In just five years since its reopening, the Giessen Lahnfenster has already been visited by more than 100,000 people. The observation station is an exciting exploration of the river ecosystem.
Even with dry feet, you can immerse yourself in the world under water in Giessen. You just have to descend a few steps and you will find yourself in the middle of the Lahnfenster observation station. Large glass panes give you a clear view of the bottom of the river and all the fish, crabs and small animals that live there. From this underground observation station, follow the migratory fish as they move against the currents from one section of the river to the next. You will find the Lahn Window in the former water mill on the outskirts of downtown Giessen. Just a few facilities in Germany offer such an insight into the river ecosystem.
The Lahnfenster is operated by the Giessen Regional Council. Especially since its reopening five years ago, the Lahnfenster has become a real attraction for the public. Since then, around 100,000 visitors from all age groups have been able to observe the life worth seeing in the main waterway of Central Hessen. The Lahnfenster was opened a good decade ago on the initiative of the fisheries department of the regional council. Suggestions for the implementation of the project also came from Aquitaine, a French partner region of Hessen, which has already implemented a similar concept. When the former mill in Giessen was set up as a fish ladder, the underwater observation facility could be integrated into the structure.
When fish swim against the current...
The site of the old water mill turned out to be an excellent location for the Lahn window. This is because here, within a few kilometers, there are various barrages and an almost unique water structure that provides the ideal living conditions for numerous fish species. The Lahnfenster is integrated into an upstream structure consisting of dividing walls that regulate the flow velocity of the water. In this way, the original flow of this place can be restored. The artificial flow attracts fish to find their way into the water above the weir. Work on the neighboring hydroelectric power plant of the old mill has also been completed in the meantime. This has now been equipped with a special rake and a fish ladder.
The Lahnfenster has also become an interesting place of learning and knowledge for school classes and kindergartens. For this reason, the observation station was extended to include the above-ground part. Just in time for the State Garden Show in 2014, the Lahnfenster could be reopened after the reconstruction. The size of the facility had now tripled. Many new observation windows with a view of the water surface with a view of the water birds and shallow water zones at the edge of the bank now offer a view of the fish and their offspring.
The Lahn habitat
Also new since the expansion is the exhibition on the Lahn habitat. The extended cellar is used here as a substructure for a pavilion. Here there is plenty of space for additional exhibitions. Universities and authorities can hold their seminars here, and school classes can be taught here. Two further innovations have been realized recently: There is now a wall-mounted listening station that tells stories about the Lahn and can also play music on the subject of the waters. Here, the view of the river always wanders over the tribune of the Lahnfenster. Prepared models of typical river fish species such as the roach or the trout can be experienced in the diorama (showcase). The new laboratory case offers school children the opportunity to take water samples and analyze the water quality of the Lahn. In this way, the youngsters can experience school lessons up close and personal on site.
Fancy more in Gießen?
Then discover the unique watering can museum!