Last week, I participated in a Field Trip to the Rhein-Herne Canal in Wanne-Eickel (NRW). The focus of this Field Trip lay on the early vernal plants and plants of ruderal wastelands and urban areas.
Welcome to Wanne-Eickel
1) The Rhine-Herne Canal
The Rhine-Herne Canal was built between 1908 and 1914. It's a transportation channel, which connects the River Rhine in Duisburg with the Dortmund-Ems Canal. The channel has a total length of 45.4 kilometres and runs nearly through the whole Ruhr region and parallel to the river Emscher. Thereby, the freight of the ships, which travel on the channel, consists of coal, ore, scrap and other products, which are characteristic for mining industry and heavy industry.
Rhein-Herne Canal at Wanne-Eickel
Because the channel has to overcome a difference in altitude of nearly 35 meters, there are five locks along the course. These locks are located in East Herne, Wanne-Eickel, Gelsenkirchen, Oberhausen and Duisburg. Earlier, there were even seven locks until 1991.
Southern lock in Wanne-Eickel
The lock in Wanne-Eickel, which you can see on my pictures, is located in Crange, an urban district of Wanne-Eickel respectively Herne (s. below). It overcomes a height difference (“Fallhöhe” in German) of nearly 8,50 meters.
Old Norther lock
The complex consists of two locks, which were built in 1906. However, the northern lock was defunct later and today, only the southern lock is operational. The southern lock was renewed in 1994, because it became to small for the modern cargo ships of the “Europa II” class.
Flood gate of the Southenr Lock
The new lock has an effective length of 190 meters and an effective width of nearly 12 meters. The old northern lock has still its old measurements with a length of 163 meters and a width 10 meters. This is to small for modern ships.
In addition, the renovation of both locks is planned for the future.
2) Wanne-Eickel and Crange
Wanne-Eickel is a small town in the heart of the Ruhr Region in Northrhine Westphalia (Western Germany). More specifically, Wanne-Eickel consists of two villages: Wanne and Eickel, which fused in 1926. Because of its position, Wanne-Eickel was a centre of mining (especially coal and ore) and an important junction for the industry in this area. The main station of Wanne-Eickel was one of the largest railway yard of the Ruhr Region.
Church in Crange
In 1975, Wanne Eickel merged with the small town of Herne. This was the birth of the new Herne, with Wanne and Eickel as two separated, urban districts. However, Wanne-Eickel exists until today for many people as an own town. The main station still bears the name “Wanne Eickel Hbf” (Wanne-Eickel Mainstation).
Powerplant in Wanne-Eickel
The reason for this is the high popularity of Wann-Eickel in popular culture. It symbolizes a typical, medium town in the Ruhr region with Industry as formative factor and inhabited by simple people and miners.
The most famous cultural heritage is the song “Mond von Wanne-Eickel” (“Moon over Wanne-Eickel”) by Friedel Hensch and his band.
Mining Industry - Coal sorting machine
Another examples are the fictional resident “Adolf Tegtmeier”, which was created by the famous German comedian Jürgen von Manger or the “Dinner for Wanne”, a parody of the famous sketch “Dinner for one”.
Our Field Trip was in Crange, a former district of Wanne-Eickel and now a part of Herne. Crange is very famous because it's the location of the famous “Cranger Kirmes”, which is the largest fair in NRW and the second largest in Germany behind the Oktoberfest in Munich.
Gate of Crange ("Cranger Tor")
The field trip was held on the meadows, where the fair is held each year. Past, there was a coal mine. The mine “Unser Fritz” was the largest in Herne.
3) List of Species
Vicia sativa ssp. angustifolia