14 July 2002 – Elbe (Germany)
Hamburg / Dresden : A few years ago, the Elbe river was one of the most polluted river in Europe. Since the reunification of Germany, millions of euros have been spent on a wide restoration programme, including the building of more than 200 water treatment units : what used to be a sewer has turned into a river in which one can swim. To celebrate this event, the First International Elbe Swimmingday was created.
Between 80 000 and 100 000 people took part in the first International Elbe Swimming Day on 14th July 2002 at at 2 PM.
Enthusiastic celebrations have been organized in 55 towns between the source of the Elbe in the Czech Giant Mountains to the mouth of the river in the North Sea (more the 1 000 km).
The Elbe then became, during this day, the longest European beach. Inhabitants, people on holidays as well as the political representatives of the different towns were enthusiastic and moved to see that the water quality now allow people to swim again in the Elbe river.
the second intl. Elbebadetag has been celebrated on July 17 th 2005 as a integrated element of the europeanwide BIG JUMP.