North Sea Canal
Overview
 
The North Sea Canal is a Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 ship canal
Ship canal
A ship canal is a canal especially constructed to carry ocean-going ships, as opposed to barges. Ship canals can be enlarged barge canals, canalized or channelized rivers, or canals especially constructed from the start to accommodate ships....

 from Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

 to the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 at IJmuiden, constructed between 1865 and 1876 to enable seafaring vessels to reach the port
Port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

 of Amsterdam. This man-made channel terminates at Amsterdam in the closed-off IJ Bay
IJ (bay)
The IJ is a river, formerly a bay, in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is known for being Amsterdam's waterfront. The name derives from the generic Germanic term for "water" and is similar to other Aa/Ee names for bodies of water. In Dutch, the name consists of the digraph ij, which is...

, which in turn connects to the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal
Amsterdam-Rhine Canal
The Amsterdam–Rhine Canal or Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal is a canal in the Netherlands that was built to connect the port city of Amsterdam to the main shipping artery of the Rhine...

.

The drainage of the canal to the North Sea is done through the Spui Locks
Lock (water transport)
A lock is a device for raising and lowering boats between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways. The distinguishing feature of a lock is a fixed chamber in which the water level can be varied; whereas in a caisson lock, a boat lift, or on a canal inclined plane, it is...

 at IJmuiden, augmented by the largest pumping station in Europe.
Encyclopedia
The North Sea Canal is a Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 ship canal
Ship canal
A ship canal is a canal especially constructed to carry ocean-going ships, as opposed to barges. Ship canals can be enlarged barge canals, canalized or channelized rivers, or canals especially constructed from the start to accommodate ships....

 from Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

 to the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 at IJmuiden, constructed between 1865 and 1876 to enable seafaring vessels to reach the port
Port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

 of Amsterdam. This man-made channel terminates at Amsterdam in the closed-off IJ Bay
IJ (bay)
The IJ is a river, formerly a bay, in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is known for being Amsterdam's waterfront. The name derives from the generic Germanic term for "water" and is similar to other Aa/Ee names for bodies of water. In Dutch, the name consists of the digraph ij, which is...

, which in turn connects to the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal
Amsterdam-Rhine Canal
The Amsterdam–Rhine Canal or Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal is a canal in the Netherlands that was built to connect the port city of Amsterdam to the main shipping artery of the Rhine...

.

The drainage of the canal to the North Sea is done through the Spui Locks
Lock (water transport)
A lock is a device for raising and lowering boats between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways. The distinguishing feature of a lock is a fixed chamber in which the water level can be varied; whereas in a caisson lock, a boat lift, or on a canal inclined plane, it is...

 at IJmuiden, augmented by the largest pumping station in Europe. This system is vital to the groundwater
Groundwater
Groundwater is water located beneath the ground surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock formations. A unit of rock or an unconsolidated deposit is called an aquifer when it can yield a usable quantity of water. The depth at which soil pore spaces or fractures and voids in rock...

 management of the western Netherlands.

History

To improve the connection between the harbour of Amsterdam and the North Sea, the North Holland Canal was built in 1824. But this long and narrow canal was quickly inadequate to handle the growing boat traffic. A few decades later it was decided to dig a new canal at the narrowest point in Holland and thereby providing the shortest route to the sea.

Digging began on 8 March 1865, at the dunes of Breesaap and lasted until 1876. Since no Dutch company was willing to take on this task, the project was awarded to an English contractor.

The North Sea Canal was built by digging a channel through the old IJ Bay and lining it with dikes, after which the remaining portions of the IJ Bay were reclaimed and turned into polders. From this bay to the sea, a new canal was dug through the dunes at Velsen
Velsen
Velsen is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is located on both sides of the North Sea Canal.On the north side of the North Sea Canal, in IJmuiden, there is a major steel plant, Corus Strip Products IJmuiden, formerly known as Koninklijke Hoogovens...

