Dalslands Canal

With a trip on the Dalsland Canal you find yourself right in the heart of Dalsland, the Swedish landscape with the highest density of lakes.

The canal is a 254 kilometer long system that over the years has transformed from the necessary transport route for timber and iron ore into a well-traveled adventure route. Large and small lakes are tied together by a mile of dug or blasted canal and offer beautiful natural environments. The canal was built by Nils Ericson between 1865 and 1868. In 2018, the canal celebrated its 150 years Jubilee.

The Dalslands Kanaltrafik inc. travels with the boats M/S Storholmen and M/S Dalslandia between Håverud and Bengtsfors on the Dalsland canal.
On the route, 16 exciting locks are passed with a level difference of 41 meters. The romantic communities with their locks and mansions we pass are joined by beautiful lakes with untouched nature and rich bird and animal life.

The history of the Canal

Hydropower supplied by the rapids, and the forest was valuable so by the end of the 17th century several iron manufactures were in operation. At Upperud and Åmål, the iron ore and the iron were shipped in and out. Transportation on the water was used as far as possible, but transhipment between the lakes cost a lot of manpower. The routes from Upperud up to Lake Laxsjön caused most trouble.

The transport problems of the manufactories made the demands for a channel increasingly stronger. On several occasions, parliamentarians from the district demanded that the state should provide loans and grants to construct a canal, but as it was not agreed on which proposal for canal stretching would be best, the parliament did not want to finance the project.

In August 1862, the county governor in Älvsborg County, Count Erik Josias Sparre, submitted a letter and application for state grants to a canal between Hattefura harbor and Stora Le, along with a 2350-foot long railway at Håverud. In 1863, the Riksdag granted a state financial support of one million Riksdaler, of which 800,000 as a loan. This happened 100 years after the issue of a canal being proposed for the first time.

Dalsland's canal company was formed in 1864, with Count Sparre and the wholesaler Carl Fredrik Waern as driving forces to secure the 200,000 Riksdaler, which were to be taken as security.

Waern spoke to Colonel Nils Ericson, who let himself be persuaded despite his old age, on condition that the plan for the canal would be changed and that he did not have to lead the work himself. Nils Ericson proposed, among other things, an aqueduct with locks at Håverud instead of a railroad. 

The contract for the construction of the canal was drawn up December 31, 1864, with Nils Ericson's illegitimate son Werner Ericson as appointed supervisor of the work. Nils Ericson estimated the work to be enduring 2-3 years and would be completed, as agreed in the contract, until the end of 1868 to a sum of 1,365,000 Riksdaler.

The canal was with great celebrations inaugurated by King Charles XV on September 18-20, 1868. The King was accompanied by his family; Queen Lovisa, Princess Lovisa and her fiancé Crown Prince Fredrik of Denmark.
In 1902, the loan granted in 1863 was finalized.

Traffic decreased in 1894 when the railroad track was in place: The Lelången-railway from Uddevalla to Bengtsfors was inaugurated and the DVVJ-railway was opened in 1928.
Dalsland's canal company (Dalslands Kanalaktiebolag) tried to meet the competition from the railway with favorable contracts. In this way, companies were tied to the canal for a long time.

Long trailers of bundled paperwood, which were towed behind the boats, contributed to the upswing and up until the 1950s this kind of traffic was so dominating that the company made a profit.

From 1966 the traffic on the canal consisted mainly of tourist traffic, with passenger boats and private boats. Today, thousands of recreational boats use the canal every summer and the canal is a popular experience.

You can find more information about the Dalsland Canal on the website of Dalsland's Canal.
Visit dalslandskanal.se

Facts on the Canal

Dalsland's Canal extends from Köpmannebro on the western shore of lake Vänern to southwestern Värmland. The height difference on the route is just a bit over 65 meters.

  • Built in  1865 – 1868, by Nils Ericson

  • 17 lock stations with 31 locks over all

  • 22 lakes included, of about the 1300 lakes in Dalsland

  • Length of the canal system: 254 kilometers, of which ca. 12 km dug or blasted canal.

  • Maximum draft: 1.80 meters, maximum length of vessel: 22.75 meters, maximum width: 4.05 meters

Redo att boka resa?

Njut av en avslappnande dag på Dalslands Kanal tillsammans med oss på Storholmen och Dalslandia.

Om du vill veta mer är du alltid välkommen att kontakta oss.
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