What really got you to the ferry today

Moselle ferry "Briedeler Herzchen"

Briedel hearts
“Briedeler Herzchen” is a common term for the locals in Briedel, an old romantic wine and holiday resort on the Middle Moselle. Whether vineyard location, wine, well or ferry, everything bears this name and represents the heart of the Middle Moselle.
According to tradition, the winemaker Johann Römer was traveling with his eldest daughter and they spent the night in Bernkastel-Cues. They quartered themselves with the ferryman in the village and discovered that the family was in great need because the eldest son was seriously ill in bed. The daughter Katharina unpacked the provisions she had brought with her, including Briedeler wine, and gave the seriously ill one to drink. A few days later, the winemaker and his daughter were already on their way home and were checking on the seriously ill to see how well he was. However, he was already on the ferry and called to his Briedelerin: "My Briedeler Herzchen". The two married next year and their youngest son, Cardinal Nikolaus von Cues, achieved great honor in the church. The name Cusanus, which is derived from this clergyman, is still a household name in many cities, such as Koblenz.

The Briedeler Herzchen ferry
The ferry "Briedeler Herzchen" is currently one of the largest wagon ferries on the Moselle. However, use is rapidly decreasing due to the advanced transport options, the existing Zeller Bridge and the resulting limited ferry time.
To get to the opposite side of Briedel, on the left side of the Moselle to the vineyards, the winemakers used to use the ferry. On the left side there is a small ferry house made of quarry stone, which today still serves hikers and tourists as a shelter in bad weather.

History of the ferry
The ferry had an important use in history and played an important role in the means of transport in north-south traffic. The ferry was particularly useful for the winemakers.
Viticulture began in Roman times, where the harvest gradually had to be brought back to the village to the wine press. In order to avoid the traffic jam at the Fährkopf and the ferry fees, winemakers and, above all, owners of large wineries bought their own boats. The other winemakers who did not have their own boats were subject to the problems just mentioned. However, they tried to avoid or reduce this by overloading the boats, and this increased the number of accidents in which many Briedeler lost their lives. As a result, a wine press house was built on the opposite side of the Moselle, from where the harvest could be immediately loaded onto the ships and transported to the wine presses. This method had proven itself, so that later the electoral court chamber (the largest vineyard owner in Briedel) renovated and enlarged the old wine press house.

The aforementioned ferry fees were introduced very early on. In 1354, Emperor Charles IV imposed the ferry fee and granted the ferry rights for a corresponding payment. Even the largest landowners, such as the Himmerod monastery, had to pay the elector flat-rate ferry fees, such as tithes and / or harvest taxes. In order to pay the taxes in Trier, the Briedeler were allowed to use the ferry free of charge. Even much later, in the inflationary period in 1923, the ferry fees were set in kind (rye).
In 1869 the old ferry was replaced by a new cable ferry. This ferry was then allocated to the highest bidder, who then received his income as a ferryman from the usage fees.
During the Second World War, shortly before the retreat of the German troops in March 1945, the ferryman from Briedel and some citizens sank the ferry to avoid being blown up. It was lifted again in July of the same year, but the military commandeered it to Reil for the purpose of transferring troops. At the end of 1946, the now battered ferry was brought back to Briedel.

Recent history of the ferry
It was not until 1960 that the municipality took over the ferry's own management and employed a permanent ferryman. A fixed, permanent ferry fee was introduced, which all winegrowers on the left side of the Moselle had to pay, while guests and non-winegrowers only had to pay one crossing fee per trip.
In 1967 the old wagon ferry, which was put into operation after the First World War, was replaced by the new ferry of today.
The underbody protection had to be cleaned and tarred regularly. As a result, the heavy ferry had to be pulled ashore. Today the shipyard in Trier takes care of it. The most common reason the ferry had to be pulled ashore was weather-related damage. Drought and rain changed the water level and a remedy had to be found, for example, that the ferry was not used at low tide, but steel boats (for approx. 40 people) were used.

Like the old Fährnachen, the new wagon ferry were also greed ferries. They were hanging on a taut rope over the Moselle and due to the inclination they were driven by the current to the other side of the Moselle. In this regard, the canalization of the Moselle posed a problem because the current decreased significantly and it was no longer able to carry the ferry to the other side. So the ferry had to be motorized. The ferry rope in Briedel was attached to a 25 meter high steel lattice mast on a tensioning device and firmly anchored on the vineyard side. In 1996 the rope and the mast, also known as the "centrifugal mast", were dismantled.

For tourists, the "Briedeler Herzchen" is a nice destination to cross the Moselle in the footsteps of the winemakers.

(Roman Siweljow, University of Koblenz-Landau, 2015)

www.briedeler-geschichte.de: The ferry "Briedeler Herzchen" (accessed September 12, 2015)
www.briedel.de: Briedel ferry (accessed 04.04.2017)

Moselle ferry "Briedeler Herzchen"

Street, house number
56867 Briedel
Technical view (s)
Cultivated landscape maintenance
Acquisition scale
usually 1: 5,000 (greater than 1: 20,000)
Acquisition method
Evaluation of historical photos, literature evaluation, site inspection / mapping, verbal information from local residents and those familiar with the area
Historical period
Beginning in 1350

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“Briedeler Herzchen” Moselle ferry ”. In: KuLaDig, Kultur.Landschaft.Digital. URL: https://www.kuladig.de/Objektansicht/O-139650-20150917-2 (Accessed: May 19, 2021)