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Diemelsee, Germany

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Map: Diemelsee, Germany

The children ran ahead giggling and pushing past each other to race to the top, but she's finally caught up to them, the break in the trees revealing their sandy heads and the breathtaking view over Diemelsee (see=lake). Even the children are momentarily stilled by the beautiful expanse of water stretching along the Diemel River Valley below them. Surrounded by the Diemelsee Nature Park in the northwest corner of the Hesse region in Germany, Diemelsee or Diemel Lake, is an unspoiled natural treasure practically designed to accommodate tourists and families.

Diemelsee is an impoundment of the Diemel River created by the Diemel Dam (Diemeltalsperre.) Construction on the dam started in 1912 and was completed in 1923. Created for flood control and to generate hydroelectric power, the rockfill gravity dam stands 138 feet high and has a crest length of 636 feet. It was considered an important source of energy during World War II and was a target for the famous Dambusters. The 617 Squadron of British airmen led bombing raids on six German dams in an attempt to cripple Hitler's war machine. Called Operation Chastise, Diemel Dam was a secondary target and part of the third wave of attacks.

Today the dam is a starting point for one of the many trails that cross the area around Diemel Lake. The Diemelsee Nature Park is a fantastic place to hike and bike; a 39 mile-long walking trail skirts part of the lake's shore and passes through several of the small villages around Diemelsee. The trail, known as the Diemelsteig, goes through the village of Rhenegge with its charming village church rebuilt in 1827 after a fire claimed it. Also on the Diemelsteig, the village of Adorf is home to a castle built in 1335 and a church built in the second half of the 12th century. A fossil and mining museum provides opportunities to explore the area's geological and iron mining history.

There are other towns and villages around or near Diemelsee, including one of the same name, all with vacation rentals, holiday cottages, cafes and restaurants, some looking over the lake. The medieval town of Korbach has a wall and tower. The city of Marsberg has a history of glass blowing and copper mining. Visitors can tour a copper mine, and there are bike trails to explore the area in and around the city. Willingen is a spa and resort town especially popular in the winter for its ice skating and proximity to winter sports, including cross country and alpine ski trails.

Diemelsee is also popular in the winter for its ice fishing. Anglers can stay on the ice until it melts in February or March. Fishing in Diemel Lake is good year round with healthy populations of pike, perch, bream, trout and catfish. In addition to fishing, the lake is a popular place to swim, sail, windsurf and canoe, and pedal boats and boats with electric motors are available for rent. Several campgrounds dot the shore of Diemelsee, and the lake area has any amenity a visitor might need.

Shaped like an "M" lying on its side, Diemelsee is primarily in the Hesse region of Germany with part of the lake extending into the North Rhine-Westphalia region. Most of the lake's visitors come from the Ruhr and Kassel areas. With the lake's natural beauty and easy accessibility, however, it is rapidly becoming a favorite for tourists around the world. Tucked away in the mountains of Sauerland, Diemelsee is an exceptional west central German destination.

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Fish Species

  • Catfish
  • Pike
  • Perch
  • Trout
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