Abstract Hydrodynamic flows are generated by chemical waves propagating in thin solution layers of the Belousov-Zhabotinskii reaction. The sample dishes are covered to prevent flow patterns arising from evaporative cooling. Investigations by space-resolved velocimetry and spectrophotometry reveal that convective flow travels with each circular wave. Flow velocities reach 150 μm/s and surpass the speed of wave propagation. An oscillatory change of flow direction is induced in wave trains emerging from a rotating spiral wave.