Lower Rhine Bay

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The Lower Rhine Bay in the satellite image

The Lower Rhine Bay (more rarely also the Lower Rhine Lowland Bay ) is a lowland plain in North Rhine-Westphalia that extends into the Rhenish Slate Mountains from the north . In terms of natural space , it represents a main group of units that extends to the west and, much narrower, to the east around the central plain of the Cologne Bay near Cologne . The term Cologne Bay is occasionally used synonymously for the entire large landscape.

The Lower Rhine Bay covers an area of ​​3584.4 km². It is the furthest south-reaching part of the North German lowlands .


Location and limits

The Lower Rhine Bay borders in the east on the Bergische Plateaus , the western slope of the Süderbergland in the historic Bergisches Land . In the south, the Lower Middle Rhine region connects with the Pleiser Hügelland , Siebengebirge and Lower Middle Rhine Valley , and in the southwest the Eifel .

To the north, the loess border forms a boundary to the Lower Rhine lowlands .

The surface of the landscape is flat or wavy over a wide area and is structured by tectonically predetermined ridges and valleys that are predominantly south-east-north-west . The loess cover of the landscapes west of the Rhine brought by the prevailing westerly winds from the Maas gravel and the heaths east of the river, covered with coarse-grained sands, are also characteristic.

Natural structure

In terms of its natural environment, the Lower Rhine Bay is divided into main units (three-digit) and sub-units (decimal places) as follows:

The Lower Rhine Bay (55) with the Cologne Bay (551) in the (eastern) center


Climatically, the Lower Rhine Bay is a Central European favorable area. It has a vegetation period of 230 to 250 days, the average annual precipitation is 550 to 600 mm in the lee of the Eifel, otherwise about 800 mm.


In the Lower Rhine Bay, up to 1,500 m of sediments were deposited in the Tertiary and Quaternary periods, partly in the shallow sea and partly on land. The large lignite deposits , whose mining is an important economic factor in the Rhineland, were formed from large coastal swamps .

The geological structure is by dislocation -north-west Southeast predominantly (hercynian) Underlining determined by the subsurface for about 30  Ma (million years ago) is subject to a reduction. The Lower Rhine Bay is bounded by fault lines in the southwest towards the Bergisches Land to the east and the Eifel. To the north, the Lower Rhine Bay cannot be clearly demarcated from the Lower Rhine Plain, in the south, the filling of the Lower Rhine Bay overlaps the paleozoic rocks of the Rhenish Slate Mountains .

The trench structure is broken up into individual clods by faults inside . The geological half eyrie of the Ville separates the Cologne Bay from the Erft-Scholle to the west; in the north, the Krefelder, Venloer and Rur-Scholle are also separated from each other by large fault lines.


The loess blankets allow intensive agriculture in the Börden. The foothills in the lee of the Ville have a particularly thick loess cover and, due to the nearby sales areas, are used for intensive vegetable cultivation, often mixed with fruit growing.

The mighty brown coal deposits , which are mined in the three extensive open-cast mines Garzweiler , Hambach and Inden , are of great economic importance for the region . The lignite is for power generation in several large lignite power plants used: Niederaussem power plant , power plant Neurath , Weisweiler and Goldberg . The actual lignite ville has meanwhile been charred but has been shaped by the remaining industry of the Rhenish lignite mining area and the recultivated artificial landscapes.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Emil Meynen , Josef Schmithüsen : Handbook of the natural spatial structure of Germany . Federal Institute for Regional Studies, Remagen / Bad Godesberg 1953–1962 (9 deliveries in 8 books, updated map 1: 1,000,000 with main units 1960).
  2. ^ Karlheinz Paffen, Adolf Schüttler, Heinrich Müller-Miny: Geographical land survey: The natural space units on sheet 108/109 Düsseldorf / Erkelenz. Federal Institute for Regional Studies, Bad Godesberg 1963. → Online map (PDF; 7.1 MB)
  3. a b c d e f g h i Ewald Glässer: Geographical land survey: The natural spatial units on sheet 122/123 Cologne / Aachen. Federal Institute for Regional Studies, Bad Godesberg 1978. → Online map (PDF; 8.7 MB)
  4. The term Schlebusch-Wahner Heide only appears in the original manual (6th delivery) and is no longer used in the following individual sheets.
  5. a b c Area measurement of the two areas results in about 177 km² for 550.0 (of which about 54 km² are accounted for by the Wahner Heide in the narrower sense southwest of the A3 ) and for 550.1 about 130 km²; The BfN's landscape profile shows only 91 km² for 550.0 (and 550.1 not at all), which is due to the fact that the settlement areas including Cologne-Bonn Airport are included in the Cologne metropolitan area, see:
  6. Adolf Schüttler, one of the three authors of Blatt Düsseldorf-Erkelenz , counts the Hildener Sandniederterrasse as part of the main unit 550 (or 550.1) because of its transfer.