- 06 Apr, 2016
Göta Canal, which reaches between Sjötorp in the west to Mem in the east, is 190 kilometers long and has 58 floodgates/locks. The Canal is one of Sweden’s biggest building projects throughout history. It flows through the landscape between Vänern and the Baltic sea. 87 kilometers is dug manually with shovels and wheelbarrows, and it took 22 years to finish.
In the year of 1810 the civil engineer Baltzar von Platen started the construction of the canal. By his side stood Thomas Telfors, who back then was one of Europe’s top canal constructors. King Karl XIII allowed them to use 58 000 Swedish soldiers and 16 regiments to help dig the canal. A workday was 12 hours long, and for most parts they dug with metal-reinforced wooden shovels. The cost of the finished project was around nine million riksdaler, which in the year of 1995 corresponded to around 12,3 billion SEK.
On the 26th of September, 1832, the grand opening of Göta Canal was held in Mem, present was Karl XIV Johan together with the rest of his family. Baltzar von Platen never got to see the finished canal, since he passed away three years earlier.