Hydraulic Lift – Creaciones Vilber

Hydraulic Boat Lifts on the Canal du Centre

In the city of Louvière, in Wallonia, Belgium, we can find the Boat Lifts on the Canal du Centre.

This group of 4 hydraulic lifts has been declared an Important Heritage Site of Wallonia, and, in 1998,  it was designated as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Currently they are the only hydraulic lifts that still continue to operate in their original form.

These hydraulic lifts, available at Creaciones Vilber Sevillas, are composed of 4 hydraulic locks. Hydraulic locks are built so that boats and other small vessels can overcome the difference in height between some stretches of navigable canals or rivers.

The hydraulic lifts on the Canal du Centre are located in the province of Henao at a 7 km stretch where the Mosa and Escalda river basins meet in the Canal du Centre. Here there is a difference in height of 66.2 meters.

In order to make this section of the canal navigable to the boats which were otherwise unable to get over this height difference, a solution as needed. The solution was provided by Edwin Clark, of the Clark, Stansfield & Clark Co. of Great Britain. It was he who designed these lifts. The first hydraulic lift, with a rise of 15.4 meters, was inaugurated in 1888. It is located in the Houdeng-Gougnies region.

The other three, with a rise of 16.93 meters each, were opened in 1917. They are located in the areas of Houdeng-Aimeries, Strépy-Bracquegnies and in Thieu. They are worth seeing in person.