The Vecht is a rain river which originates in Germany and flows into the Netherlands . It is 105 miles long of which 38 miles in the Netherlands. Its origins lie in Baumberge (Münsterland) and culminates in Zwolle in het Zwarte Water. It flow rate is 485 to 900 cubic foot per second. The flow area of the river Vecht covers 1460 square miles and the first written mention dates back to around 1232.
Course of the rivier
There are several sources to the river Vecht . One of the sources is in Münsterland is formed by the moat of the castle Darfeld. Legend has it that the Vecht got it’s name in 400 A.D when Prince Vechtan drowned while crossing it.
Important tributaries that join the Vecht are Steinfurter Aa , Dinkel , the drainage canal in Gramsbergen (also know as the little Coevordense Vecht) and the Regge. Major cities and towns along the Vecht are: Metelen , Wettringen , Schüttorf , Brandlecht , Nordhorn , Neuenhaus , Hoogstede , Emlichheim , Gramsbergen , Hardenberg , Ommen , Vilsteren and Zwolle .
The Vecht played an important role for shipping well into the 19th century. One of the main cargos on the Vecht was (Bentheim) sandstone , which was an important building material at the time. Shipping proved to be very inconsistent due to its irregular water flow. Especially in the summer months the water could be extremely low. As a result the river was only navigable in the rain periods from approximately October to April. In the summer the river was almost dry and shipping was at a stand-still for weeks at the time.
Sailing times were also very tedious due to the amount of bends in the river. A sailing from Zwolle to Nordhorn took about 6 days , while a sailing from Amsterdam to Zwolle took 2 days. Around 1600 the city of Zwolle wanted to shorten sailing times between Coevorden en Zwolle and and a new canal called Dedemsvaart was dug.
The Vecht as we know it today was channeled In 1908 when many of the bends were cut out improving the depth and flow.