Mittelland Canal - Midland Canal



The Mittelland Canal (German = Mittellandkanal) also known as Midland Canal is a German inland waterways connecting the waterways networks of Belgium and The Netherlands as well as the waterways networks in central Germany and in the west of Poland. Other connections are to Switzerland, Czech Republik, Slowakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria. As such the Midland Canal is the most important canal in Europe and longest of its kind in Germany.


The Midland Canal runs over a length of 323.50 kilometres beginning at Dortmund-Ems Canal, shortly after the town of Bergeshövede and ending at the passage into the Elbe-Havel Canal at Hohenwarthe in the German state of Sachsen-Anhalt.



European Waterways - Editorial on the Midland Canal - Information and Photography


This editorial is set to follow the run of the canal from its beginning at Bergeshövede up to its end at the locks of Hohenwarthe in the German state of Sachsen-Anhalt.



logo raymond loyal photography

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German inland waterways: Midland Canal at Bergeshövede
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Inland Waterways Germany - source Department for Geo Information South, Regensburg. Provided according to GeoNutzV Bundeswasserstrassen German regulation


Locks in the Midland Canal (MLK)


How many lock systems are in the Midland Canal? There are only three lock systems directly within the course of Midland Canal. All other lock systems connected to Midland Canal are the junctions to rhe rivers Weser, Leine and Elbe and to the Elbe Lateral Canal with its branch canals und another 12 locks. In all the Midland Canal only accounts for 15 lock systems which is relatively low compared to Dortmund-Ems Canal. However Midland Canal runs through lowlands over long distances without any significant gradients.


Three large lock systems are necessary to overcome large fall heights:

  • Anderten Locks (double shaft lock system) at canal kilometre 174.238
  • Sülfeld Locks (North and South lock chamber) at canal kilometre 236.76 and 236.98
  • Hohenwarthe Locks at canal kilometre 324.46



Branch Channels connecting to Midland Canal (MLK)


How many branch channels connect to Midland Canal? In fact, and compared to the length of the canal, we are talking only six branch canale which are (canal abbreviation in brackets):

  • Ibbenbühren branch canal (SKM)
  • Osnabrück branch canal (SKO)
  • Hannover-Linden  branch canal (SKL)
  • Misburg branch canal (SKM)
  • Hildesheim branch canal (SKH)
  • Salzgitter branch canal (SKS)


Midland Canal (MLK) connections to rivers Weser, Leine and Elbe


Midland Canal connects to the rivers Weser, Leine and Elbe. At the rivers Weser and Elbe the canal crosses the rivers on massive trough bridges. In order to allow barges to descend to the deeper rivers connection channels were built:

  • Channel North connecting to river Weser (VKN) branching off MLK at kilometre 101.56
  • Channel South connecting to river Weser (VKS) branching off MLK at kilometre 102.93
  • Connection Channel to river Leine (VKL) junction off Hannover Branch Canal at Hannover-Linden at kilometre 8.46
  • Connection Channel Rothensee (RVK) - connecting to river Elbe, branching off at MLK kilometre 319.894


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Midland Canal near Bergeshöved - a safety gate is in the background
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Midland Canal near Bergeshövede - a barge is sailing in the direction of Dortmund-Ems Canal


Inland Harbours alongside Midland Canal


Midland Canal runs through the German states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Saxony Anhalt (Sachsen-Anhalt). There are 25 inland harbours along the course of the canal which make a significant contribution to the economy. The harbours are listed below:

  • Harbour Ibbenbühren - North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Harbour Reke - North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Osnabrück Harbour - Lower Saxony
  • Bramsche Harbour - Lower Saxony
  • Harbour Bad Essen - Lower Saxony
  • Getmold Harbour - North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Lübbecke Harbour - North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Ille Harbour - North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Minden Harbour - North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Bückeburg Harbour - Lower Saxony
  • Niederwöhren Harbour - Lower Saxony
  • Sachsenhagen Harbour - Lower Saxony
  • Wunstorf Harbour - Lower Saxony
  • Seelze Harbour - Lower Saxony
  • Harbour Hanover - Lower Saxony
  • Sehnde Harbour - Lower Saxony
  • Hildesheim Harbour - Lower Saxony
  • Mehrum Harbour - Lower Saxony
  • Peine Harbour - Lower Saxony
  • Harbour Braunschweig - Lower Saxony
  • Wolfsburg Harbour - Lower Saxony
  • Flechtlingen Harbour - Saxony Anhalt
  • Haldersleben Harbour - Saxony Anhalt
  • Vahldorf Harbour - Saxony Anhalt
  • Harbour Magdeburg - Saxony Anhalt




The Beginning of Midland Canal


Midland canal begins near the township of Bergeshövede, in Tecklenburger Land, by branching off Dortmund-Ems-Canal at canal kilometre 108.36.


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Midland Canal - combined foot and cycle path alongside the canal banks
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Midland Canal - Barge shortly before moving into Dortmund-Ems Canal