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Good marks for bathing water

Germany’s bathing water quality is very good. The European Commission and the European Environment Agency have given more than 90% of bathing spots top marks. Bathers can, however, enjoy good quality water Europe-wide, not only in Germany. 


A group of young people run, splashing, into a lake.

Germany is above the EU average for bathing water quality (on average 85% of bathing waters were classed as excellent)

Photo: Getty Images

Whether in lakes, along the North and Baltic Sea coasts or in rivers – 2,123 of almost 2,300 bathing waters tested in Germany were found to have excellent quality. That is equivalent to 92.7%. The water quality at 93 bathing spots (4.1%) was found to be good, and at another 27 (1.2%) to be sufficient. Only 6 bathing spots (0.3%) were deemed to have poor water quality.

The figures come from the latest European Bathing Water Quality Report published by the European Commission and the European Environment Agency. The report evaluates the 2018 figures. 

Everyone can check the website of the German Environment Agency (UBA), where they will find the latest results of tests of their own local bathing waters

A European success story

Germany’s results puts it above the European average, but the results across Europe are nothing to be ashamed of. In the EU, more than 85% of bathing waters met the most stringent water quality criteria last year, and were classed as excellent.

In the 28 EU member states, the water quality of 21,831 bathing waters was tested last year. The minimum quality requirements of the EU Bathing Water Directive were met by over 95% of them. The report also covers 300 supervised bathing waters in Albania and Switzerland.

Karmenu Vella, the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries spoke of the quality of European bathing waters as a success story. "Thanks to good tests and reliable reporting and monitoring, as well as an exchange of expertise, we will continue to improve the quality of our favourite bathing spots in future too."

EU Bathing Water Directive

The quality requirements for European bathing waters are set out in the EU Bathing Water Directive. The implementation of the provisions by EU states has helped significantly improve the quality of European bathing waters over the last 40 years.

In Germany, the federal states are responsible for monitoring water quality. The UBA submits the results of water quality tests via the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety to the European Commission.

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