The Albert Canal (Dutch language: Albertkanaal) flows in northeastern Belgium, connecting Antwerp with Liege, and the Meuse River with the Scheldt River. It also connects with the Canal Dessel-Turnhout-Schoten. Therefore, the Albert Canal plays a key role in developing the Belgian economy and industry.
Several locks along the Albert Canal overcome the slope and maintain the water level at an acceptable height at each section, thus guaranteeing normal sailing throughout the year. The amount of water that supports the navigation of large barges is very important, depending on rainfall and water supply from certain European mountains.
Bridges over the canal are currently being heightened to allow overhead to allow four-stacked container traffic. For nine years, thousands of excavators have been operating on this canal daily. You will learn more interesting facts about the Albert Canal in this post.
History of the Albert Canal
The Albert Canal was named for King Albert I of Belgium. During most of the 1930s, before the completion of the Albert Canal, it took about seven days to travel from Antwerp to Liege by water. In the 21st century, that same distance can be covered in about 18 hours. The Albert Canal was constructed from 1930 through 1939. The German construction company Hochtief AG worked on the canal between 1930 and 1934, but then it was completed by Belgian companies. From 1930-1939, Caterpillar tractors worked day after day on the construction for nine years. The Albert Canal was used for the first time in 1940, but because of World War II, its intensive use began in 1946.
The Albert Canal Size
The Albert Canal has a total length of 130 kilometers (80.5 miles), a standard depth of just 3.4 meters (11 ft), and an overhead clearance of just 6.7 meters (22 ft). The largest vessels that can use this canal are barges of just 10,000 tons, which are much smaller than the ones on the Rhine or the Danube or the ones in the United States and Canada waterways.
There is a difference in elevation of 56 meters (184 ft) from Antwerp to Liege on the canal, and six sets of canal locks were needed to overcome this difference. Five canal locks are located in Genk, Diepenbeek, Hasselt, Kwaadmechelen, and Olen, Belgium. Each has a lift of 10 meters (33 ft), and the sixth lock at Wijnegem has a lift of 5.45 meters (17.9 ft).
|Length||130 km (80.5 miles)|
|Max. depth||3.4 m (11 ft)|
|Overhead clearance||6.7 m (22 ft)|
This canal has witnessed many historical events that are always there. During World War II, the Albert Canal functioned as a defense line and lifeline and was a milestone in the German invasion of Belgium. Today, it is still the most important link in developing the maritime industry in Europe and the world. There are also plenty of places to visit around the Albert Canal. Whether you love hiking or cycling, Albert Canal is a hidden gem waiting to be explored and visited.