DEHI / Danube Environmental History Initiative


The Danube River Basin covers 817.000 km2 and is currently home to about 81 million people. The river itself crosses 10 European countries and drains one of the most international river basins in the world. With a length of about 2.800 km the Danube is the second longest stream in Europe after the Volga. Its natural characteristics change remarkably from the source to the mouth. Low water temperatures, steep slopes and alpine tributaries dominate the headwater section while the lower reach shows the Danube as a typical lowland river with slow velocity and vast floodplains. The Danube delta is the largest remaining wetland in Europe and famous for its diversity of animal and plant species.
The Danube riverine landscapes have been the site of human interventions into land-cover and hydrology, challenging societies along its banks for millennia. A fascinating diversity of life worlds has developed along the river’s banks.

The Danube Environmental History Initiative (DEHI) aims to link existing research and to break new ground towards integrated, interdisciplinary environmental histories of the Danube from prehistory to the 20th century. In such environmental histories, social and natural dynamics are of equal importance, because the main focus is their interaction. This requires the cooperation of several disciplines.

DEHI is a network of researchers from different disciplines from the natural and social sciences and from the humanities. DEHI acts as a common platform for exchange and compilation of information and international coordination of research. It compiles regional and national research and makes these compilations available for scholars and the broader public. DEHI’s steering committee, consisting of Christoph Bernhardt, Julia Lajus, József Laszlovszky, Mark Graham Macklin, Mariyana Nikolova, Didier Pont and Verena Winiwarter, aims to bring environmental history research on the Danube River Basin to the attention of scholarly and environmental policy communities and initiates new research in a co-ordinated way.

The DEHI network actively seeks the link to scholars working on the environmental history of the Danube and its tributaries in all its aspects. The network is open for scholars who are interested the Danube but work on other major rivers in Europe and beyond.
If you would like to join DEHI, please contact the coordinators Gertrud Haidvogl and Martin Schmid .

Please consult our DEHI-flyer (zip file, ca. 2481 kb).