The locks of Berg

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One of the biggest ever construction projects in Sweden is the Göta Canal which connects the large city of Gotenburg on the west coast of Sweden with the Baltic Sea on the east coast of Sweden. The canal was built to give an alternate route for shipping to and from the Baltic than the narrow Øresund. Ship passing through this route had to pay customs to the Danish king to be allowed through – this was a major income for the Danish kings and King Christian IV actually claimed he paid for Kronborg Castle without charging the Danish citizen – but using his personal income from the duty at Øresund.

The canal would give a cheap route to the Baltic and many ships might use it to avoid paying the customs. Unfortunately for the canal project the Danish government was pressured into giving up the Øresund customs only a few years after the canal was completed so it was never used for its intended purpose. But the canal is still there and it is an amazing construction.

The canal use the different lakes in inland Sweden for the main parts of the journey in addition to natural rivers so only a part of the route is actually a constructed canal. But some of the constructed parts can be pretty interesting and one of the interesting sections is the Locks of Berg. The locks were built here to overcome the difference in elevation which the boats wouldn’t be able to pass naturally.

The locks will take the boats up or down 19 meters through a series of locks and if you come during the summer the area is pretty lively with many visitors – I guess many come for the excitement of seeing a boat or two going through the locks. We didn’t have to wait long before a couple of boats were getting ready to navigate down the canal and go down through the locks. We stay for a while watching the boats going through the lock. It is pretty interesting to stay and see the boats passing the locks since I haven’t spent any significant amount of time near a lock for many years.

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