In the middle of the nineteenth century the Hondsrug to the south of Nieuw-Dordrecht presented the old canal builders with an almost insurmountable barrier. Over a distance of a few kilometres they were faced with an altitude difference of five metres. The Hondsrug also made it impossible to drain water from the peat beyond Nieuw-Dordrecht into the Oranje canal.
A lock in the King Willem-Alexander Canal
In days gone by ships could carry their goods all over Southeast Drenthe, until their work was replaced by lorries. Ever since the ships no longer visited this area and the canals of Southeast Drenthe began to silt up.
Since 2013, thanks to the new King Willem-Alexander canal, it is once again possible to sail from Erica to Ter Apel. A modern artwork commemorates the completion of the new canal.
Artwork along the W.A. Canal