essen Westenhellweg

In the south west the Emscher (both sides) occurs in the Ruhr- Emscher- plate, right Rhenish Lower terrace level, main unit Mean Lower Rhine valley, and leaves the Westphalian Bay.


In the Middle Ages the river in the upper and middle reaches in much of the natural border of territories. North of the river was in many areas, the area of Vest Recklinghausen, south of the county of Mark and of Essen Abbey. The Emscher also formed the southern and western boundary of the county of Dortmund. Along the Emscher therefore numerous moated castles were created, on the borders of the county Dortmund waiting.

Originally it was in the Emscher a strongly meandering river, the total length was 109 kilometers. In the Middle Ages (including in Dortmund- Horde ) was operated wine growing on the slopes of the Emscher. Today, street names such Winzerweg and Weingartenstraße remember these Terms.

A project of canalization was rejected after several years of negotiations by the Prussian King Friedrich II on August 23, 1774. Also, an initiative under the leadership of William Thomas Mulvany in 1873 for the expansion of the river as a waterway had no success.

From the middle of the 19th century began with the onset of industrialization in the Ruhr area and high population growth. The increased demand for drinking water was covered by the Ruhr and Lippe area, release the waste water and the mine water of the mines in the Emscher.

The Emscher was thus early degenerated into a cesspool (see Köttelbecke ). The low gradient, the strongly meandering river and caused by mining subsidence of the soil caused the end of the 19th century, numerous floods, leading to increasing risk of disease due to the entrained feces. Since the participating municipalities and large farms of their own accord were not able to solve the problem, after the Emschergenossenschaft founded in 1899 as a forced union of the affected communities and initial large-scale enterprises. Your tasks are to wastewater management, assurance of runoff, flood protection and water maintenance.

Under the aegis of the Emschergenossenschaft the Emscher has been lowered by about three meters, mostly fixed and straightened. Multiple of the river was regulated. The mouth was moved twice in the 20th century: 1910 of Duisburg- Alsum to Duisburg -Walsum and 1949 to Dinslaken. Accordingly, the Emscher at its lower reaches in Old Emscher, Small Emscher Emscher and new shares. The Old Emscher flows from Oberhausen through Duisburg -Hamborn, Duisburg -Beeck and Alsum, the Small Emscher of Oberhausen by Hamborn and Walsum and the New Emscher of Oberhausen by Dinslaken into the Rhine.

The effects caused by mining subsidence were offset by higher and higher dikes so that the Emscher even some meters is today in some places above the level of the environment. However, this also means that inflows to the River Emscher, which drain the surrounding land, must be pumped upwards into the Emscher. Without the dikes and pumping the water stood a large part of the Emscher region as a polder under water.

Until recently, there were no alternatives to the open sewage, as underground channels were conditioned regularly dropped by mining subsidence.

By the end of 1990 four central sewage treatment plants were built:

  • Treatment plant Duisburg Old Emscher
  • Sewage treatment plant Emschermündung ( city limits Dinslaken, Duisburg and Oberhausen )
  • WWTP Bottrop
  • Treatment plant Dortmund- Deusen

Emscher with high-voltage line

Sewage treatment plant Emschermündung

Night lighting digesters WWTP Bottrop

The course of the Emscher serves as a route for different energy lines. In the picture you can see high-voltage lines, the coal power plants ( in the background the STEAG power plant in Herne ) connect and consumers. On the left bank extend the olive tubes of the Ruhr district heating grid, feeding into the power plants water 110-180 ° C, and thus supply the transfer points to the municipal district heating utilities in the Ruhr.

By 1939, reversed a passenger ferry in Duisburg. 1960 a bridge was built at the same place.

After rainfall of locally up to 200 l / m² it came 26 July 2008 in the city of Dortmund flooding the Emscher and the Roßbaches, particularly the districts Dorstfeld and Marten met. The Emscher reached new highs flood at many measuring points. Thus, at the level in Mengede a water level of about 520 centimeters, with a usual level of about 100 centimeters measured.


Pumping station Horst Nordsternpark

Ventilation of the Emscher in Gelsenkirchen

Waiting for the River EMSCHERKUNST.2010

Infoschild the Route of Industrial Heritage


Around the middle of the twentieth century was the Emscher as the dirtiest river in Germany and the " cesspool of the Ruhr area ". The predominant end of mining in the Ruhr area and its northern migration provide subsidence in the Emscher region no longer an obstacle, so that was begun with the construction of underground channels and the restoration of the Emscher.

First steps towards ecological conversion of the Emscher system was laid with the IBA Emscher Park, among others, the cycle paths Emscher- way and Emscher Park Cycle Route and the Emscher Landscape Park. In the 90s, a short section of the Emscher already been rehabilitated as part of the Federal Garden Show in Dortmund.

The central building in the context of the restoration of the Emscher Emscher forms the channel. On August 13, 2008, the zoning decision of the district government of Münster for the sewer along the Emscher was handed over to the CEO of the Emschergenossenschaft Dr. Jochen Stemplewski. The running from Dortmund to Dinslaken channel is 51 km long and has a maximum diameter of 2.80 m. It is derived wastewater to the existing wastewater treatment plants Bottrop and Emschermündung, replace the existing open sewage disposal and be completed in 2017. Subsequently, the Emscher can be transformed to nature in other areas.

The Emscherquellhof lying at the source of the Emscher building was renovated by the Emschergenossenschaft 2005 and will be used for exhibitions and as a conference and training center.

On 18 December 2009 the renatured, aboveground bed of the Emscher was flooded in Dortmund- Horde. After the Emscher is at this point piped over 100 years flowed under the Hermannshütte, now clean water flows through a semi-natural river bed parallel to Phoenix Lake.

As part of the Capital of Culture Ruhr 2010 attention was drawn to the recorded Emscher Island and the current reconstruction of the Emscher system with the EMSCHERKUNST.2010.

The transformation of the Emscher Valley was honored in 2014 by the UN as " an example of a participatory eco - large-scale project ". The Emschergenossenschaft can cost the restoration of the river a total of 4.5 billion euros.


Subsequently, all tributaries of the River Emscher from 8 km ² catchment area are listed below:

( Dashes inserted for a better overview and to sort downriver are in the DGKZ digits after the 2772 - - Emscher. )

→ for the complete list

The backwaters Small Emscher ( 277134; 10.3 km; 35.0 km ²) and Old Emscher ( 277 132, 7.8 km, 29.2 km ²), caused by the relocation of the Emschermündung to the north, flowing directly into the Rhine and thus are no longer part of the river system of the Emscher.


The channelized river bed of the River Emscher holds through the tapered, smooth and slippery concrete walls a high risk potential for anyone who ( accidentally or intentionally ) gets into the river bed. Despite fencing and signs the channeled Emscher has therefore been many people killed. Thus drowned in 1983, the writer Michael Woodbach in the Emscher in trying to save his dog.