Sie sind hier:

On the Banks of the Elbe: Living with the river

Karte des Elbeverlaufs zwischen Bad Schandau und Dresden
Karte des Elbeverlaufs zwischen Bad Schandau und Dresden
Research and editor: Andreas Martin

The Elbe is the largest of the waters flowing through Saxony. For centuries, the river has determined everyday life and economy in the settlements and towns on her banks. But the meaning of the waters changes with regard to various conditions of everyday life and life styles. To particular settlements, the river provided the basis for food and livelihood only up to the 19th century. In the course of industrialization, its significance as a transportation route began to dominate, and during the second half of the 20th century, the utilization of the Elbe valley and the partly wide riverside meadow lowlands for leisure activities of residents and recreation seekers came to the fore. In the consequence of the industrial structural transformation at the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, efforts to restore the river to its original state, dominate the relation to its waters. Within large temporal intervals, the river demonstrates its natural function: to be a transportation route of surface runoff. In this way, it shows its role in the ecosystem of the European continent in a forceful way.

In the framework of the project, the alterations in the position of the river will be outlined in regard to the everyday life of the inhabitants of the city of Dresden and the upper Elbe valley, and it will be explored, in which situation the waters were perceived by them in which way. In this context, it is also important to observe the measures man has taken to shape the river bed, and it will be discussed if a culture of dealing with the natural phenomenon “river” has been developed. Positive details, like the Elbe cycle path, the Elbe meadows, the Elbe slope, and negative resp. scaring situations like the “Heidenauer Treibeis” (Heidenau drift ice), ice drift, historical and recent floods, lack of bridges etc. will be confronted with each other, and a general valuation of the everyday life concept of the river within the lifeworld of the local residents will be worked out.