. To accommodate drainage of and shipping on the tributaries of the IJ, such as the Spaarne
Spaarne
The Spaarne is a river, in North Holland, Netherlands. This partially canalized river connects the Ringvaart to a side branch of the North Sea Canal. It runs through Haarlem, Heemstede, and Spaarndam....

, the Zaan
Zaan
The Zaan is a small river in the province of North-Holland in The Netherlands and the name of the district through which it runs. The river was originally a side arm of the IJ bay and travels 10 kilometers through the municipality of Zaanstad north of Amsterdam, from West-Knollendam in the north...

, and the Nauerna Canal, nine auxiliary canals needed to be dug as well (Side Canals "A" to "I").

A small set of locks () were built at the mouth in 1876 where the new town of IJmuiden (Dutch for "IJ Mouth") formed. In 1896 the Middle Locks () were built, followed by the North Locks () in 1929, which were Europe's largest locks at that time.

At the eastern end of the canal, east of Amsterdam, the IJ Bay was open to the Zuiderzee until 1872 when the Orange Locks () were built. With the completion of these locks the North Sea Canal and IJ Bay were no longer open to the sea and a specific water level could be maintained.

The canal was dug using manual labour. The workers lived in horrid conditions, being housed in huts built from twigs, driftwood, sod, and straw, where disease, fights, and alcohol abuse were rampant.

On 1 November 1876, the North Sea Canal was officially opened by King William III of the Netherlands
William III of the Netherlands
William III was from 1849 King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg until his death and the Duke of Limburg until the abolition of the Duchy in 1866.-Early life:William was born in Brussels as son of William II of the Netherlands and...

. Over the years the canal has been widened and deepened several times.

Side canals

The North Sea Canal and the IJ have 10 side canals (in Dutch: Zijkanaal), which connect to rivers and other canals which used to flow into the former IJ Bay before its reclamation.
  • Zijkanaal A - connects the harbour of Beverwijk
    Beverwijk
    Beverwijk is a municipality and a town in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. The town is located about northwest of Amsterdam in the Randstad metropolitan area, north of the North Sea Canal very close to the North Sea coast...

     to the North Sea Canal, also an inundation canal of the Stelling van Amsterdam
    Stelling van Amsterdam
    The UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Defence Line of Amsterdam is a 135 km long ring of fortifications around Amsterdam, consisting of 42 forts located between 10 to 15 kilometers the centre, and lowlands that can easily be flooded in time of war...

    .
  • Zijkanaal B - connected Spaarndam
    Spaarndam
    Spaarndam is a small village in the province of North Holland, the Netherlands, on the Spaarne and IJ rivers. The oldest part of the village, on the western side of the Spaarne, belongs to the municipality of Haarlem; the newer part on the eastern side is a part of the municipality of...

     to the North Sea Canal, but was cut off from it by the construction of the A9 motorway
    A9 motorway (Netherlands)
    The A9 motorway is a motorway in the Netherlands. The motorway starts off by going from the A1 at Diemen to the A2 at junction 'Holendrecht'...

     in the 1960s. It is now used for canoeing and mooring of houseboat
    Houseboat
    A houseboat is a boat that has been designed or modified to be used primarily as a human dwelling. Some houseboats are not motorized, because they are usually moored, kept stationary at a fixed point and often tethered to land to provide utilities...

    s.
  • Zijkanaal C - connects the Spaarne
    Spaarne
    The Spaarne is a river, in North Holland, Netherlands. This partially canalized river connects the Ringvaart to a side branch of the North Sea Canal. It runs through Haarlem, Heemstede, and Spaarndam....

     river at Spaarndam
    Spaarndam
    Spaarndam is a small village in the province of North Holland, the Netherlands, on the Spaarne and IJ rivers. The oldest part of the village, on the western side of the Spaarne, belongs to the municipality of Haarlem; the newer part on the eastern side is a part of the municipality of...

     to the North Sea Canal at Buitenhuizen, and also functions as the main drainage canal of the Rijnland water board
    Water board (The Netherlands)
    Dutch water boards are regional government bodies charged with managing the water barriers, the waterways, the water levels, water quality and sewage treatment in their respective regions...

