About the Canal

The history of the Göta Canal

The Göta Canal is one of the biggest construction projects ever completed in Sweden. The canal is 190 km long and 87 km was dug by hand. There is a total of 58 locks. The Göta Canal stretches from Sjötorp by Lake Vänern to Mem by the Baltic Sea.

Built by 58 000 soldiers

Baltzar von Platen began construction of the canal in 1810 and one of Europe’s finest canal builders, Thomas Telford, assisted him. After King Karl XIII granted permission to commence the construction of the canal, 58 000 soldiers and 16 regiments were assigned to the project. The whole project took approximately seven million 12-hour days. The workers used steel edged wooden spades for digging the canal. The total cost of construction was about nine million Svenska Riksdaler, which in 2015 represented approximately 15.2 billion SEK.

The Göta Canal was inaugurated in 1832

The Göta Canal was inaugurated in Mem in the presence of Sweden’s King Karl XIV Johan and his family on September 26th 1832. Baltzar von Platen did not attend the completion of his crowning achievement, because he passed away three years earlier.

About the Göta Canal

Commissioned by: Baltzar von Platen 
Built: 1810–1832 
Cost: 9 million Svenska Riksdaler (today approx. 12.3 billion SEK)
Construction workers: 58 000 soldiers
Length: 190 kilometers
Number of locks: 58

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