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Oder (Odra)
Oder between Kienitz and Zollbrücke, Germany
Countries Czech Republic, Poland, Germany
 - location Oderské vrchy, Silesia, Czech Republic
Mouth Szczecin Lagoon
 - location Baltic Sea, Poland
 - coordinates 53°40′19″N 14°31′25″E / 53.67194°N 14.52361°E / 53.67194; 14.52361
Length 854 km (531 mi)
Basin 118,861 km2 (45,892 sq mi)
Discharge mouth
 - average 574 m3/s (20,271 cu ft/s)

The Oder (German: Oder [ˈoːdɐ]; Polish/Czech: Odra) is a river in Central Europe. It rises in the Czech Republic and flows through western Poland, later forming 187 kilometres (116 mi) of the border between Poland and Germany, part of the Oder-Neisse line. The river ultimately flows into the Szczecin Lagoon north of Szczecin and then into three branches (the Dziwna, Świna and Peene) that empty into the Baltic Sea.



The Oder is known by several names in different languages: (English and German: Oder; Czech, Slovak and Polish: Odra; Hungarian: Odera; Classical Latin: Viadrus, Viadua; Medieval Latin: Od(d)era).


The Oder is 854 km long: 112 in the Czech Republic, 742 in Poland (including 187 on the border between Germany and Poland) and is the second longest river in Poland (after the Vistula). It drains 118,861 km² of watershed, 106,056 of which are in Poland (89%), 7,217 in the Czech Republic (6%), and 5,587 in Germany (5%). Channels connect it to the Havel, Spree, Vistula system and Kłodnica. It flows through Silesian, Opole, Lower Silesian, Lubusz, and West Pomeranian voivodeships of Poland and the states of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany.

Oder River. View from Ziegenwerder Island in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany to Słubice, Poland.
Estuary of the Lusatian Neisse into the Oder.
Oder in Szczecin, Wały Chrobrego.
Łarpia, a left distributary of Oder in winter, The Old Town of Police, Poland.

The main branch empties into the Szczecin Lagoon near Police. The Szczecin Lagoon is bordered on the north by islands of Usedom (west) and Wolin (east). Between these two islands, there is only a narrow channel (Świna) going to the Bay of Pomerania, which forms a part of the Baltic Sea.

The largest city on the Oder River is Wrocław.


The Oder is navigable over a large part of its total length, as far upstream as to the town of Koźle, where the river connects to the Gliwicki Canal. The upstream part of the river is canalized and permits larger barges (up to CEMT Class IV) to navigate between the industrial sites around the Wrocław area.

Further downstream the river is free flowing, passing the towns of Eisenhüttenstadt (where a canal connects the river to the Spree in Berlin) and Frankfurt (Oder). Downstream of Frankfurt the Warta River forms a navigable connection with Poznań and Bydgoszcz for smaller vessels. At Hohensaaten the Havel-Oder-Wasserstrasse connects with the Berlin waterways again.

Near its mouth the Oder reaches the city of Szczecin, a major maritime port. The river finally reaches the Baltic Sea through the Szczecin Lagoon and the river mouth at Świnoujście. (Source: NoorderSoft Waterways Database)


The river in Germania Magna was known to the Romans as the Viadrus or Viadua in Classical Latin, as it was a branch of the Amber Road from the Baltic Sea to the Roman Empire (see via). In German it was and is called the Oder, written in older records as Odera or Oddera in Medieval Latin documents and was mentioned in the Dagome iudex, which described territory of Duke Mieszko I ca. 990 and Oda von Haldensleben.

The Oder was an important trade route and towns in Germania were documented along with many tribes living between the rivers Albis, Viadrus and Vistula. Centuries later the Bavarian Geographer (ca. 845) specifies the following Westslavic peoples: Sleenzane, Dadosesani, Opoloni, Lupiglaa, and Gоlеnsizi in Silesia and Wolinians and Pyrzycans in Western Pomerania. A document of the Bishopric of Prague (1086) mentions Zlasane, Trebovyane, Poborane, and Dedositze in Silesia. In the 13th century, the first dams were built to protect agricultural lands.

