The Rhine is an important inland waterway in Europe. It is about 820 mi (1,320 km) long and drains an area of about 86,700 mi2 (224,600 km2). The river rises in eastern Switzerland and forms part of the international borders of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, France, and Germany as it flows through Germany and The Netherlands into the North Sea. Along its course, the Rhine receives the waters of the Neckar, Main, Lahn, Ruhr, and Lippe Rivers from the east and the Nahe and Moselle Rivers from the west. Canals connect the Rhine to the Danube, Elbe, Ems, Marne, Oder, Rhone, and Weser Rivers to make the Rhine part of a large inland navigation system. The lower Rhine River in The Netherlands has been embanked by artificial levees since the late Middle Ages.