At the end of the Second World War, it was clear that the Belgian system of canals and waterways needed to be standardised and suitable for 1,350 tonne barges – a step up from the traditional fleet of barges used on the canals, with a maximum capacity of only 300 tonnes.

Additionally, the European Conference of Transport Ministers in 1957 recommended that the canals be adapted to suit 1,350 tonne barges.

The Strépy-Thieu project was the final step in the Belgian canal improvement programme.  It is strategically important on a European level because it forms a link between the Escaut and Meuse basins, and also between the port and region of Dunkirk and the Rhine basin.

My friend and I decided to stop by (driving from Mons back to Brussels) and check what is it about.

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We took a look from the hill first, realising the view is capturing the nearby farms with animals and minings.

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At the view point there is a guide mark explaining the directions, distances and interesting places in surrounding.

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From the close it look even more impressive!

After a number of years spent working on the design of the Strépy-Thieu funicular boatlift, the only one of its kind in the world, work finally began in February 1982.

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The boat lift was the tallest boat lift in the world, and remained so until 2016 when China constructed bigger version of a dam boat lift.
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The boat lift is promoted as a tourist attraction in its own right by the government of Hainaut. A pedestrian ticket for a one-way ride on the lift costs €5,50.

What an epic engineering masterpiece 🙂

 

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