The Spree in Berlin, view eastwards from Friedrichstraße.
Origin Upper Lusatia
Mouth Havel
52°32′10″N 13°12′31″E / 52.53611°N 13.20861°E / 52.53611; 13.20861Coordinates: 52°32′10″N 13°12′31″E / 52.53611°N 13.20861°E / 52.53611; 13.20861
Basin countries Czech Republic, Germany
Length ±400 km
Avg. discharge 36 m³/s
Basin area 10,105 km²
The Spree in Bautzen
The Spree in the Spreewald
The Spree in central Berlin
The Bode Museum at the tip of Museum Island in the Spree

The Spree (German pronunciation: [ˈʃpʁeː]; Sorbian: Sprjewja, Czech: Spréva) is a river that flows through the Saxony, Brandenburg and Berlin states of Germany, and in the Ústí nad Labem region of the Czech Republic. It is a left bank tributary of the River Havel and is approximately 400 kilometres (250 mi) in length.

The reach of the river between the Dämeritzsee and Müggelsee to the east of Berlin is known as the Müggelspree.



The source of the Spree is located in the Lusatian Highlands (Lausitzer Bergland) on the Czech border. After leaving the hills, the river passes through the old city of Bautzen/Budyšin, the centre of the Sorbs in Upper Lusatia. Just to the north of Bautzen the river flows through the Bautzen Reservoir. Further north the river passes through the city of Spremberg and the Spremberg Reservoir before reaching the city of Cottbus. To the north of Cottbus the river enters the Spreewald, a large wetlands area in Lower Lusatia.[citation needed]

In the Spreewald the river passes through the towns of Lübbenau, Lübben and Leibsch. Just below Leibsch, the Dahme Flood Relief Canal diverts water from the Spree to run into the River Dahme at Märkisch Buchholz. The Spree continues north from Leibsch before flowing into the Neundorfer See at the northern edge of the Spreewald. From the Neundorfer See it then flows in an easterly direction to the Schwielochsee, and then in a northerly and westerly direction to the town of Fürstenwalde. From Fürstenwalde the river continues to flow westwards, through the Dämeritzsee and Müggelsee, to Köpenick in the southeastern part of Berlin, where it is joined by its tributary, the River Dahme.[1]

The final reach of the Spree is where it is best known. It flows through the city centre of Berlin to join the River Havel in Spandau, one of Berlin’s western boroughs. On its route through Berlin, the river passes Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom), the Reichstag and the Schloss Charlottenburg. The renowned Museum Island (Museumsinsel), with its collection of five major museums, is actually an island in the Spree. The Badeschiff is a floating swimming pool moored in the Spree.[1][2]


Very small craft, such as punts, are widely used in wetlands of the Spreewald. Larger craft can reach as far upstream as Leibsch, although the upper reaches are relatively shallow and are generally only used by leisure craft. Some intermediate reaches are unnavigable and by-passed by canals.[1]

For a stretch of about 20 kilometres (12 mi) near Fürstenwalde the river forms part of the Oder-Spree Canal, although this then diverges to join the River Dahme. On this reach, and on the reach west of the confluence with the River Dahme at Köpenick, the river forms part of the commercially important link between Berlin and the River Oder and hence Poland.[1]

In Berlin, the Spree forms part of a dense network of navigable waterways, many of which are artificial, and which provide a wide choice of routes. Several important commercial harbours can be found on this network. Tour boats tour the central section of the Spree and its adjoining waterways on a frequent basis.[1][3]


The name of the river Spree was by Thietmar of Merseburg recorded as Sprewa (Middle German sprejen, sprewen, High German sprühen meaning to spray water). People living at the Spree river (Anwohner) were in old German language (and are still) called Spreewaner.[citation needed]

The river gives its name to several German districts:

Berlin Wall

Many people died in the Spree while trying to cross the Berlin Wall, including children who drowned with rescuers not allowed to enter to river to save them.


  1. ^ a b c d e Sheffield, Barry (1995). Inland Waterways of Germany. St Ives: Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson. pp. 113–122. ISBN 0 85288 283 1. 
  2. ^ James, Kyle. "A Pool with a View". Deutsche Welle. http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,1302942,00.html. Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  3. ^ Gawthrop, John; Williams, Christian (2008). The Rough Guide to Berlin. London - New York - Delhi: Rough Guides. pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-1-85828-382-1. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Spree — Karte des FlusslaufesVorlage:Infobox Fluss/KARTE fehlt Daten …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sprée — Spree Spree/Sprjewja/Spréva Caractéristiques Longueur 400 km Bassin 10,105 km2 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • spree — [spriː] noun [countable] spending/​buying/​takeover etc spree a short period of time during which someone spends a lot of money: • Consumers went on a spending spree. • The company embarked on a takeover spree during the 1980s. * * * spree UK US… …   Financial and business terms

  • Spree — Spree, die; : linker Nebenfluss der Havel. * * * Spree   die, linker, bedeutendster Nebenfluss der Havel, in Sachsen (Oberlausitz), Brandenburg (Niederlausitz) und Berlin, 382 km lang (davon die unteren 147 km schiffbar); entspringt im …   Universal-Lexikon

  • spree — /spree/, n. 1. a lively frolic or outing. 2. a bout or spell of drinking to intoxication; binge; carousal. 3. a period, spell, or bout of indulgence, as of a particular wish, craving, or whim: an eating spree; a spending spree. 4. a period or… …   Universalium

  • spree — [spri:] n [Date: 1700 1800; Origin: Perhaps from Scottish English spreath attack to steal cattle , from Scottish Gaelic spreidh cattle ] a short period of time when you do a lot of one activity, especially spending money or drinking alcohol on a… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Spree — (spr[=e]), n. [Cf. Ir. spre a spark, animation, spirit, Gael. spraic. Cf. {Sprack}.] A merry frolic; especially, a drinking frolic; a carousal. [Colloq.] [1913 Webster] {spending spree} an incident in which one spends money freely; usually… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Spree — Spree, Nebenfluß der Havel, entspringt in der sächs. Oberlausitz bei Spreedorf, teilt sich unterhalb Bautzen in die Große und Kleine S., durchfließt den Spreewald, den Schwielochsee, Berlin, mündet l. bei Spandau [Karte: Deutsches Reich I, 3];… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Sprée — (la) (en all. Spree) riv. d Allemagne (403 km); naît en haute Lusace, à la frontière tchèque; passe à Berlin; se jette dans la Havel (r. dr.) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • spree — [ spri ] noun count a short period that you spend doing only one activity, especially something enjoyable such as spending money or drinking alcohol: a shopping/spending/buying spree …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Spree — * Spree trinken. (Berlin.) Seinen Tod im Wasser, in der Spree suchen. Nach der (1856) in Berlin mehrere hundert mal gegebenen Posse von D. Kalisch, Der Actienbudiker …   Deutsches Sprichwörter-Lexikon

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