Reuss (river)

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The Reuss in Lucerne

The Reuss in Lucerne

Water code CH : 38
location Switzerland
River system Rhine
Drain over Aare  → Rhine  → North Sea
source in the Upper Schwärziseeli as Furkareuss
46 ° 33 ′ 44 ″  N , 8 ° 25 ′ 49 ″  E
Source height 2649  m above sea level M.
muzzle in the Aare near Windisch Coordinates: 47 ° 29 '32 "  N , 8 ° 14' 15"  E ; CH1903:  660 202  /  260482 47 ° 29 '32 "  N , 8 ° 14' 15"  O
Mouth height 329  m above sea level M.
Height difference 2320 m
Bottom slope 14 ‰
length 164 km
Catchment area 3,425.97 km²
Discharge at the Mellingen
A Eo gauge : 3386 km²
Location: 12.7 km above the mouth
NNQ (2006)
MNQ 1935–2016
MQ 1935–2016
Mq 1935–2016
MHQ 1935–2016
HHQ (2005)
28.6 m³ / s
93 m³ / s
140 m³ / s
41.3 l / (s km²)
179 m³ / s
854 m³ / s
Left tributaries Göschener Reuss , Meienreuss , Kleine Emme
Right tributaries Gotthardreuss , Unteralpreuss , Chärstelenbach , Schächen , Lorze , Jonenbach
Flowing lakes Lake Lucerne
Reservoirs flowed through Flachsee
Medium-sized cities Lucerne
Small towns Emmen , Bremgarten
The Reuss under the Spreuerbrücke

The Reuss under the Spreuerbrücke

Reuss (river) (Switzerland)
Source and mouth of the Reuss

The Reuss is a 164 kilometer long river in Switzerland with a catchment area of ​​3426 square kilometers. This makes it the fourth largest river in Switzerland after the Rhine , Aare and Rhone .

The Reuss originates in the Gotthard Massif in the southwest of the canton of Uri and flows Windisch and Gebenstorf in the Canton of Aargau as a right tributary to the Aare. It is their largest and longest tributary.


The upper reaches of the Reuss used to be called * Sila , as is assumed to explain the place name Silenen . The current name is first recorded as Rusa in 1296 ; in the 16th to 19th centuries it sometimes appears as Ursa .



The course of the river Reuss is divided into four sections depending on the large landscapes crossed by the river: the alpine Reuss , the subalpine Reuss , the Mittellandreuss and the Jurareuss .

The Reuss rises with several source rivers in the Gotthard massif . The source of the Furkareuss lies at 2649  m above sea level. M. in the Oberer Schwärziseeli above the Furka Pass . After 19 kilometers, the Furkareuss when combined Hospental in Urserental with Gotthardreuss Only called Reuss from then on. The most important tributary of the Furkareuss is the Witenwasserenreuss . At Andermatt , the Unteralpreuss , which rises in the valley between the Rotstock and the Pizzo Barbarera and in the Urserental, receives the Oberalpreuss coming from the Oberalppass , reaches the main river.

At Andermatt , the river turns north and passes the Schöllenen Gorge with the old Häderlis Bridge just before Göschenen. The steep gorge in the upper area with its high granite walls was the greatest obstacle to opening up the Gotthard Pass in the Middle Ages, which could only be overcome with bold engineering structures such as the Stiebenden Steg and the Devil's Bridge and later the Urnerloch . The Reussfall is remarkable here. In the Schöllenen there is the Suworow monument , which is dedicated to the Russian general Suvorov and commemorates the battle of 1799 between Russians and French in the Second Coalition War , and the monumental rock painting by Heinrich Danioth .

In Göschenen the north portals are Gotthard tunnel of the railway and the Gotthard road tunnel of the motorway A 2 . The Göschenerreuss flows into the main river at Göschenen station and the Meienreuss at Wassen . In this section of the valley, the river sinks to Amsteg with a steep gradient and through several gorges, including the Pfaffensprung , in a northerly direction until it reaches the broad plain of the northern Urner Reuss valley at Erstfeld .

In a channel with high side dams the river Reuss flows between Altdorf and Attinghausen next to the highway across the plain to the north and reaches Flüelen and Seedorf estuary in the Reuss delta at Lake Lucerne . At Attinghausen the Schächen flows from the right and from the left at Seedorf the Palanggenbach flows into the Reuss Canal.

