Aachen brooks - Aachener Bäche

For hundreds of years, the Aachen brooks have been the reason that both peoples and, later, local industry have settled in Aachen . After the Celts , the Romans in particular valued the numerous streams and, above all, the Aachen thermal springs , which were then openly flowing , before they were taken over by the Carolingians . This is also reflected in the naming of the city, as is the case with the terms "Ahha" (pronounced: Acha, Germanic "water") and "aquis" (Latin, ablative pluralis: "on the waters") [1] - both that Germanic as well as the Latin etymon desToponyms "Aachen" [2] - express in each case. The completely Latin toponym for the city is Aquis Granni , whereby Grannus means the Celtic god of healing . Later, the hydropower of the Aachen brooks provided the drive for cloth, fulling, copper and grinding and grain mills and, above all, for a flourishing economy in the cloth industry. All Aachen brooks arise on the wooded hills in the south of Aachen and mostly flow into the Wurm , the Senserbach into the Göhl and from the south-eastern, incorporatedUrban area, the Inde directly into the Rur . Up until the end of the 19th century, the urban brooks flowed through the city openly, and since then have been largely concealed in pipes in the built-up urban area .

Geography, geology and hydrology of the Aachen brooks

About 30 brooks [3] [4] and two rivers, the Inde and Wurm, arise on the southern edge of the Aachen basin , which they themselves created and preserved through erosion in the course of the earth's history, and drain it to the Rur . The Wurm and its tributaries are largely piped in the city center area. The Inde and its tributaries drain the southern urban area. Outside and inside the city, the individual streams are dammed into ponds and ponds .

The source areas of the streams are located on the northern edge of the Aachen forest , which geologically consists of light and green sands. The up to 20 m thick and water- retaining clay layer underneath ensures that groundwater is formed above it, which continuously feeds the springs.

The most important streams are: Amstelbach , Beverbach , Gillesbach, Haarbach , Iterbach , Johannisbach , Pau , Paunell and Senserbach .

Prosperity through hydropower

From the Middle Ages to the 20th century, numerous water mills that used relief energy lined up along the Aachen brooks [5] . [6] [7] The city owed its prosperity to the water power of its streams to drive spinning mills , for fulling , for hammering and for grinding . [8] During the heyday of the cloth industry , around 250 cloth factories, spinning mills and dye works used the hydropower of the Aachen brooks, as it is ideal for washing, degreasing and bleachingwho owned wool and cloth. Mühl ditches and Mühl ponds regulated the water supply. Thermal water was used to keep the water wheels free of ice in winter and so production was possible all year round. In addition to the grinding mills were copper mills and for manufacturing needles serving grinding mills of particular importance. Over the centuries, the individual companies have been redesigned several times according to the respective wishes and needs into fulling mills, oil mills , fur mills , which the furriers used to prepare their skins, paper mills , colored wood mills and others. [9]

In the 19th century there was a “Bach Police” in Aachen, as can be seen from Section VI of the “Ordinance on Regulation, Cleaning and Maintenance of the Wurmbach” of November 14, 1832. Mill owners and other Bach residents who had carried out their work inadequately or not at all were summoned to the police court for responsibility and punishment. [10] The driving force of the brooks, which were regulated by damming, was sometimes impaired in its effect on the mills by unauthorized interference by neighbors. They gave rise to constant disputes. [9]

Piping and brook disclosure

Disclosure Johannisbach Aachen - level Annuntiatenbach

Until the middle of the 19th century, the brooks still flowed openly through the city. However, they were also sewage pipes that had to take in domestic and craft-industrial wastewater. The result was a considerable stench. In addition, some of the polluted water seeped into the ground and also contaminated the groundwater from which the wells were fed. [11] In the years 1831/32, 1849 and 1866 there were several cholera and typhus epidemics . During the same period there were cases of malaria , including “ BurtscheiderDisease "called. Anopheles larvae thrived in a Burtscheider pond (monastery pond), in which the excess hot water from the spa was collected . [12] [13] In 1858 the pond was filled in. The streams were led into pipes in the city center. In addition to the stream channels, separate wastewater channels were laid for the wastewater so that the stream water was no longer so heavily polluted. In 1908 the sewer network was largely completed. [11]

Street names point to the watercourses and former mills hidden today: Bachstraße, Am Beverbach, Beverstraße, Borngasse, Kaltbachgässchen, Warmweiherstraße; Krautmühlenweg, Mühlradstraße, Pottenmühlenweg.

