Environment a Proud River Runs Red

The watch on the Rhine is for pollution

Throughout history, the Rhine has been Western Europe's most vital river, serving as both a source of inspiration and a critical strategic and commercial byway. German Composer Richard Wagner used the river as the backdrop for his monumental operatic cycle, The Ring. Otto von Bismarck boasted that the stirring song Die Wacht am Rhein was worth three divisions to the German side in the Franco-Prussian War. Flowing 820 miles from the Swiss Alps to the North Sea, the river cuts a particularly handsome course through Germany, winding past vine-covered hills dotted with castles and plunging through a craggy gorge at St....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!