The Kromme Rijn: a small river that cuts through town and country
The Kromme Rijn flows in the province of Utrecht, a small river that runs from Wijk bij Duurstede to the city of Utrecht. The river is 28 km long and probably originated around 1000 BC. The Kromme Rijn used to be the continuation of the Rhine. Over the centuries, however, the Lek has taken over this function. The river is especially popular with recreationists, such as anglers, swimmers and canoeists. Nature-friendly banks have also been constructed by nature managers.
The history of the Kromme Rijn
The Kromme Rijn probably originated around 1000 BC. At first, the Kromme Rijn with a width of about 100 meters was the continuation of the Rhine. In 1122, however, it was dammed at Wijk bij Duurstede, so that the Kromme Rijn became a narrower river with an average width of 15 meters due to the decreasing water intake. This made the Lek more important as a discharge of the Rhine.
In the 19th century, some bends in the Kromme Rijn were straightened, reducing the flow speed in some parts of the Kromme Rijn. Three weirs were also constructed. In the sixties of the 20th century, revetments were constructed between the river and the land, but in the nineties a number of these revetments were replaced by nature-friendly banks.
The course of the river
The Kromme Rijn runs from the Nederrijn in Wijk bij Duurstede to the Stadsbuitengracht in Utrecht and consists of three parts: the Wijkse Rijn, the Enge Rijn and the Wilde Rijn.
The Wijkse Rhine
The Wijkse Rijn is the section of the Kromme Rijn between Wijk bij Duurstede and the weir in Cothen. Just outside Wijk bij Duurstede, the Kromme Rijn is supplied with water from the Amerongerwetering. After this, the Wijkse Rijn continues to the village of Cothen. Just before Cothen the Kromme Rijn continues past Rhijnestein Castle. In Cothen the Kromme Rijn receives water from the Cothergrift. A little further on is the weir in Cothen, where the Wijkse Rijn ends.
The Enge Rhine
The Enge Rijn starts at the same place as the end of the Wijkse Rijn, at the weir in Cothen. After Cothen the Enge Rijn runs along a number of Weerden. These are meadows where the river used to have free rein to overflow. A little further on, the Caspargouwsewetering rises in the Enge Rijn, a canal that carries water from the Kromme Rijn to the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal. After this, the Enge Rijn arrives at the village of Werkhoven. There is also a weir just before Werkhoven.
After Werkhoven, the Enge Rijn flows past Beverweerd Castle. This is also where the Jaagpad starts, a walking path that runs parallel to the river. This path continues to Utrecht. The Enge Rijn ends at Odijk, at the point where the Langbroekerwetering flows into the Kromme Rijn.
The Wild Rhine
The Wilde Rijn starts where the Enge Rijn ends. This part of the Kromme Rijn is known for the many meanders in the river. After the Wilde Rijn passes Odijk, it runs parallel with the A12 for a while, where it later flows under. After passing the A12, the Wilde Rijn runs past industrial estate De Rumpst, where the river passes under a railway viaduct and arrives in Bunnik. Here the Kromme Rijn passes the Niënhof estate. Just past the Niënhof estate, the Hakswetering flows into the Wilde Rijn. The Wilde Rijn then continues to Fort bij Rhijnauwen. After this, the Kromme Rijn runs via the Amelisweerd estate to Utrecht.
The Minstroom branches off at the beginning of the Utrecht section of the Wilde Rijn. After this branch, the Wilde Rijn flows past De Krommerijn Swimming Pool, the Galgenwaard (the stadium of FC Utrecht) and Fort Lunetten I. Eventually the Wilde Rijn flows into the Stadsbuitengracht. This is the official end point of the Kromme Rijn.
The Kromme Rijn and its nature
The Kromme Rijn and the accompanying nature are very popular with recreationists today. Many people and families go to the Kromme Rijn for swimming, fishing or walking, for example. The Kromme Rijn is also widely used by canoeists, because the river is easily navigable due to the relatively soft current.
Various bird species such as kingfishers, blue herons, coots and grebes live around the Kromme Rijn. There are also various fish species such as perch, bindweed, asp, roach, rudd, colblei and bream. In 2017, the concentration of exotic gobies such as the round goby and the pontic goby is also increasing. However, this is often at the expense of other fish species.