In Lucerne , the Reuss flows out of Lake Lucerne at the pier and crosses the Zimmeregg-Greterwald range of hills; here it reaches the Central Plateau . Between the Lucerne district of Reussbühl and Emmenbrücke , it takes up the Kleine Emme and then strives in a north-easterly direction through the flat valley of Emmen past Buchrain , Inwil and Root until it reaches the point near Honau where the borders of the cantons of Lucerne, Meet Zug and Aargau. From then on it flows as a meandering river towards the north through the Reuss valley and initially forms the border between the Aargau Freiamt and the Canton of Zug and later the Canton of Zurich . In Maschwanden which opens from right Lorze into the river in Obfelden of Lindenbach and Jonen the from the valley of Affoltern am Albis and the Jonental coming Jonen Bach . The Rotbach , Allikerbach and Wissenbach are to be mentioned as smaller tributaries on the left north of Lucerne .

In Unterlunkhofen is on the river in 1975 with the construction of the power plant Bremgarten the Flachsee emerged. In a wide loop of the river, the Reuss surrounds the old town and the area of ​​the Au von Bremgarten . The covered wooden bridge in Bremgarten is one of the oldest river crossings on the Reuss and is located on Hauptstrasse 1 .

Below Bremgarten, the Reuss flows through alluvial plains above hilly areas of several terminal moraines of the Ice Age Reuss Glacier; in the river bed there are numerous boulders washed out of the moraines . In the small flood plain south of the Moränenzuges the maximum level of Würm , the city is Mellingen with the old river crossing the road from Lenzburg to Baden . The hydrometric station “Reuss-Mellingen” of the state hydrology is located near Mellingen. On its further course, the Reuss crosses the gravel areas east of the Birrfeld to Birmenstorf in a deeply deepened river valley.

In the settlement area of Windisch and Gibstorf , the Reuss cuts through the southernmost limestone chain of the Jura and finally flows into the Aare east of Brugg .

Catchment area

The most important Reuss side valleys are:

River engineering


Historically, devastating floods often occurred in the Reuss catchment area. The needle weir of the Mühlenplatz power plant in Lucerne serves to regulate the runoff from Lake Lucerne .

Flow correction

In 1662, the cantons of Zurich, Lucerne and Zug held a conference to find a solution for the erosion damage that had occurred on the banks of the Reuss in the area of ​​the localities of Maschwanden and Merenschwand .

From 1851 to 1861, the canton of Uri built a canal from Attinghausen to its confluence with Lake Uri for the river in the Reuss plain according to a project plan by engineers M. Hegner, Richard La Nicca and Karl Emanuel Müller .

In 1810, the canton of Aargau commissioned the Baden hydraulic engineer Johann Gottfried Tulla to conduct a study of corrective measures on the Reuss. Construction work began in 1811 with the piercing of a loop in the river near Fischbach-Göslikon below Bremgarten. But even after cutting off a second meander, further erosion damage on the river banks was inevitable. New river engineering proposals emerged from further reports by engineers Richard La Nicca from 1851 and Conradin Zschokke from 1905 . While the originally planned straightening of the Reuss was not carried out in the area of ​​the other large loops near Eggenwil , the canton of Aargau had the banks in this flat section of the river secured in places between 1905 and 1950 and reinforced with walls, concrete cladding and Wuhren.

After a convention of the cantons of Zug and Aargau from 1825, new regulations for the bank construction in the plain on the Lorze applied. After a major flood in 1846, the Reuss Ordinance of 1847 was issued. According to the report by Richard La Nicca from 1851, the canton of Zug had the inland canal on the right of the Reuss from Cham to Maschwanden and in 1872 the Reuss dam reinforced. With the law of February 13, 1915 on flood protection on the Reuss, Zug initiated a major river construction project that lasted until 1924.

In 1910, 1912 and 1953 there were dam breaks and floods in the Reuss plain south of Bremgarten due to high water. In 1972, the Allmend flooded again near Rottenschwil. On December 14, 1969, in a referendum in the canton of Aargau, the Reuss Valley Act was adopted, which led to the rehabilitation of the river engineering facilities, the construction of the new Bremgarten power station and the elimination of numerous nature reserves in the Reuss plain.

nature and environment

Aquatic ecology

New studies have shown that the biological conditions in the Reuss below Lake Lucerne are partially insufficient in accordance with the requirements of the Water Protection Ordinance, mainly due to the intensive drainage of the settlements .

Nature reserves

At the confluence of the Reuss in the Urnersee, the southern part of Lake Lucerne, lies the extensive nature reserve Reussdelta, which is secured with the introduction of sustainable gravel mining due to the Reussdelta law adopted by the Uri voters in 1985 . Excavated material from the Flüelen bypass tunnel and the Gotthard base tunnel was used for landfills in front of the delta.

After the construction of the new Zufikon power plant and the major improvement of the Reuss valley from Maschwanden to Unterlunkhofen around 1970, the Flachsee, a wide nature reserve in the Reuss plain, was formed.

In Rottenschwil has Reusstal foundation in the region of a former, such as cut-off around 1700 Reuss loop nature reserve silence Reuss Rottenschwil created.

