Verein für Bewegungsforschung e.V. - Institut für Strömungswissenschaften Herrischried
  Institut für Strömungswissenschaften
Stutzhofweg 11, 79737 Herrischried DE
Tel. +49 (0)7764 9333 0    Fax 9333 22
 Our leading questions:

How can we gain anew a sense of the more subtle qualities of water? How can we come to an understanding of water's life sustaining importance? How can we acquire respect and appreciation towards water out of its own nature in a modern way?

What do we recognize as good water and how do we experience it as refreshing and enlivening? How does it behave? A proper picture of water quality, from this point of view, is still a long way off.

How can we seek to understand water in its life promoting context? How can we reveal these characteristics? This needs a new scientific holistic approach. This requires developing a way of thinking that is adequate to the fluid character of water.

We devote ourselves to these questions precisely.
Thus, we take a phenomenological approach to flow scientific experimental studies of water and develop an anthroposophically oriented scientific approach in this area.



Most of our publications are in German.
Translations in English:

Schwenk, W. (ed.): The Hidden Qualities of Water. Edinburgh 2007, ISBN 978-086315-610-6
at Floris Books Edinburgh (U.S.A.: SteinerBooks)

Wilkens, A., M. Jacobi & W. Schwenk:
Understanding Water (2nd edition 2005) with about 300 photos and drawings. 112 pages, ISBN 0-86315-540-5
at Floris Books Edinburgh (U.S.A.: SteinerBooks)

Schwenk, W.: To People of the World. W. E. Marks (ed.): Water Voices from Around the World, p.168-169. Edgartown MA 2007, ISBN 978-0-9793046-0-6

FotoFest Water 2004. Tenth international Biennial on Photography and Photo Related Art. Catalogue FotoFest, Houston TX 2004, ISBN 0-9718044-1-9

Schwenk, W.: Water as an Open System. H. Dreiseitl et al.(eds.): Waterscapes − planning, building and designing with water, p.106-107. Basel & Boston 2001 ISBN 3-7643-6410-6

Schwenk, W.: The Mobility of Water as an Aspect of Quality and its Visualization by Means of the Drop Picture Method. Kožíšek F. (ed.): Living Water 95, p. 85-95 & 21-27. Prague 1995, ISBN 80-20-01062-0

Schwenk, T.& W. Schwenk: Water, the Element of Life. Hudson NY 1990, ISBN 0-88010-277-2   SteinerBooks

Schwenk, T.: Sensitive Chaos. London 1965/1996 ISBN 1-85584-055-3

Something special: our guide to the planets
Planetenkarte 2015
ISSN 1612-0647
A map of the planet paths in the year 2015 as observed from the earth on the background of the zodiac. With explanatory booklet in German (no German is required for the map itself).
large size 60 cm x 60 cm 15,00 €
small size 30 cm x 30 cm  9,00 €
plus packing and postage
All Prices are tax included.  Orders to:
Tel. +49 (0)7582 9300 93
Fax +49 (0)7582 9300 20

 Our activities:

Our activities include basic and applied research and education for both the specialist scientific community and the public. Thus, we work with other research and educational institutions in both anthroposophical and wider contexts. At the heart of our work is the furthering of a more public understanding of water in order to contribute to solving practical problems and needs.

We are organized as a private and independent non-profit research institute.


 Our background:

Our work is based on that of Theodor Schwenk (1910 − 1986), a flow scientist, who founded the Institute of Flow Scieces in 1960 / 61 and directed it until 1975. His out­standing fundamental contribution toward understanding water's more hidden nature was the discovery of the expression of organic formative principles within the flowing movements of fluids, especially water. This he described in his world-renowned book Sensitive Chaos. He then developed the Drop Picture Method to demon­strate pictorially the flow behaviour of water as an expression of its quality.


 The Drop Picture Method:

The Drop Picture Method has been further developed according to its physical-chemical basis and its diagnostic possibilities. It is our primary research tool.

In a drop picture test a thin layer of the water sample is mixed homogeneously with a Schlieren pattern revealing additive and is brought into movement, through drops of distilled water falling repeatedly into it. The resulting flow patterns are photographed with Schlieren optics. This is carried out under strictly standardized conditions, which have been refined and confirmed over many years of experimental work.
How the water behaves, together with the substances it contains and how these combine to have a physical modifying effect on its mobility, results in a picture of flow patterns. But it is not possible in a particular case to tell what substances are dissolved in the water. For that, it is necessary to do chemical analyses. Here we are concerned with a picture creating, not an analytical, method. The Drop Picture Method embraces holistically and vividly the interplay of forces working within the water via the type of flow.
The Drop Picture Method shows the degree of differentiated shape forming flow movements which the water sample will be able to manifest. This is especially fruitful for the question of organic formative principles. The formative mobility of water is a more independent aspect of its quality. It supplements the analytical investigations by contributing to a holistic understanding of quality.


