Lucerne, the "Mecca" of Rowing
International rowing is part of Lucerne’s DNA. Since the first international rowing regatta was held on lake Lucerne in 1908 and then on the famous Rotsee, this city in central Switzerland has attracted rowers from all around the world.
The 2020 World Rowing Cup III would have been this weekend in Lucerne. This is not to be, so instead World Rowing is taking you on a written tour of the venue.
The Rotsee venue is embedded in a natural reserve. As rowers race down the 2000m lake, cow bells can be heard coming from nearby pastures and at the start line swimmers making the most of the clean, clear water, stop to watch the racing.
It’s been more than a hundred years since the first regatta was held on lake Lucerne, building the starting point of international rowing in Lucerne. In 1935 the regattas were relocated to the Rotsee. This lake turned out to be ideal for regattas. It is 2.5 km long, but only a few hundred meters wide and straight, thus forming a natural regatta course. The lake is surrounded by rolling hills making it protected from side winds. The flow and the currents are minimal. Because of these points, every athlete appreciates rowing on the Rotsee.
The Rotsee has marked several important changes in international rowing. In 1962, Lucerne hosted the first-ever Men’s World Championships. Later, the first Women’s World Championships and the lightweight categories were introduced to the World Championships at the Rotsee. The Seeclub Luzern is also the biggest rowing club in Switzerland.
Lucerne is not only about the Rotsee. The city is embedded within an impressive mountainous panorama. Thanks to the beautiful lakeside setting and the nearby excursion mountains of the Rigi & Pilatus, Lucerne is a well-known spot for tourists. The futuristic Culture and Convention Centre (KKL), designed by leading French architect Jean Nouvel, is one of the architectural highlights of the town. More recently Lucerne became an internationally renowned music festival city, drawing interest from far beyond Switzerland – and far beyond rowing.
“It is clear to everyone that international rowing is part of Lucerne’s DNA and the residents are proud of it, says the representatives of the Organising Committee. Especially in these difficult times, we feel the support of our hometown.”
Lucerne was supposed to host the Final Olympic Qualification regatta and World Rowing Cup III this weekend. It was to be the last major rowing event before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. With the Covid-19 pandemic, the waters of the Rotsee will stay uncommonly calm this weekend.
In the words of the Organising Committee, "of course, with the lockdown, the city was quite empty due to closed offices, shops and restaurants, but social life is returning faster than in other areas of Europe. We are longing to enjoy the summer outside in the nature and have taken steps in that direction – of course always with correct social distancing.”
Now Lucerne will have to wait for a year to host another international rowing event. The Organising Committee is looking forward to hosting in May 2021 the Final Qualification regatta for the Olympic Games and the LUCERNE REGATTA, which will be World Rowing Cup II.
“We are proud of our long tradition in international rowing in Lucerne, we want to attract athletes from around the world and provide them the opportunity to compete on one of the fairest lakes in a wonderful natural surrounding and on an optimal infrastructure” concludes the representatives of the Organising Committee.