The Albert Canal
(Dutch: Albertkanaal, French: Canal
Albert) is a canal located in northeastern Belgium, which was named for King Albert I of Belgium. The Albert Canal
connects Antwerp
with Liège, and also the Meuse River
Meuse River
with the Scheldt River. It also connects with the Canal
Dessel-Turnhout-Schoten, and its total length is 129.5 kilometres (80.5 mi).


1 Size and geography 2 History 3 Today 4 Notes

Size and geography[edit] The Albert Canal
has a standard depth of 3.4 metres (11 ft) and an overhead clearance of 6.7 metres (22 ft). To allow four-stacked container traffic, bridges over the canal are currently being heightened to allow for a 9.1 metres (30 ft) overhead. The largest vessels that can use this canal are barges of just 1500-2,000 tons - much smaller than the ones on the Rhine
or the Danube
or the ones in the waterways of the United States
United States
and Canada. Between Antwerp
and Liège, there is a difference in elevation of 56 metres (184 ft), and six sets of canal locks were needed to overcome this difference. Five canal locks each have a lift of 10 metres (33 ft), and these are located in Genk, Diepenbeek, Hasselt, Kwaadmechelen, and Olen, Belgium. The sixth lock at Wijnegem has a lift of 5.45 metres (17.9 ft). 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. History[edit]

The Albert canal near Smeermaas, Limburg

Cycling path along the Albert Canal, near Smeermaas, Limburg

The Albert canal near Kanne, Limburg

The Albert Canal
was constructed from 1930 through 1939. The German construction company Hochtief AG
Hochtief AG
worked on the canal between 1930 and 1934, but it was completed by Belgian companies. The Albert Canal
was used for the first time in 1940 but, because of World War II
World War II
and the German occupation, intensive use only began later, in 1946. During World War II, the Albert Canal
functioned as a defence line. The crossing of the canal by the German forces and the destruction of Fort Eben-Emael
Fort Eben-Emael
on 11 May 1940 was a milestone in the German invasion of Belgium. During the Liberation of Belgium
by the Allies in September 1944, the Second Canadian Division
Second Canadian Division
was the first Allied unit to cross the Albert Canal.[citation needed] The British Army
British Army
also crossed the Albert Canal on its way north across Belgium
and into The Netherlands
The Netherlands
and the U.S. Army entered Belgium
further to the east on its way to liberate the rest of Belgium, and Luxembourg, and then proceed east to invade Nazi Germany.[citation needed] Hence, Belgium
was liberated from the south by three different armies, two of which needed to cross the Albert Canal.[citation needed] Today[edit] In 2002, the canal carried a record 43 million tons of goods of various kinds, amounting to more than half the Belgian waterway total. [1] The canal is also a popular leisure and cycling destination, with well paved service roads on both sides traversing picturesque farm land, particularly around Smeermaas, Lanaken and Maasmechelen. [1] Notes[edit]

^ a b "Cycling Belgium's Waterways: Albert Canal",, retrieved 10 October 2015 

Coordinates: 51°04′03″N 5°11′27″E / 51.0674°N 5.1907°E / 51.