What Countries Does the Rhine River Run Through?

countries-rhine-river-run-through Credit: Ingolf Pompe/LOOK/Getty Images

The Rhine River flows through Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Lichtenstein and France. Its tributaries flow through several other nations. At 820 miles long, it is the longest river in western Europe.

The Rhine originates in the Swiss Alps and forms the border between several nations. It flows west and empties into the North Sea. The shores of the Rhine River have been populated for at least 44,000 years, and the river defined the northernmost border of the Roman Empire. Despite the Rhine River's rich history, pollution has been a problem since the latter half of the 20th century. The fish population of the river has declined in response, and fishing used to be one of the primary industries that made the many cities along the river thrive. The Rhine Action Program was instituted in the late 1980s to reduce pollution. The Rhine River is a popular tourist destination, with many cruises frequenting its waters. The Rhine River has been the inspiration for artists, writers and musicians for hundreds of years and has provided the setting for a lot of literature. The Rhine is also the legendary place in which the nymph Lorelei fell to her death when she fell in love.