Germany among top nations in Europe for bathing water quality

Germany among top nations in Europe for bathing water quality

The wet, changeable weather right now might not be calling you outside, but when things do hot up again, people in Germany can rest assured that the quality of the water at their favourite swimming spot is excellent. A new study has found that Germany has some of the cleanest bathing water in Europe. 

90,2 percent of bathing water in Germany rated excellent

Of 2.291 bathing spots in Germany surveyed for a new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) - including the North and Baltic Sea coasts, lakes and rivers - 2.068 (or 90,2 percent) were rated excellent for their cleanliness. This is above the EU-wide average of 85,6 percent. 

Indeed, it puts Germany in the top 10 for water cleanliness, behind Cyprus (99,2 percent rated excellent), Austria (96,9 percent), Greece (96,6 percent), Croatia (95,6 percent), Denmark (94,3 percent), Malta (94,3 percent), Bulgaria (92,7 percent) and Romania (92,0 percent).

In Germany, a further 135 bathing spots were rated as good, 36 as sufficient, and just 14 (0,6 percent) as too poor to meet minimum cleanliness standards. 

The report is based on samples taken during the 2022 swimming season at 21.973 bathing areas across the 27 EU member states, and 315 monitored bathing sites in Albania and Switzerland. The samples were analysed for types of bacteria that indicate pollution from sewage and livestock breeding. More than 95 percent were found to meet minimum quality standards in accordance with EU regulations. 

Quality of water in Europe has increased over last 40 years

Leena Ylä-Mononen, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, said, “This is great news for all Europeans who demand that the environment we all share and enjoy, including our cherished bathing sites, are as clean as possible. This shows that over 40 years of hard work in monitoring and improving our coastal waters, rivers, lakes and ponds is paying off, but it also shows that regular monitoring is vital to positive progress.”

The quality of bathing water in the EU has been steadily improving since the EU Bathing Water Directive was adopted in 2006. Between 2010 and 2015, the share of bathing sites in the EU rated as excellent grew to between 87 and 89 percent for coastal bathing waters and 78 to 82 percent for inland bathing waters, and has remained stable since.



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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