Dangers of the Rhine in Liechtenstein

The main problem with the river Rhine has been to do with flooding. Since the building of higher and stronger banks, and the straightening of the river, the danger of flooding has almost disappeared in Liechtenstein, transferring it to lower reaches of the river, as has been seen in Germany during the 1990's with frequent flooding of cities like Cologne (not that this can be traced directly to the work carried out in Liechtenstein).

Flooding riverThe chronology of the flooding in Liechtenstein is noted below:

1206 - First documented flood in which the church of Lustenau was washed away

1276 - The Rhine was unusually high and overflowed at various points, laying the area to waste

1315-17 - Torrential downpours over much of central Europe brought flooding and famine to the area

1343 - During the period 1342-48, the Rhine constantly flooded, with the worst flood in 1343. The period was typified by flooding, freezing temperatures, damp, famine and plague

1374 - The Rhine put most of modern-day Liechtenstein under water

After 1600 - The high water levels of the Rhine were increasingly dangerous, aided by the deforestation of the mountain slopes by the immigrant Walser communities. During the 14th century alone, there were over 70 floods.

1650 - A flood-wave in December ripped a water mill lose. It was, however, recovered and replaced

After 1700 - The Rhine floods caused increasing damage, with breeches in the banks recorded in 1739, 1740, 1743, 1762 and 1769. Thereafter, the summer months of 1775, 1785, 1787 and 1789 were devastated by breeches

1816 - A year of famine caused by the five 'Ice-age' summers, with snow rich winters, late springs and wet summers raising the river level and ruining the crops

1817 - More famine and massive flood on the 27th August. This flood, cause by breeches near Ruggell, deposited a vast amount of gravel onto the fields and destroyed many buildings

1829 - Gamprin and Ruggell were under water between the 15th and 20th September

1839 - The same area again flooded

1846 - The banks were breached higher up the Rhine at Triesen on the 28th June, and the valley floor stood under a layer of water for six weeks

1849 - Ruggell and Bangs in Austria again flooded

1868 - The Rhine breeches the defences north of Ruggell

1872 - Gamprin, Ruggell and Bangs again flooded

1927 - The last flood of the Rhine in Liechtenstein. On 25th September, the Rhine breached the banks near Schaan, flooding all areas north of it, with Ruggell being worst hit. This flood cost lives and destroyed many houses. The railway bridge in Schaan was washed away, and the fields were again covered in gravel and slit


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