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Visiting Wellen, Germany and its bridge over the Mosel: somewhat eclipsed by its Luxembourg neighbour?

Updated on November 30, 2013
Flag of Germany
Flag of Germany | Source
Border bridge over the Moselle between Grevenmacher and Wellen
Border bridge over the Moselle between Grevenmacher and Wellen | Source
Road bridge over the Moselle to Grevenmacher
Road bridge over the Moselle to Grevenmacher | Source
Wellen | Source
MS Princess Marie-Astrid
MS Princess Marie-Astrid | Source
Map location of Wellen, Konz district
Map location of Wellen, Konz district | Source

Linking Germany and Luxembourg

Germany is undoubtedly among the most important and among the economically strongest of the European countries. It is interesting, however, that at some of its border regions the local dynamics are such that localities with neighbouring towns across the border are somewhat eclipsed by them (if this is even an appropriate term?) (1)

One such place is Wellen, in the Konz district of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate (German: Rheinland-Pfalz ). It is a village with a population of 766 inhabitants (2003). Lying on the Mosel river, it is located opposite the town of Grevenmacher, in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the municipality of which has over 4000 inhabitants.

A bridge, dating from 1955, executed in reinforced concrete, links Wellen with Grevenmacher. Its total length is 203.95 metres.

Germany is of course by far the larger country, and much more of the Mosel river is in Germany than in Luxembourg, But for some reason the bridge over the Moselle at Wellen is usually referred to as the Grevenmacher Bridge, and not in reference to Grevenmacher's German counterpart. As well as bringing together the localities at either side, the bridge serves to link traffic from the B419 in Germany with that of the N10 in Luxembourg.

The 1955 structure replaced a previous bridge built in 1881.

But interestingly, the days of the 1955 structure may already be numbered: a new bridge is already being planned as a replacement. Indeed, the manner in which these plans are moving forward arguably somewhat exemplify the local economic dynamics between these border localities in Germany and Luxembourg. In 2010 the respective Transport ministers of the Federal Republic of Germany and Luxembourg's government met on October 21, and pledged to cooperate in the building of a new structure across the Mosel: significantly, the Luxembourg government expects to pay 70% of the cost, while the German government pays the remaining 30% (2).

Also somewhat symbolic is the fact that the ministerial meeting took place on board a luxury riverboat, the MS Princesse Marie-Astrid , (named for a prominent member of Luxembourg's Grand-ducal family), which sails under the flag of Luxembourg.

Significantly also, the German word for 'waves' is 'Wellen', and waves do indeed feature on the arms of Wellen; and, for the situation of Wellen, the constant presence and leitmotif of moving water certainly commands an engaging permanence.

January 22, 2013


(1) In other areas along the German border, exactly the opposite processes seem to be active; for example, Aachen, as a large city near the border with The Netherlands and Belgium, strongly influences the economies of localities beyond the border in those countries.

(2) Source:

Also worth seeing

In Wellen itself, a Neo-Gothic church, often painted in the familiar white favoured for church buildings in region, with stone facing, overlooks the Mosel river.

Grevenmacher, Luxembourg (distance from Wellen: approx. 0.2 kilometres) has an ornate town hall and a hillside chapel.

Langsur, Germany (distance — by road, remaining on the German side of the border —: 31 kilometres) is a photogenic, 1000-year old village, located on a meander in the Our River.

Trier , Germany (distance: 22 kilometres) is an ancient city; its Porta Nigra dates from Roman times.

Nennig , Saarland, Germany (distaince: 20 kilometres) has a well-preserved Roman villa with a mosaic.


How to get there: Lufthansa flies to Frankfurt-am-Main, from where car hire is available. The nearest large international airport is Luxembourg (Aéroport de Luxembourg ), at Findel (distance from Findel, Luxembourg City to Wellen : 22 kilometrers; distance from Frankfurt-am-Main to Wellen : 221 kilometres). For North American travellers making the London, England area their touring base, airlines flying to Luxembourg include Luxair (from London Heathrow Airport and London City Airport) and CityJet (from London City Airport). Wellen also has its own railroad station. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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