For various reasons, canals have been dug in the past. The main objective was usually to open up areas, but it could also be intended to improve the removal of precipitation.

Because half of the Netherlands is below sea level, in the past many canals were constructed with the aim of draining excess water to the sea. The shipping industry also made use of these channels. Many canals were also constructed for the transport of goods. Think of the Hoogeveensevaart, the Apeldoorns Canal and the Noordervaart. Nowadays, many smaller canals are no longer used by commercial shipping or are made suitable for recreational shipping. A number of larger transport axles are left over and are also regularly adapted to the changing shipping industry. These include the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal, the Prinses Margriet Canal, the Zuid Willemsvaart, the Juliana Canal and the Twente Canal.

In the course Navigation 1 you will have to deal extensively with canals; how were they dug, what engineering structures we encounter in them and how to navigate and manoeuvre on canals. Please refer to chapter 5 and beyond of the Navigation 1 course book.