    . The A9 motorway has an operable bridge over this side canal.
  • Zijkanaal D - connects the Nauerna Canal to the North Sea Canal.
  • Zijkanaal E - a very short canal connecting the south end of Westzaan to the North Sea Canal.
  • Zijkanaal F - connected Halfweg to the North Sea Canal, but is now mostly backfilled. A small portion remains and is used as a drainage canal.
  • Zijkanaal G - connects Zaandam
    Zaandam
    Zaandam is a town in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is the main city of the municipality of Zaanstad, and received city rights in 1811...

     and the Zaan
    Zaan
    The Zaan is a small river in the province of North-Holland in The Netherlands and the name of the district through which it runs. The river was originally a side arm of the IJ bay and travels 10 kilometers through the municipality of Zaanstad north of Amsterdam, from West-Knollendam in the north...

     River to the North Sea Canal.
  • Zijkanaal H - connects the Barndegat to the North Sea Canal.
  • Zijkanaal I - connects the East Zaan Overtoom to the IJ Bay.
  • Zijkanaal K - connects the harbour of Nieuwendam
    Nieuwendam
    Nieuwendam is a former village in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is now a neighbourhood of Amsterdam-Noord.Nieuwendam was a separate municipality until 1921, when it was merged with Amsterdam. The municipality covered the villages of Nieuwendam and Zunderdorp.-External links: Map of the...

     to the IJ Bay.

Locks

There are four locks, of various sizes at the North Sea mouth of the canal: When the north canal lock was opened in 1929 it was the largest canal lock in the world.
name completed dimensions (L x W x D)
meters
dimensions (L x W x D)
feet
South 1876 110 x 20 x 8 360 x 65 x 26
Small 1876 110 x 11 x 3.5 360 x 36 x 11
Middle 1896 225 x 25 x 10 738 x 82 x 33
North 1929 400 x 50 x 15 1312 x 164 x 49

Crossings

Railway tunnels (with nearest train station on the south and north bank):
  • between Amsterdam Sloterdijk railway station and Zaandam railway station
    Zaandam railway station
    Zaandam is the main railway station in the town of Zaandam, near Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. It is at the junction of the Den Helder–Amsterdam railway and the Zaandam–Enkhuizen railway.-History:...

  • between Driehuis railway station
    Driehuis railway station
    Driehuis is a railway station in Driehuis, North Holland, the Netherlands. The station opened 29 September 1957. It lies on the Haarlem–Uitgeest railway. The station has 2 platforms.-Train services:The following services currently call at Driehuis:...

     and Beverwijk railway station
    Beverwijk railway station
    Beverwijk is a railway station located in Beverwijk, the Netherlands. The station opened on 1 May 1867 and is on the Haarlem–Uitgeest railway.-Train services:The following services currently call at Uitgeest:...



Road tunnels, from east to west:
  • Zeeburger Tunnel and Zeeburger Bridge (part of the A10 motorway
    A10 motorway (Netherlands)
    The A10 motorway is a motorway in the Netherlands. This motorway is the ring road around the city of Amsterdam.The motorway has a length of 32 km...

    )
  • IJ Tunnel
  • Coen Tunnel (part of the A10 motorway
    A10 motorway (Netherlands)
    The A10 motorway is a motorway in the Netherlands. This motorway is the ring road around the city of Amsterdam.The motorway has a length of 32 km...

    )
  • Wijker Tunnel (part of the A9 motorway
    A9 motorway (Netherlands)
    The A9 motorway is a motorway in the Netherlands. The motorway starts off by going from the A1 at Diemen to the A2 at junction 'Holendrecht'...

    )
  • Velser Tunnel (part of the A22 motorway
    A22 motorway (Netherlands)
    The A22 motorway is a motorway in the Netherlands. It is one of the shorter motorways in the Netherlands, with a total length of approximately 8 kilometers....

    )


The most western crossing is the road over the locks. The route depends on which of the locks is closed.

Several ferries. In Amsterdam there are several across the IJ; at least one is frequent, operating 24 hours a day, free of charge.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK