Trollhätte canal

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Trollhättae canala and Göta Älv, Gota River, connetcs lake Vänern, Sweden's biggest lake, to the sea. There is one lock at Brinkebergskulle, four locks in Trollhättan and one lock in Lilla Edet.

Göta Älvbron

Oslobåten Saturn på väg in i Ströms sluss

Bridges in the river and canal

old and new locks in Lilla Edet

Åkersströms gamla sluss.

Slussarna i Trollhättan.

Gammal slussled

Stallbacka kanal


Gustav Adolf's lock
at Åkersström

The locks in Trollhättan

Old loclks
in Trollhättan

Stallbacka canal
in Trollhättan

The lock at Brinkebergskulle
and Carl's grav

Total length

Total elevation

Numberumber of locks

Max boatlength

Max boatwidth

Max draught

Max free height

Max speed

82 km

44 m


89 m

13,4 m

5,4 m

27 m

10 knots

Göta Älv has a very long tradition in transportation.
According to hearsay the Norwegain king Harald Hårdråde sailed up thje river with a fleet of 60 ships in 1064.At that time there were no locks, so at Lilla Edet, Trollhättan and Brinkebergskulle they were forced to pull the ships beside the falls.
Göta Älv has since ages been Sweden's most important route for export and import from west. It has also been the border to Norway, but Swedish ships has always been able to sail here. The idea with locks and canals to simplify navigation are old . The first surveys were made by king Gustav Vasa, but the first lock wasn't built until 1607 during the reign of king Karl IX. This was in Lilla Edet and that lock was was improved from 1639 to 1642 as well as in 1782 to 1784. During the reign of Karl IX works also started on a canal between Vänersborg and Brinkebergskulle. But these works were not finished until 1752.
In 1718 a contract was signed by the government and Christopher Polhem about a canal between Kattegatt and Vänern, between Vänern and Vättern and from Vättern to the Baltic sea. Some works started at Brinkebergskulle, but were stopped by shortage of money. The works were resumed in 1747 and in 1752 the canal between Vänersborg and Brinkebergskulle was ready for use. After that the works started in Trollhättan, but in 1755 there was a big accident and after that the works were stopped.
In 1793 a company for building and maintaining a canal was formed and Erik Nordewall was engaged to build the canal through Trollhättan.. He mainly followed plans made by David af Thunberg and S. Sohlberg in the 1770ies with 8 locks and on August 14 1800 the first connection between Vänern and Kattegatt was inaugurated.
This canal was built for small ships and when Göta Canal was opened for traffic in 1832 Trollhätte canal was too small. From 1838 to 1844 a new route through Trollhättan was built allowing the same ship measures as Göta canal.
This new route was enough all through the 19th century, but towards the end of the century it became evident that something should be donw as ships were built bigger and bigger. One idea was to build a completely new canal from Vänern to Uddevalla.
Several surveys were done and in 1909 the parliament decided to enlarge Trollhätte canal. This was done with new locks and a new route through Trollhällan. Thethe route was inaugurated in 1916 and the locks built then is still in use.
In 1974 the fairway was deepened and from that year the canal is open all around the year.

Facts and curio about Göta Älv and Trollhättae canal.

Sources: Slussverken i Göta Älv och kring Vänern av Stig Hallberg, Munkedal 1990, Broschyrer från Sjöfartsverket Trollhätte kanals sjötrafikområde 1999, jubileumsskriften Trollhätte kanal 200 år, utgiven av Sjöfartsverket år 2000, Nordisk Familjebok 1919.
Do send comments or further information to Bosse Arnholm!


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This page was modified at 12-09-10