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Rhine River facts

The Rhine, a river in Europe, flows 800 miles from its source to the North Sea It rises in the mountains of Switzerland, near Lake Constance. It flows north through France and Germany, then west to the sea through the Netherlands.

The Rhine River has been a great highway of commerce for centuries, and still is. It is linked by a wonderful system of canals to the French river system and to the Weser and Elbe rivers of northern Germany. The middle course of the Rhine is a region of wooded hills and fertile valleys, widening into a great plain. Wheat and vines are the main crops grown on the highly cultivated farmland, which is mainly divided into smallholdings of five to ten acres. Industry has grown rapidly in the Rhine Valley, and Cologne has become one of the most important railroad centers in Europe. The Rhine is navigable by river barges as high up as Basle, while the great seaports of Hamburg and Bremen can be reached by canal.

Rhine River facts: in the valley

Rhine River facts: in the valley of the river, Germany, vineyard-covered, terraced hillsides stretch for miles and picturesque towns nestle by the river's banks (click to picture to increase)

The Ruhr is rich in coal, iron ore and potash. The production of iron and steel is enormous, and heavy industrial machinery, automobiles and electrical goods are manufactured. Chemicals, dyes and textiles are other important industries. For centuries, the Rhine River has been an important frontier between the peoples to the east who spoke German, and those to the west who did not.

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