Endonyms of European River Basins

Drainage Basins of Europe, by Jordan Engel
Drainage Basins of Europe, by Jordan Engel

A drainage basin is an area of land where the surface water drains to a single point, which is normally the mouth of a river. Each basin in this map is labelled with the river which drains that area. Many rivers in Europe have various local names. The name that appears on this map, however, is in the language that is most spoken within each basin. There is no reliable population data for drainage basins, so there was some estimation involved in determining what the largest language community is in each basin. Corrections and additions are welcome!

Adige – Adige (Italian [Italiano])
Danube – Dunărea (Romanian [Română])
Daugava – Заходняя Дзвіна (Belarusian [Беларуская])
Dnieper – Дніпро (Ukrainian [Українська])
Dniester – Дністе́р (Ukrainian [Українська])
Don – Дон (Russian [Русский])
Douro – Duero (Spanish [Español])
Ebro – Ebro (Basque [Euskara] and Spanish [Español])
Elbe – Elbe (German [Deutsch])
Garonne – Garonne (French [Français])
Glomma – Glomma (Norwegian [Norsk])
Guadalquivir – Guadalquivir (Spanish [Español])
Guadiana – Guadiana (Spanish [Español] and Portuguese [Português])
Jordan – الأردن (Arabic [العربية])
Kemijoki – Giemajohka (Northern Sami [Davvisámegiella])
Kızılırmak – Kızılırmak (Turkish [Türkçe])
Kuban – Куба́нь (Russian [Русский])
Kura – Kür (Azerbaijani [Azərbaycanca])
Kymi – Kymijoki (Finnish [Suomi])
Loire – Loire (French [Français])
Maritsa – Марица (Bulgarian [Български])
Meuse – Maas (Dutch [Nederlands])
Mezen – Мезень (Russian [Русский])
Narva – Narva (Estonian [Eesti])
Neman – Nemunas (Lithuanian [Lietuvių])
Neva – Нева́ (Russian [Русский])
Northern Dvina – Се́верная Двина́ (Russian [Русский])
Oder – Odra (Czech [Čeština] and Polish [Polski])
Orontes – العاصي‎ (Arabic [العربية])
Oulujoki – Oulujoki (Finnish [Suomi])
Po – Po (Italian [Italiano])
Rhine – Rhein (German [Deutsch])
Rhône – Rhône (French [Français])
Sakarya – Sakarya (Turkish [Türkçe])
Sefīd-Rūd – سفیدرود‎‎ (Persian [فارسی])
Seine – Seine (French [Français])
Shatt al-Arab – شط العرب (Arabic [العربية])
Southern Bug – Бог (Ukrainian [Українська])
Tagus – Tajo (Spanish [Español])
Terek – терка (Chechen [Нохчийн])
Þjórsá – Þjórsá (Icelandic [Íslenska])
Ural – Жайық (Kazakh [Қазақша])
Volga – Волга (Russian [Русский])
Vistula – Wisła (Polish [Polski])
Weser – Weser (German [Deutsch])

Map: Jordan Engel. As always, the Decolonial Atlas’ original media can be reused under the Decolonial Media License 0.1.



  1. Vardar – Вардар (Macedonian [Македонски]) for the basin two west of Марица and just south of Dunărea


  2. Anything in Anatolia and east, and according to most accepted definitions of Europe’s boundaries, south of the Caucasus, is not European. Certainly nothing in the Arabian Peninsula and Fertile Crescent (including the river called Yarden in the indigenous language) as well as everything to the east, is certainly not European.

    You strangely select only a single “endonym” where there are in fact more than one for a significant number of these rivers, not least the Danube and Rhine but also many others in areas with indigenous languages suppressed or denied equal status by their respective states. (I can think of Ebre in Catalan, Garona, Ròse, Leire/Letgein Occitan, to cite only a few such examples).


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