Encyclopedia > Zuid-Willemsvaart

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The Zuid-Willemsvaart is a canal in the southern Netherlands, providing a shortcut in the Meuse River between the cities of Maastricht and 's-Hertogenbosch.

The 123 km-long canal runs through the Belgian province of Limburg, the Dutch province of Limburg and, for the largest part, through the Dutch province of North Brabant.

King Willem I of the Netherlands ordered the planning of the canal, and construction started in 1823. The canal was completed in 1826 and named for the king.

The canal created new possibilities for development of the poor towns on the sandy grounds of North Brabant, such as Helmond and Veghel and created an alternative traderoute for ships who didn't want to sail the Meuse.

Nowadays the channel is being enlarged to make more room for ships with higher tonnage and therefore the development of larger industries.

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