Past the towns of Bremgarten and Mellingen , the Reuss continues to flow through the valley, which is partly deeply cut into molasse and gravel terraces, until it flows into the Aare below Windisch and Gibstorf at the “ moated castle of Switzerland ” . As one of the few larger river sections in Switzerland, the Reuss below Bremgarten has remained largely undeveloped over a length of 25 kilometers, without power plants, barrages and side dams. The Reuss bank protection area has existed since 1966.



Since the Middle Ages, boatmen from Lucerne and from the towns on the river have used the Reuss stretch to the Aare as a transport route.

River crossings

The Reuss is crossed by numerous traffic routes between the Gotthard and the confluence with the Aare at the southern foot of the Jura . In the valleys of Uri leading Gotthard road , the Gotthard railway and motorway A2 numerous, often boldly constructed bridges that are considered the history of technology sites such as the Devil's Bridge in the Schöllenen , the Häderlisbrücke in Göschenen or Intschireussbrücke in Gurtnellen.

The famous wooden bridges in the city of Lucerne, the Chapel Bridge and the Spreuer Bridge are located below Lake Lucerne . There are numerous road and railway bridges along the course of the river through the Mittelland, such as the Reuss bridge Sins-Hünenberg , the railway bridge and the wooden bridge from Bremgarten , the high railway bridge near Mellingen and the early railway bridge from Vogelsang .

Over 100 bridges cross the Reuss from the confluence of the Furkareuss and Gotthardreuss at Hospental to the confluence with the Aare at Windisch.


Energy industry

In the cantons of Uri, Lucerne and Aargau, several hydropower plants use the Reuss gradient to generate electrical energy. The greatest concentration of power can be found in the canton of Uri, where the hydroelectric power with the three-stage Reuss cascade of high pressure - hydroelectric power plants is used mainly traction power for the SBB produce. The gigantic project of a Urseren power plant , which would have flooded the entire Urserental, was not realized. The Gotthardreuss, which rises in the canton of Ticino, is used by the Lucendro power plant, whose underwater is diverted into Ticino .

In the midland, the Reuss is used by several small power plants. The only larger power plant is the Bremgarten-Zufikon power plant . The Ottenbach and Bruggmühle power plants are maintained as museum power plants .

Map of the hydropower plants on the Reuss

List of hydropower plants on the Reuss :

Name of the power plant owner Type of power plant location first commissioning
Flow rate
m³ / s
fall height
turbine Power MW Energy per year GWh / a
Lucendro AET Storage power plant Airolo 1947 7th 1001 2 × Pelton 58 102
Urseren power plant CKW Storage power plant group of pumped storage plants Pfaffensprung Erstfeld (unrealized) 1270 2900
(Andermatt level)
CKW High pressure run-of- river power plant Göschenen 1961 12 343 2 × Francis 32.5 144
Water SBB High pressure run-of- river power plant Pfaffensprung 1949 26th 281 2 × Francis 56 290
Amsteg SBB High pressure run-of- river power plant Amsteg 1923 50 279 3 × Pelton 120 444
Mühlenplatz EWL Run-of-river power plant

( Small power plant )

Lucerne 1998 58 1.8 1 × chaplain 0.8 3
Town Hall CKW Run-of-river power plant

Diversion power plant

( Small power plant )

Emmen 1896 45 7th 1 × bulb turbine 2 15.9
Pearls 1 Pearl paper Run-of-river power plant

Diversion power plant

( Small power plant )

Perlen, Buchrain 1873 45 1 × S turbine 1 8th
Pearls 2 Pearl paper Run-of-river power plant

Diversion power plant

( Small power plant )

Pearls, root 1875 45 3.4 3 × suction lift turbine 1.1 7.8
Ottenbach Canton Zurich Historic diversion power plant

( Small power plant )

Ottenbach 1920 4th 2.02 1 × Francis 0.06
Bremgarten-Zufikon AEW Run-of-river power plant Bremgarten 1975 200 12 2 × bulb turbine 20th 106
Bruggmühle AEW Run-of-river power plant Bremgarten 1998 30th 1 × bulb turbine 0.5 3.5
Windisch Axpo Diversion power plant

( Small power plant )

Windisch 1830 55 2 12
  1. a b Figures from the 1943/44 project also include the Göschenen and Wassen power plants built later , as well as the existing Amsteg power plant
  2. a b of which a turbine for traction power generation
  3. all turbines for traction power generation

Leisure traffic

Below Göschenen, the Reuss is suitable for white water rafting .

Small boats can sail the Reuss from Lake Lucerne to the confluence with the Aare with restrictions when the water level is normal. At the weirs of Rathausen, Perlen, Ottenbach, Bremgarten-Zufikon, Bremgarten and Windisch there are transit or transport options. For canoes and small rubber dinghies, only the sections below the barrage at Perlen to the Bremgarten-Zufikon power plant and from the Hexenturm in the west of the city of Bremgarten to the barrage of the Kunz spinning mill near Gibstorf with a discharge between 150 and 270 m³ / s (Mellingen measuring station) suitable.

