Oooh, what a stunning view, here on the Rhine Promenade! The River Rhine flows along at a leisurely pace, as boats and barges follow its course. The embankment foreland on the opposite bank abuts on to the elegantly curved Rheinbrücke – the Rhine Bridge on the right. Visually, the Rhine Promenade culminates in the church of St. Martin.
The majestic river, which has covered 530 miles or 852 kilometres by the time it reaches this point, accounts for 140,000 ship movements a year. That not only makes it one of Europe’s major traffic arteries; it’s also a lifeline for the town of Emmerich am Rhine with its 32,000 residents. As you can see for yourself, the town, with its impressive promenade, is wholly orientated towards the Rhine.
Trade and transport have always been crucial for Emmerich, and the Rhine Bridge provides evidence of that. Since 1965, it has linked the towns of Emmerich and Kleve, as well as the motorways A3 and A 57 on the right- and left-hand banks of the Rhine respectively. It’s more than a kilometre or two-thirds of a mile long overall – the longest suspension bridge in Germany.
When it was first built, more than half a century ago, it cost 55 million marks – a tidy sum. For the first decades of its existence, the bridge featured an olive green coat of paint, before a change to red was agreed. Like the river it crosses, the bridge is part of this town’s identity.
If you’d like to know more about the Rhine and its defining influence on Emmerich and the people who live here, do visit the Emmerich Rhine Museum. It’s only a few minutes’ walk from here, on Martinikirchgang, just behind the church of St. Martin. The museum is wholly dedicated to the interaction between town and river. Its exhibits, presented across three floors, include more than 150 model boats as well as town models. Why not drop in and discover a completely different side of Emmerich am Rhein.
Fotos: © Rheinmuseum Emmerich