Station 3: The new Rhine embankments

The 3Land partners’ intention is to enable the public to access the banks of the Rhine. The first projects have already been completed. Stay a while and enjoy the surroundings!

A view of the new Rheinpark in Weil am Rhein ©Marie Soehnlen

One of the joint goals of Basel, Weil am Rhein and Huningue is to “improve access and ensure uninterrupted access to the Rhine”. The cities have acknowledged that the banks of the Rhine must be made or remain accessible to the public. This is important if quality of life and leisure are to improve in the 3Land area. The first step towards achieving this end is to ensure that the foot- and cycle paths on both sides of the river are uninterrupted and level.

The cycle path on the Huningue bank, in the direction of Basel ©Julien Kauffmann

With the extension of the Rhine embankment path on the Basel side and the continuation of the Alsace Rhine path on the Huningue bank, the first steps have been taken. In 2016, once the lindane decontamination of the area completed, the Rhine embankment path between the Novartis campus and Huningue was opened to the public, first at the weekends, and full-time as of 2019.

On the Basel side, the Rhine embankment path is approximately 600 meters long. Landscape architect Guido Hager of Zurich designed the promenade. It is divided into several terraces and levels. Light-colored limestone walls up to 12 meters high separate the footpath from the Novartis campus. Trees and benches encourage visitors to this new public riverside space to linger.

There are also windows along the way that provide views of archaeological finds: During the port demolition work, a Celtic burial ground dated to 100 BCE was discovered.

The promenade is also the starting point of the Three countries “poet path”. Short texts in local dialects are displayed on 24 panels on the way from Sankt Johann to Huningue and Weil am Rhein. Walkers on the promenade are treated to poems in Baseldeutsch, Alsatian German and Baden Alemannic. The first of these is located next to the Dreirosen bridge (“Dreirosenbrücke”) and was written by Basel poet Theobald Baerwart.

The open space and nature conservation concept

The embankments have been designed in such a way that they can serve as a habitat for a wide variety of fauna and that riparian vegetation suited to the location can flourish. In order to connect the habitats of the beaver in Alsace, on the High Rhine and on the Ergolz (Basel-Landschaft) via the Rhine, several ecological groines (bank reinforcements) have been built, as well as beaver shelters.

The Rhine embankment path on the Huningue side ©Michel Kurst

On the Huningue side, the Alsace Rhine path has been valorized with artworks and furnishings up to the Dreiländer bridge (“Dreiländerbrücke”). The Rhine embankment path was the first part of the project to be awarded the IBA Basel 2020 label.

IBA Basel 2020 film on the Rhine embankment path (in German)