There are hiking routes along the banks of the Reuss, some of which are narrow and demanding.

The Reusslauf running event has been held annually in the Bremgarten area since 1982 .

In the Reuss valley, there are cycle routes that partly follow the riverside paths, but below Bremgarten, because of the steep banks of the river, switch to the gravel terraces ( Veloland route 77).

National history

The Reuss is of regional historical importance because it was the border river between the Kingdom of Burgundy and the Duchy of Alemannia in the German Empire for around 200 years and separated parts of Switzerland from the early modern period.

See also


  • Anne-Marie Dubler , Hans Stadler: Reuss. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  • Thomas Burger: Reuss. Floodplains on the Reuss plain between Sins and Rottenschwil. Aarau 2003.
  • Monika Beck, Michael van Orsouw: Reuss River Landscape. Train 2004.
  • Heinrich Jäckli: Problems of valley history in the Aargau Reuss valley. In: Geographica Helvetica 1956, pp. 46–59 ( digitized version ).
  • Josef Schurtenberger: The Reuss. Solothurn 1973.
  • Rudolf Siegrist : The river gravel of the Ice Age in Aargau and their natural plant colonization: a geological-climatological-botanical study . Aarau 1953.
  • Max Werder u. a .: Canton of Aargau. Rehabilitation of the Reuss valley level. A partnership work. Aarau 1982.

Web links

Commons : Reuss (Fluss)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Geoserver of the Swiss Federal Administration ( information )
  2. Evaluations of the water network. (XLSX) FOEN , December 2013, accessed on August 9, 2017 (listing of Swiss rivers> 30km).
  3. Modeled mean annual discharge. In: Topographical catchment areas of Swiss waters: sub-catchment areas 2 km². Retrieved August 30, 2017 .
  4. Mellingen measuring station 1935–2016 (PDF) Federal Office for the Environment FOEN
  5. Gabrielle Schmid: Silenen UR (Uri) . In: Dictionnaire toponymique des communes suisses - Lexicon of Swiss community names - Dizionario toponomastico dei comuni svizzeri (DTS | LSG) , Center de dialectologie, Université de Neuchâtel, Verlag Huber, Frauenfeld / Stuttgart / Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-7193-1308-5 and Éditions Payot, Lausanne 2005, ISBN 2-601-03336-3 , pp. 833f.
  6. ^ Anne-Marie Dubler , Hans Stadler: Reuss. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  7. Reussfall on ETHorama
  8. Max Werder ( inter alia): Canton Aargau. Rehabilitation of the Reuss valley level. A partnership work. Aarau 1982. pp. 11-14.
  9. Peter Püntener: flood in Uri. A historical review and the flood of 24./25. August 1987. In: Schweizer Ingenieur und Architekt, 2000, pp. 752–755.
  10. Franz Studer: Reusskorrektion . In: Fischbach-Göslikon community. Dorfchronik, 1991, pp. 103-115.
  11. E. Zumbach: course of Generic Reuss obstruction in ancient and modern times . Train 1924.
  12. Max Werder ( inter alia): Canton Aargau. Rehabilitation of the Reuss valley level. A partnership work. Aarau 1982. p. 54.
  13. Biological investigation of the Mittelland Reuss, Kleine Emme and Unteren Lorze. Water protection agencies of the cantons of Aargau, Lucerne, Zug and Zurich. Short report 2013.
  14. ↑ Reuss Delta protection zone near Flüelen.
  15. Information on the Reuss level (PDF).
  16. ^ Reuss Foundation: Hiking guide Stille Reuss. (PDF) Retrieved May 21, 2019 .
  17. History of the protected areas on the Reuss.
  18. ^ Fritz Glauser: Traffic in the Lucerne-Reuss-Rhine area in the late Middle Ages. Transportation and traffic routes. In: Yearbook of the Historical Society Lucerne 1978, pp. 2-19.
  19. ^ Max Baumann: About ferrymen, boatmen and fishermen in Aargau. The river as the livelihood of the rural population. Windisch 1977.
  20. Federal Office of Energy (Ed.): Statistics of the hydropower plants in Switzerland . January 1, 2020 ( ).
  21. Website of the Uri Canoe Club.
  22. Information on the waterway.
  23. ^ Iwona Eberle: Rubber boat guide Switzerland. Werd Verlag, Thun 2015, ISBN 978-3-85932-742-9 .
  24. Reussuferweg.
  25. ^ Website of the organization Bremgarter Reusslauf.
  26. Bike route from Veloland on the Reuss.