Emmerich is located at the kilometre marker number 852 of one of the busiest traffic routes in Europe.
But the town is also in the immediate vicinity of the border between Germany and the Netherlands. For centuries, it was a border town with all that involves. Until Europe’s internal borders were dismantled, more than 700 customs officials worked here. With up to ten customs boats, they monitored goods traffic on the Rhine. The Federal Border Force also employed patrol boats to police the river.
These days, the River Police are responsible for safety and security on the Rhine. They have their own duty station close to the port. The vessels used by the River Police are also moored there along with the fire boat. Emmerich provides three types of port facilities: the Sicherheitshafen – or safety harbour, the container terminal and the yachting marina.
Thanks to its special geographical situation, the town has evolved into a trans-regional logistics location, where goods transhipments from the water to road or rail are handled. Emmerich’s industrial port now handles six times as many transhipments as it did twenty years ago, and numbers are still rising. The town is served by three motorway exits, and the railway station has been a hub for goods traffic in the Lower Rhine region for more than 150 years.
Extreme weather events can cause considerable disruption to freight traffic on the river, by road and by rail. Flooding and ice drift are two crisis situations that have been well documented over the course of the town’s history.
But despite the weather, despite periodic wartime destruction, despite plagues and fires, Emmerich has remained a flourishing town, as we’ll see at our next and final stop. Please retrace your steps to the room devoted to Rhine fisheries and turn to your right – that’s the entrance to our town history loft.
Foto: © Claudia Klein