Passau Floods – at the confluence of three rivers, Passau is susceptible to flooding:
Passau sits at the confluence of the Danube, the Inn and the Ilz and markets itself as the “City of Three Rivers”. Unfortunately, being the City of Three Rivers also means that it is prone to being flooded. And when they talk about serious flooding in Passau, they’re talking metres.
Passau is still flood prone today
The last time we were in Passau in June 2013, it was just three weeks after the town had suffered one of its worst floods. We were told that the Danube had reached its highest level in 500 years – at least that’s what they thought at the time.
We were doing a river cruise from Vienna to Paris and it was a bit of a touch and go as to whether the cruise would proceed. Luckily, by the time we got to Passau, the water level had subsided and it was possible to berth. The cruise captain said that one day earlier, it would not have been possible. This photo shows just how serious the flooding was.
Passau’s record flood water levels
On the wall of the old Rathaus is a marker showing all the floods that Passau had experienced since the middle ages. As you can see from the stained wall, the water level in 2013 got up to 3.06 metres at the old Town Hall.
Along the bank of the Danube, the ground floor of most buildings were submerged under water. When we walked around town then, we saw a lot of very damaged properties along the river front.
Fast forward to 2017
We’re glad that this time round, the weather in Passau was just great. Many of the damaged properties had been repaired. We did however see a couple of businesses that seemed not to have survived the flood. The receptionist at the Hotel Wildermann said that they were closed for one week only. The people wanted this historical hotel to keep going in spite of the bad smells on the ground level. It’s amazing that they managed to clean up the place so quickly.
When we were at the old Rathaus we looked at the flood marker again and noticed that something had changed. It seemed that 2013 was not the record year. After some research, the town had established that the flood in 1501 reached a much higher level. Tony asked at the Tourist Information office and the guy confirmed that the previous recording was incorrect.
Happily, today, the Danube is very calm and the only water gushing in Passau is from the taps!