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The Leine is a river in Thuringia and Lower Saxony, Germany. It is a left tributary of the Aller river (and so of the Weser river as well) and 281 km in length.

The river's source is located close to the town of Leinefelde in Thuringia. Forty kilometers downriver, the river enters Lower Saxony and runs northwards.

Important towns upstream to down along its course are Göttingen, Einbeck, Alfeld and Gronau, before the river enters Hanover, the largest city on its banks. Downstream some forty kilometers north of Hanover, near Schwarmstedt, the river joins the Aller and reaches the North Sea via the Weser connecting to and flowing north past both the oceanic seaports of Hanseatic Bremen and the much newer but equally important city of Bremerhaven. Although the river occasionally over-floods its banks, damage is usually nominal. Only in its northern (lower) reaches is it navigable by today's smallest commercial carriers, though in the past it served as an important pre-railway barge transportation artery as far up river as Göttingen.

The river is somewhat polluted from industries and so not used for drinking water but the pollution was never so much as to prevent fish from living in it, and like many western rivers since the 1960s, has enjoyed successively cleaner waters since environmental controls were implemented. People enjoy sport fishing from small boats and from along the banks, although yields are normally low.

At at least one point (Göttingen) the river is partially diverted into a canal that runs more or less parallel to the river.

In his 1986 bestseller Red Storm Rising, author Tom Clancy uses the Leine as a major obstacle to the Soviet Union's Red Army in its drive to the Rhine River and the North Sea ports of the Netherlands and Belgium through West Germany.


  • Uwe Schmida: Die Leine - Eine fotografische Reise. ISBN 3000205675
  • Gerd Lüttig: Neue Ergebnisse quartärgeologischer Forschung im Raume Alfeld-Hameln-Elze. In: Geologisches Jahrbuch Band 77, Seite 337–390. Hannover, Juni 1960.

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