Since the 1980s there have been plans to partially expose streams again. First of all, in 1999, the Johannisbach was brought to light on a 500 m long section as part of the “Aachen, Ecological City of the Future” project. About half of the water flows in an open channel from Lindenplatz along the streets Annuntiatenbach (named after the former Annuntiatenkloster Aachen ) and Augustinerbach (named after the former Augustinian monastery Aachen ) to Pontstraße . Further plans to free Pau, Paunelle, Wurm, Beverbach and Gillesbach from their sewer pipes have not yet been implemented.

Overview of the most important Aachen streams

designation Source area Tributaries
only Aachener
only in Aachen area
mouth image
Senserbach Nordhang Vaalserberg no Lemierser Mill at Wittem- Gulpen in the Göhl Sinselbaekwkped07.JPG
more pictures
Amstelbach Area Nierstein farms in Vetschau Beautiful brook, Horbach, Krombach Untermühle , Obermühle south of Rimburg Castle in the Wurm Amstelbach 8 course of the Geuchter Hof.jpg
more pictures
worm Düsbergkopf in the Aachen forest Wildbach , Pau , Goldbach, Kupferbach, Gillesbach, Beverbach , Haarbach Upper (Vullenbroichermühle) and lower Diepenbender mill (Geudensmühle), Bärenmühle, Bienbarmühle, Eismühle, Rothager Mühle, Steinebrücker Mahlmühle, Kulpriemühle, Ellermühle, Kuckartzmühle, Amyamühle, Warmweihermühle, White Mill, Powder Mill, Rosentahlmühle, Dennels, Aretzmühle Hochbrücker mill near Heinsberg in the Rur Wurm in the Wurmtal.jpg
more pictures
Wildbach at the Seven Springs in Seffent Dorbach, Schwarzbach Upper and Lower Schurzelter Mühle (oil mill), Wildbacher Mühle, Rahe-Mühle, Speckheuer Follmühle, Stockheider Mühle , Soerser Mühle, in the Soers area in the worm Wildbach (Aachen).JPG
more pictures
Dorbach above the Reinartzkehl riding stables in Friedrichswald in the area of seven sources in the torrent Dorbach Aachen.JPG
more pictures
Johannisbach south of Hanbruch and at Gut Hasselholz Paunell Pottenmühle, Junkersmühle, Plattenbauchmühle, Schönforster Mühle, Sackmühle, Untere Pletschmühle under the Aachener Peterstraße in the Pau Johannisbach Aachen.JPG
more pictures
Pau in the Ronheider Berg area in the Aachen Forest Klotzweider Bach, Kannegießerbach Burned mill, Rosmühle, Brudermühle, Heppionsmühle in the Rehmplatz area in the Wurm Paubach-4.jpg
more pictures
Paunell in the Ronheider Berg area in the Aachen Forest;
Part of the Pau, which was diverted in artificial canals to supply the medieval city with water and energy.
Schleifmühle Goethestrasse, Pulvermühle Mozartstrasse, Kupfermühle Karmeliterstrasse in the Willy-Brandt-Platz area in the Johannisbach Paubach-2.jpg
common source pond of Pau and Paunell
Kannegießerbach Near the Grundhaus Lütticher Straße White mill In the Hangeweiher area in the Pau Kannegießerbach Aachen.JPG
Gillesbach Steinebrück district in the Brabantstraße area at the corner of Oppenhoffallee in the Wurm Gillesbach Aachen - central area 1.JPG
more pictures
Beverbach Augustinian Forest Hitfeld receiving water, Hitfelder Bach, receiving water Waldfriedhof Mill in the Heidbenden, Buschmühle, Grüntalsmühle, Krautmühle, Bevermühle, Kirberichshofer Mühlen, Upper and Lower Paper Mills, Fulling Mills in the area of ​​the crossing Brabantstraße-Luisenstraße in the Wurm 1 Union of the two source streams - Beverbach.JPG
more pictures
Haarbach in the Driescher Hof district of Aachen-Forst Friend Bach, Brander Bach, Rödger Bach, Harner Mühle , Nirmer Mühle , Scheidmühle , Kahlgrachtmühle , Welsche Mühle in the district of hair in the worm Haarbach 5.jpg
more pictures
Rödgerbach in the Lützow barracks area Ellerbach Height of the sewage treatment plant of Eilendorf -Nirm in the Haarbach Rödgerbach near Eilendorf.JPG
Inde southeast of Raeren ( Belgium ) Fobisbach, Bechheimer Bach, Rollefbach, Steinbach Funny mill southwest of Jülich into the Rur Inde in Kornelimuenster 31-01-2005.jpg
more pictures
Iterbach south of Raeren Königsmühle, Gut Eisenhütte in Kornelimünster in India The Iterbach.jpg
more pictures
Rollefbach Lichtenbusch , Oberforstbach , Schleckheim Confluence of the Holzbach and Oberforstbacher Bach near Niederforstbach on the southern outskirts of Aachen-Brand in the Inde Rollefbach near Aachen-Brand.JPG


