The Elbe River (Czech: Labe listen (help·info), Sorbian languages: Łobjo, Polish: Łaba, German: Elbe) is one of the major waterways of central Europe. It comes from the North West Czech Republic. It flows through much of Germany. At Cuxhaven, it flows into the Wadden Sea, which is part of the North Sea. Important big cities on the boards of the river are Hradec Králové, Pardubice and Ústí nad Labem in the Czech Republic, and Dresden, Magdeburg and Hamburg in Germany.
Each of mentioned cities in the Czech Republic has almost 100,000 inhabitants. There are about 500,000 people living in Dresden, and 250,000 in Magdeburg. With 1.8 million people in the city proper, Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany, and the sixth largest city in the European Union. Hamburg is still 110 kilometres (68 mi) away from the estuary.
The port in Hamburg is the second most important seaport in the EU, after Rotterdam, and the third most important for container ships in the EU (after Rotterdam and Antwerp). Ships can travel up to Pardubice.
The Elbe is an important river, and is classified as a stream. Up to Cuxhaven, it is 727 kilometres (452 mi) long, 367 kilometres (228 mi) are in the Czech Republic. Officially, its length is 767.8 kilometres (477.1 mi), which is a point in the open sea.