Grieth, the Rhine and an island that no longer exists.
The Rhine can't do anything right. The dykes in the Lower Rhine countryside show that people like to keep it at a distance. After all, who wants the river to pay a visit to their living room? But sometimes the opposite is the case. Major efforts are undertaken to keep Father Rhine in the immediate vicinity. Grieth is just such a case. In the 13th century, regional rulers just had to found towns. Otherwise, they would fall behind their counterparts in terms of political power. The Counts of Kleve therefore granted a town charter to Grieth in 1254. Economically, they banked on the Rhine. The counts could levy tolls. The inhabitants of the town exploited the many opportunities to earn their livelihoods with and on the river. But the Rhine is a moody and dangerous bedfellow, as the high water marks on the Dyke Gate testify. Apart from the floods, it also likes to find a new bed from time to time. This was particularly annoying for the people of Grieth because they were economically dependent on being so close to it. For this reason, no expense or effort were spared when the main course threatened to move away from the town. They started work on the Grieth Cutting in 1812 with the aim of keeping the riverbed by the town. To this day the Rhine still follows the course defined at that time even though Grieth no longer profits from the river as much as in days gone by. For a long time the flood risk prevented the town from expanding beyond its mediaeval core. The former importance can still be seen in St Peter and Paul's church, Haus Grieth and the slight Dutch ambiance of the buildings in the charming village. A little detour takes us across to Grietherort. A small ferry connects the river banks and wends its way between the gigantic ships on the Rhine. The name Grietherort evokes the wild days of the Rhine - "Orth" simply means island. But the island has long since fallen victim to the shifting and straightening of the Rhine and is now part of the mainland on the other bankBack to overview Next page Back to overview