Duisburg is given a new lease of life Some 778 kilometres up the Rhine lies Duisburg in the heart of Germany’s industrial zone. After descending from the Alps, the river broadens to form Lake Constance on the Swiss-German border. The Rhine then covers a distance of 1,320 kilometres before it empties into the North Sea at the Hook of Holland (swissinfo) swissinfo.ch The once-thriving soda factory, Matthes&Weber, is now deserted. It is one of many plants to have closed down in recent years. As a result, water and air quality have improved (swissinfo) swissinfo.ch Duisburg boasts some 741 bridges, seven of which cross the Rhine. It is the largest inland harbour in the world (swissinfo) swissinfo.ch The Schrott-Insel is the biggest scrap heap in Europe. It receives 50,000 tons of steel each month for reprocessing (swissinfo) swissinfo.ch The containers travel up the Rhine by way of specially-designed boats that push them along. When they reach the mouth of the river, the containers are transferred onto ocean-going vessels (swissinfo) swissinfo.ch A crane places a digger inside a container to collect the remaining items (swissinfo) swissinfo.ch Swimming in the river – once unthinkable – is now enjoyed by many thanks to stricter controls of water quality around Duisburg. Industry and barges can no longer dump waste in the river. Fish – including freshwater species like trout and salmon – have also returned to the waters around Duisburg (swissinfo) swissinfo.ch A sculpture by Niki de Saint Phalle brightens the centre of Duisburg. The city was once blackened by industrial grime from the heavy industry that made its home along the Rhine. Many factories – especially coal plants – have closed down or moved to other parts of the country (swissinfo) swissinfo.ch Thomas van Loosen is the helmsman on a boat that conducts tours of Duisburg’s industrial zone. He steers the boat, sells tickets and maintains the vessel. He grew up on this stretch of the Rhine, helping to convert his family’s barge into a passenger boat. For van Loosen, the Rhine has a unique allure, and is at its best early in the morning when blanketed by fog and calm (swissinfo) swissinfo.ch This content was published on July 22, 2003 - 17:45 July 22, 2003 - 17:45 Share Facebook Twitter E-mail Print Copy link You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us! If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at email@example.com. Sort by Newest first Oldest first Load more More More Swiss Films Advent Calendar This content was published on Dec 10, 2023 Dec 10, 2023 This year we’re presenting one film from our Swiss Films selection every day leading up to Christmas Day.