Strépy-Thieu Boat Lift – Le Roeulx, Belgium - Atlas Obscura

Strépy-Thieu Boat Lift

Le Roeulx, Belgium

The world's tallest boat lift stands as a massive piece of industrial tourism. 


Located on a branch of the Canal du Centre in Hainaut, Belgium, the Strépy-Thieu Boat Lift is a massive piece of industrial engineering that also fancies itself quite the tourist hot spot.

Finished in 2002 after 20 years in construction, the giant water elevator was built to replace the crumbling series of locks and lifts which had previously serviced the river. The modern lift stands 150 meters tall and consists of two giant “caissons,” or water-troughs that carry the boats from the lower portion of the canal to the upper level over 73 meters above, and vice-versa. Each over-sized carrier is able to lift over 8,000 tons of liquid and ship weight. While the imposing contraption is mainly for commercial trade and shipping, visitors can also ride a boat while it is moved up or down the canal, or if they are not interested in getting their feet wet, the lift has a public cafeteria where diners can simply watch the machinery grind away. 

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