The Rhine: Following Europe's Greatest River from Amsterdam to the Alps

The Rhine: Following Europe's Greatest River from Amsterdam to the Alps

by Ben Coates


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From rowing the canals of Amsterdam to riding a cow through the Alps, via Cold War nuclear bunkers, raucous Gay Pride parades, tranquil Lake Constance and snowy mountain climbs, The Rhine blends travelogue and offbeat history to tell the fascinating story of how a great river helped shape a continent.


The Rhine is one of the world's greatest rivers. Once forming the outer frontier of the Roman Empire, it flows 800 miles from the social democratic playground of the Netherlands, through the industrial and political powerhouses of Germany and France, to the wealthy mountain fortresses of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

For five years, Ben Coates lived alongside a major channel of the river in Rotterdam, crossing it daily, swimming and sailing in its tributaries. In The Rhine , he sets out by bicycle from the Netherlands where it enters the North Sea, following it through Germany, France and Liechtenstein, to where its source in the icy Alps. He explores the impact that the Rhine has had on European culture and history and finds out how influences have flowed along and across the river, shaping the people who live alongside it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781473662179
Publisher: Mobius
Publication date: 11/06/2018
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 353,669
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Ben Coates was born in Britain in 1982,
lives in Rotterdam with his Dutch wife,
and now works for an international charity. During his career he has been a political advisor,
corporate speechwriter,
lobbyist and aid worker. He has written articles for numerous publications including the Guardian,
Financial Times and Huffington Post .

Table of Contents

Maps ix

Introduction: Liquid City: Amsterdam and the Delta 1

Part 1 The Netherlands

1 Turning the Corner: Hoek van Holland to Rotterdam 17

2 Water Wars: Vlaardingen and the Dutch Delta 35

3 The Final Frontier: Utrecht and the Roman Rhine 53

4 A Bridge Too Far: Arnhem and the Dutch-German Border 70

Part 2 Germany

5 The Engine Room: Duisburg and Düsseldorf 93

6 God, Gays, Grapes and Grain: Cologne 114

7 Cold War Blues: Bonn and Königswinter 133

8 The Romantic Rhine: Koblenz to Rüdesheim 155

9 Gamblers and Creators: Wiesbaden to Mainz and Mannheim 175

Part 3 France

10 Borderlines: Strasbourg and Alsace 201

Part 4 Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein

11 Fortress Nation: Switzerland and the Edge of the Alps 227

12 Into Thin Air: Lake Constance, Austria and Liechenstein 250

Epilogue: LSD Dreams: The New Politics of the Rhine 274

Acknowledgements 285

Select Bibliography 287

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