The earliest important undertaking with a view of improving the waterway was due to the initiative of Frederick the Great, who recommended the diversion of the river into a new and straight channel in the swampy tract of land known as Oderbruch near Küstrin. The work was carried out in the years 1746-1753, a large tract of marshland being brought under cultivation, a considerable detour cut off and the main stream successfully confined to a canal.

In the late 1800s three additional alterations were made to the waterway.

  • The canalization of the main stream at Breslau, and from the confluence of the Glatzer Neisse to the mouth of the Klodnitz Canal, a distance of over 50 miles (80 km). These engineering works were completed in 1896.
  • During 1887-1891 the Oder-Spree Canal was made to connect the two rivers named.
  • The deepening and regulation of the mouth and lower course of the stream.

By the Treaty of Versailles the navigation on the Oder became subject to International Commission of the Oder.[1] Following the articles 363 and 364 of the Treaty Czechoslovakia was entitled to lease in Stettin (now Szczecin) its own section in the harbour, then called Tschechoslowakische Zone im Hafen Stettin.[2] The contract of lease between Czechoslovakia and Germany, and supervised by the United Kingdom, was signed on February 16, 1929 and would end in 2028, however, after 1945 Czechoslovakia did not regain this legal position, de facto abolished in 1938/1939.

After World War II, the Oder and the Lusatian Neisse formed the Oder-Neisse line, which was designated as the new border between Germany and Poland. The German populations east of these two rivers were expelled westwards.


Oder in Police

Main section:

Ostrava - Bohumín - Racibórz - Kędzierzyn-Koźle - Krapkowice - Opole - Brzeg - Oława - Jelcz-Laskowice - Wrocław - Brzeg Dolny - Ścinawa - Szlichtyngowa - Głogów - Bytom Odrzański - Nowa Sól - Krosno Odrzańskie - Eisenhüttenstadt - Frankfurt (Oder) - Słubice - Kostrzyn - Cedynia - Schwedt - Vierraden - Gartz - Gryfino - Szczecin - Police

Dziwna branch (between Wolin Island and mainland Poland):

Wolin - Kamień Pomorski - Dziwnów

Świna branch (between Wolin and the Usedom islands):


Szczecin Lagoon:

Nowe Warpno - Ueckermünde

Peene branch (between Usedom Island and the German mainland):

Usedom - Lassan - Wolgast

Eastern tributaries

Ostravice - Olza - Ruda - Bierawka - Kłodnica - Czarnka - Mała Panew - Stobrawa - Widawa - Jezierzyca - Barycz - Krzycki Rów - Obrzyca - Jabłonna - Pliszka - Ołobok - Gryzynka - Warta with the Noteć - Myśla - Kurzyca - Stubia - Rurzyca - Tywa - Płonia - Ina - Gowienica

Western tributaries

Opava - Psina (Cyna) - Cisek - Olszówka - Stradunia - Osobłoga - Prószkowski Potok - Nysa Kłodzka - Oława - Ślęza - Bystrzyca - Średzka Woda - Cicha Woda - Kaczawa - Ślepca - Zimnica - Dębniak - Biała Woda - Czarna Struga - Śląska Ochla - Zimny Potok - Bóbr - Olcha - Racza - Lusatian Neisse - Gunica


  1. ^ The commission was staffed with one representative of Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom each and three representatives of Prussia, being the German state competent for the navigable section of the Oder, comprised within the latter's borders. Cf. Der Große Brockhaus: Handbuch des Wissens in zwanzig Bänden: 21 Bde., completely revised ed., Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 151928-1935, vol 13 (1932): Dreizehnter Band Mue–Ost, article: 'Oder', pp. 600seq., here p. 601. No ISBN.
  2. ^ Cf. Archiwum Państwowe w Szczecinie (State Archive of Szczecin), Rep. 126, Krajowy Urząd Skarbowy w Szczecinie [1]

