20th century forgot its rivers: they served as rubbish
dumps, were polluted and dangerous and their access
were often forbidden.
They were used only for navigation and for the production
of power. The numerous beaches and swimming spots disappeared;
their back to the rivers and forgot their responsibility.
Fortunately, huge efforts have been made since the 90ies
for the cleaning and the restoration of rivers. The
Rhine, Elbe and Loire rivers now possessed numerous
spots reaching the bath water quality standards. They
exemplary for the management of the other European river
...to the revival of
the way of living with rivers
citizens have understood : to respect, to live with,
to restore, to give back its original space to the river,
to improve the water's quality everywhere, are the new
motto. This growing awareness is expressed
through the revival of the activities on and along the
rivers: cycle tracks, discovery canoe tours, sporty
fishing, even swimmers have
There are the precursor signs of a new
age which are also seen in big urban visionary projects
as in Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Berlin, Paris, Lyon and
return to the rivers
Jump aims at reconciliating people with their
rivers. This project will induce the citizens to reconquer
their rivers and lakes and will revive
the powerful links that used to bind people to these
Reconciliation is an essential element
to gain people's support to the big European restoration
effort for rivers and wetlands, this huge project being
expressed in the European Water Framework Directive
10 000 beaches for Europ's living rivers - only
a vision ?
No, the Elbe River is the example
2002, a pilot Big Jump project, the "International
Elbe-Swimming Day gathered 100.000
people who celebrated the rediscovery of their River
Elbe, a river that was the most polluted river in Europe
in 1989 (Reunification of Germany).
of actions, from a simple event to the revival of old
traditions, including the reopening of beaches and historical
bathing equipments, took place during this unique project.
The event was created by Roberto Epple from the ERN
European Rivers Network and realized by the Living Elbe
project partners Deutsche Umwelthilfe and Gruner+Jahr.
the source of the Elbe in the Czech Republic, through
Eastern Germany to the estuary near Hamburg, 55 swimming
spots on thousand kilometres were counted and supervised
by more than 200 local organizing groups.
has been made possible for the Elbe river will be achieved
too for other rivers, water basins and countries, everywhere