Shapes form out of flowing movement:
A new aspect of water quality
visualized by the Drop Picture Method

Three examples of drop pictures, © Institut für Strömungswissenschaften Herrischried


Spring water


Processed tap water


Water contaminated with detergent

 Our research results:

Natural, pure, uncontaminated well or spring water - in other words, ideal potable water that is refreshing - shows in its drop pictures a characteristic complexity of multi-formed flow behaviours. In their flow movements arises a multiplicity of rhythmic form patterns which change with each stimulus to movement and which form anew. The diversity and multiplicity of flow patterns in the drop pictures of a given water sample is comparable, in their importance for biology, to the diversity of biota. The mobility of such water is at the maximum of its formative capacity. This mobility is not usually attained with hygienically rendered drinking water obtained from polluted primary sources. Water harmed by mankind flows unrhythmically, is poor in flow patterns and shows less differentiation. These differences present the possibility for characterizing good water in a positive way. Therefore, protection of natural pure groundwaters is of particular concern.


   Our research activities and projects:
  • To develop positive characterisations of quality criteria for good drinking water, in the sense of a holistic concept of quality;
  • To investigate the influence on flow behaviour of water by physical and technological measures, e.g., in water management, agriculture, food processing, pharmaceutics;
  • To further development of the Drop Picture Method, especially the methodology for phenomenological evaluation of the pictures and the systematization of the physical, chemical and laboratory technical basis of flow;
  • To investigate the coexistence of terrestrial and cosmic regularities within water and investigating temporal fluctuations in its flow behaviour;
  • To develop educational experiments for furthering the public understanding of water's nature;
  • To investigate particular water samples on a contract basis, but not for advertising purposes of products. Our conditions are available on request.


   Our public activities include:
  • Introduction tours of the institute at Open House Days and on request;
  • Public lectures and seminars (see our Downloads for details);
  • Mounting exhibitions, such as "Wasser verstehen lernen" ("Understanding Water", in German, the catalogue of which is also available in English, French, Italian and Czech) and FotoFest, Houston, Texas 2004;
  • Publishing special papers in our periodical "Sensibles Wasser" (in German);
  • Publishing Institute's news "WASSERZEICHEN" for members and sponsors (in German);
  • Annual conferences for members and sponsors;
  • Introductory course for scientists at intervals of several years; but no internships.

A list of our publications ("Verzeichnis der lieferbaren Druckschriften", German RTF-textfile, ca. 30 KB) and some more information (in German) is available at Downloads .


   How we are funded?
  • Donations of members and sponsors of the Association for the Science of Movement (Verein für Bewegungsforschung e.V.);
  • Donations for specific research goals or assignments from institutions and interested companies supporting research;
  • Income from contract testing using the drop picture method and from work with the general public;
    We do not receive any governmental grants.

We would welcome your support!
Please join our way for developing a new understanding of water, the very element of life!

Membership of the Association for the Science of Movement, free or conditional donations, gifts, qualified gifts and legacies are invaluable help to us.

We know that without generous contributions our work is not possible. So, all contributions are received with gratitude.


 Our staff and our charitable status:

Currently we are a group of 6 colleagues working in partnership and self-administration. The Institute is carried by the Verein für Bewegungsforschung e.V. ("Association for the Science of Movement"), whose head office is based at the Institute. We are in constant consultation with the management committee of the association whose members work with us according to the tasks in hand.
In Germany, the Association for the Science of Movement () is recognized as a non-profit organisation by the Bad Säckingen authorities. Thus, donations to it and to the Institute according to German regulations can be tax free. In the U.S., tax exempt donations to us are also possible: They may be accepted at and made payable to the Rudolf Steiner Foundation, San Francisco, CA, on behalf of the Institute. Please contact us for more details.


 How to become a member:

May we welcome you as a new member?
Membership of the Association for the Science of Movement (Verein für Bewegungsforschung e.V.) is open to anybody who approves on our aims and work and wants to support our Institute on a regular basis. The recommended amount for voluntary donation is 100 $ (Students 35 $) per year. We welcome your applications. - Annual conferences for the sponsors take place at Herrischried. There we report on our work.
Please send your E-mail to this address (or a letter to our address at the top of this page):


The Members of the Institute:

Felix Hediger (experiments, design and technics)
Michael Jacobi (physics)
Prof. Dr. Christian Liess (fluid physics and technology)
Dr. Manfred Schleyer (biology, chemistry, director)
Martha Schmalzried (executive administrator)
Christine Sutter (extended sensory analysis, research of    configurations)
Andreas Wilkens (basic research)

and all friends and members ask for your support and
welcome you as a member or sponsor.


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