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            The second guided tour of Belgium showed us two important points of interest: the system of navigable artificial waterways (the Charleroi to Brussel canal) and the Port of Antwerp.
             1. The Charleroi to Brussel canal.
             Building canals in northern and western Belgium is fairly easy. Throughout Flanders there are only a couple of hills that reach more than a few meters above sea level. But the center of the country is another matter. While the hills are not very high as mountains go, for canal builders they are significant. Conquering these heights had to await the industrial revolution. The main purpose was the transport of coal from the mines in the Charleroi region to the north of the country. A second argument was to connect the Walloon industry region with the harbour of Antwerp in Flanders. Brussels was already connected by good waterways with Antwerp.The first proposal to build a canal across the hills to connect Brussels with the Charleroi area, for the transport of coal, was made at in 1561. The canal, from the first 70 tons version over the upgrades to 300 and 1350 tons, has been characterized by some unusual construction. .
             When the Brussels - Charleroi canal was built in 1827 - 1832, it followed the Senne river valley from southern Brussels to Tubize, the branch Sennette to Ronquieres, and its branch the Samme to the ridge in the Seneffe area. After 1945 it was decided to expand the capacity of the canal to 1,300 tonnes. Studies showed that it would be cheaper to built an entirely new canal between Ronquieres and Seneffe rather than widening the existing canal and building new locks. In 1968 the work was completed, when The Ronquieres Inclined Plane went into servive. The canal from Charleroi to Brussel now has:.
             3 locks on Sambre side.
             the inclined plane at Ronquieres.
             one look in the Wallon Region on the Senne side.
             6 locks in the Flemish and Brussel Regions on the Senne side.
             We visited also the Strepy-Thieu canal.

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