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Basel - Rhine Swimming

Basel - Rhine Swimming

The Rhine invites to bathe in it all summer, but only once a year the famous "Rheinschwimmen" takes place. Whether young or old, thousands of swimmers jump into the river and drift downstream.

Fifty years ago it was still considered “gruesome” and dangerous to swim in the Rhine. The water was murky and dirty, but policy decision makers continued to ignore the fishermen’s pleas. After the disaster in the industrial area “Schweizerhalle” in 1986 (a fire at the Sandoz chemical corporation caused thousands of litres of contaminated extinguishing water to make its way into the Rhine), the river was declared dead. Fortunately, the flora and fauna recovered amazingly quickly, and many people began to swim in the Rhine again. Since then, entire streams of people armed with beach towels, flip-flops and flotation devices have strolled upstream and let themselves be carried back downstream and through the city by the gentle flow. The river is blocked off to ships for the annual “Rheinschwimmen” in August, which attracts roughly 2,000 swimmers into the water!