Le Canal Albert

Here is a photo of one of the two big rivers in Belgium – La Meuse – taken from a bridge in the city of Liège.

It flows to the north and discharges into the sea in the lowlands of the Netherlands very close to the mouth of the Rhine.

The other big river in Belgium is called L’Escaut, whose mouth is near the major industrial port of Antwerp.

For generations visionaries had dreamed of connecting La Meuse and L’Escaut – and in 1939, about the same time that the US Army Corps of Engineers in Florida were wrapping up the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee and the Bureau of Reclamation had clogged the Colorado with Hoover Dam, that vision became a reality:

Belgium celebrated opening of navigation between the two rivers via Le Canal Albert.

The canal is 100 km long and cuts across some incredibly hilly terrain: making it an engineering endeavor of great prowess, and an economic juggernaut to the country.

To be sure there is a lot more I have to learn about the canal.

The good news is I have an excellent text book on Le Canal Albert – given to me by a colleague at the University of Liege.

The bad news is that it is in French.

The consolation?

Fortunately there are plenty of photos, maps, and figures.

That will at least get me started.

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