The Rhine River is the second-longest river in Central and Western Europe after the Danube and originates in the Swiss Alps (in Switzerland).
The Rhine river is called by different names depending on the country it flows through. It is called Rhein in Germany; Rhine in France and Rijn in the Netherlands.
The river begins in the Swiss canton of Graubünden in the southeastern Swiss Alps. It forms part of the Swiss-Liechtenstein, Swiss-Austrian, Swiss-German borders.
After that the Rhine defines much of the Franco-German border, after which it flows in a mostly northerly direction through the German Rhineland.
Finally in Germany the Rhine turns into a predominantly westerly direction and flows into the Netherlands where it eventually empties into the North Sea.
The Rhine flows through six countries –Switzerland, Principality of Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands before flowing into the North Sea at Rotterdam.
The Rhine and the Danube comprised much of the Roman Empire’s northern inland boundary, and the Rhine has been a vital navigable waterway bringing trade and goods deep inland since those days. The various castles and defenses built along it attest to its prominence as a waterway in the Holy Roman Empire.
Among the largest and most important cities on the Rhine are Cologne, Rotterdam, Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Strasbourg, Nijmegen, and Basel.