Commons : Streams in Aachen - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Bach portraits on the website of the Ecology Center Aachen

Aachen environmental newsletters from the Aachen Ecology Center

Historical water use


  • Peter Beeck from the Imperial assemblies Waters b. Canon of St Adalbert leaders, Aachen or historical narrative of royal coronation of kings and SRJ Rom. the throne of the origin of the city of Aix, and the type of action. Aachen 1620. (First Edition, 2010, ISBN 978-1-167-00972-3 ) Digitalisat im Volltext der Bayerischen State der Ghent University im Volltext bei books.google.de
  • Peter Bertram: Early mill works. In: Gerhard Fehl (Ed.): With water and steam ... into the industrial age: contemporary witnesses of the early industrialization in the Belgian-German border region. Meyer & Meyer, Aachen 1991, ISBN 3-89124-103-8 , pp. 170-171.
  • Luise Freiin von Coels von der Brügghen: The streams and mills in the Aachen empire and in the area of ​​the imperial abbey of Burtscheid. In: Journal of the Aachen History Association. Volume 70, 1958, pp. 5-122.
  • Josef Dahmen: The Aachen cloth industry. Your economic and social foundations. A theoretical investigation of the location factors for the economic practice of the Aachen cloth industry. Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna: White. 1930.
  • Richard Pick: The Aachen brooks. In: Richard Pick: From Aachen's past - contributions to the history of the old imperial city. Aachen 1895, p. 384 ff.
  • Christof Peter, Franz Meiers and others: Securing evidence - walks along the Aachen brooks. Library of the Burtscheid Society for Past and Present , Aachen 1983.
  • Anke Schütt: Where water flows and bronze shimmers. Fountains and monuments in Aachen. Circular routes. 1st edition. Einhard, Aachen 2002, ISBN 3-936342-14-8 .
  • Publications of the Ecology Center Aachen eV :
    • Explore streams in Aachen. 4th revised edition. 1998.
    • Living water - the thermal springs of Aachen and Burtscheid. 2000.


  1. ^ Aachen in the Roman Empire
  2. Samuel Mann, Dax Street , St. 4-9.
  3. Overview of the Aachen brooks ( Memento from September 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  4. Map of the Aachen brooks ( Memento from September 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  5. Water from the Pau used to drive the mills
  6. Birgitta Hollmann: The torrent - the old mill locations. ( Memento from September 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) In: Aachener Umwelt-Rundbrief. # 56.
  7. Birgitta Hollmann: The Haarbach - course and old mill locations. ( Memento from September 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) In: Aachener Umwelt-Rundbrief. No. 61.
  8. ^ F. Mainz: The old forest - contributions to a history of the Aachen forest district. M. Olivier Verlag, Aachen 1985, p. 81 ff., Library of the Burtscheid Society for Past and Present.
  9. a b Luise Freiin von Coels von der Brügghen: The brooks and mills in the Aachen empire and in the area of ​​the imperial abbey of Burtscheid. In: Journal of the Aachen History Association. Volume 70, 1958, pp. 5-122.
  10. Bruno Lerho : From old times, The Aachener Bachpolizei. In: Aachener Nachrichten. August 18, 1997.
  11. a b Channels and Bach disclosures ( Memento from September 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  12. "Weiher was a breeding ground for malaria" , Aachener Zeitung May 15, 2008.
  13. ^ The work of a great Stolberger , Aachener Zeitung October 5, 2014.