See also

External links

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ODER (Lat. Viadua; Slavonic, Vjodr), a river of Germany, rises in Austria on the Odergebirge in the Moravian tableland at a height of 1950 ft. above the sea, and 14 m. to the east of Olmiitz. From its source to its mouth in the Baltic it has a total length of 560 m., of which 480 m. are navigable for barges, and it drains an area of 43,300 sq. m. The first 45 m. of its course lie within Moravia; for the next 15 m. it forms the frontier between Prussian and Austrian Silesia, while the remaining 50o m. belong to Prussia, where it traverses the provinces of Silesia, Brandenburg and Pomerania. It flows at first towards the south-east, but on quitting Austria turns towards the north-west, maintaining this direction as far as Frankfort-onOder, beyond which its general course is nearly due north. As far as the frontier the Oder flows through a well-defined valley,. but, after passing through the gap between the Moravian mountains, and the Carpathians and entering the Silesian plain,, its valley is wide and shallow and its banks generally low. In its lower course it is divided into numerous branches, forming many islands. The main channel follows the left side of the valley and finally expands into the Pommersches, or Stettiner Haff, which is connected with the sea by three arms, the Peene, the Swine and the Dievenow, forming the islands of Usedom and Wollin. The Swine, in the middle, is the main channel for navigation. The chief tributaries of the Oder on the left bank are the Oppa, Glatzer Neisse, Katzbach, Bober and Lausitzer Neisse; on the right bank the Malapane, Bartsch and Warthe. Of these the only one of importance for navigation is the Warthe, which through the Netze is brought into communication with the Vistula. The Oder is also connected by canals with the Havel and the Spree. The most important towns on its banks are Ratibor, Oppeln, Brieg, Breslau, Glogau, Frankfort, Custrin and Stettin, with the seaport of Swinemiinde at its mouth. Glogau, Ciistrin and Swinemiinde are strongly fortified.

The earliest important undertaking with a view of improving the 'waterway was due to the initiative of Frederick the Great, who recommended the diversion of the river into a new and straight channel in the swampy tract of land known as the Oderbruch, near Ciistrin. The work was carried out in the years 174 6 - 1 753, a large tract of marshland being brought under cultivation, a considerable detour cut off, and the main stream successfully confined to the canal, 12 M. in length, which is known as the New Oder. The river at present begins to be navigable for barges at Ratibor, where it is about loo ft. wide, and for larger vessels at Breslau, and great exertions are made by the government to deepen and keep open the channel, which still shows a strong tendency to choke itself with sand in certain places. The alterations made of late years consist of three systems of works: - (r) The canalization of the main stream (4 m.) at Breslau, and from the confluence of the Glatzer Neisse to the mouth of the Klodnitz canal, a distance of over 50 m. These engineering works were completed in 1896. (2) In1887-1891 the Oder-Spree canal was made to connect the two rivers named. The canal leaves the Oder at Fiirstenberg (132 m. above its mouth) at an altitude of 93 ft., and after 15 m. enters the Friedrich-Wilhelm canal (134 ft.). After coinciding with this for 7 m., it makes another cut of 5 m. to the Spree at Fiirstenwalde (126 ft.). Then it follows the Spree for 12 m., and at Gross Tranke (121 ft.) passes out and goes. to Lake Seddin (106 ft.), 15 m. (3) The deepening and regulation of the mouth and lower course of the stream, consisting of the Kaiserfahrt, 3 m. long, affording a waterway between the Stettiner Haff and the river Swine for the largest ocean-going vessels; a new cut, 44 m. long, from Vietzig on the Stettiner Haff to Wollin Island; the Parnitz-Dunzig and Dunzig-Oder canals, together i m. long, constituting the immediate approach to Stettin. Vessels drawing 24 ft. are now able to go right up to Stettin. In 1905 a project was sanctioned for improving the communication between Berlin and Stettin by widening and deepening the lower course of the river and then connecting this by a canal with Berlin. Another project, born at the same time, is one for the canalization of the upper course of the Oder. About 4,000,000 tons of merchandize pass through Breslau (up and down) on the Oder in the year.

See Der Oderstrom, sein Stromgebiet and seine wichtigsten Nebenflusse; hydrographische, wasserwirtschaftliche and wasserrechtliche Darstellung (Berlin, 1896).

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also oder



Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun


  1. (geography) A river of central Europe that flows from the Czech Republic through Poland and Germany to the Baltic Sea.




German Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia de

Proper noun

Oder f.

  1. Oder river


  • Oder-Neiße-Linie
  • Oder-Weichsel-Germanen

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