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This next rally will take place on Saturday June 4th

Text en pictures: Geert van Beurden / Michiel Rotteveel

The Canoe Route.

An important element to rejuvenating the Canal and the surrounding region is to re-open the canal for small recreational boats. To accomplish this, several hurdles must be taken. For a canoe, these hurdles are easy to take. For that reason, the canoe route between the marina in the centre of Almelo and the "Vechtesee" in Nordhorn was established. The total length of the route is 36 km and there are fourteen short land transports. An experienced canoeist should be able to master this in approximately 7 hours.

Starting in Almelo, the route goes east. After a short stretch, you will see the white building of the “Banisgemaal”, built in 1959 and used to protect the lower parts of Almelo against flooding. Daartoe werd in 1981 ook het Lateraalkanaal gegraven dat over ruim 1 km. met het tracé van het kanaal Almelo-Nordhorn in oostelijke richting samenvalt.

During the tour, you will see four Iron draw bridges (which can no longer be drawn) that have withstood the years remarkably well. The first one is the "Rikmansbrug" in Albergen and the second one can be found near the double locks in Reutum. After another 6 km, the Hunnebrug appears just behind the nature area "Agelerbroek/Volterbroek". Just before Denekamp is the Harseveldbrug, at the point were the Schiphorstdijk/Damweg is crossing the canal.

From the initial 13 bridge keepers houses only two still exist in more or less their original shape.

Ships needed to clear six locks to overcome the difference in height between Almelo and Nordhorn. From the five Dutch Locks, only the double Lock near Reutum still exists. Dams replace the other four. The German Lock just across the border recently was restored. All the other locks are replaced by dams and weirs.

The “Schuivenhuisje” is the best-known monument along the route, located just beyond the “Harseveldbrug” in Denekamp. At this location, the river “Dinkel” crosses the Canal and also supplies water for the Canal. Six tubes with steel slides regulate the inlet of water into the Canal. Because this structure was causing significant sand deposits, a duct was made to allow part of the waterflow to pass under the Canal.

Immediately after crossing the border you will find the second restored Lock with a clearly different design than the Dutch lock. This Lock completes the water connection between Almelo and the Vechtesee, Vecht and the German Canal system. The customs shed on the left still exists as well as the former house behind it.

The initiators of this route, the EKR, wishes everybody a lot of fun during this sportive event.

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The canoe route in details (From Almelo to Nordhorn)

Start

For this tour the old wood storage in the marina in the centre of Almelo is your starting place (or finish). It is within 5 walking minutes from the railroad- and bus station and has sufficient parking space. Leave the harbor in northern direction, turn right (east) and paddle between the still visible remains of the redundant Almelo Lock onto the Almelo Nordhorn Canal.

Barrage "Banisgemaal"

At Barrage near the Banisgemaal take the canoe and carry it across into the Lateraal canal on your right. Continue your journey east.

Weir "Markgraven"

After 1.2km the Lateraal canal flows north. The Almelo Nordhorn canal continues east. The best place to carry your canoe across the weir is at 11 o’clock. (front-left).

Weir "De Pook"

At de Pook The original Lock/bridge combination is replace by a duct and a weir. The old lock doors can still be seen on the south shore. Your landing place is on the right.

Weir "Vleerboersweg"

Continue your journey through wooded landscape. The canal itself lies deep down between safe canal banks. Along the canal, on both the North and South side runs a small quiet road, ideal for bicycles. Your support team can cycle along the whole length of the canal.

After one kilometer, you will pass a small Café, “Fraans-Marie, on your left. This used to be the house of the bridge keeper. The history of "Fraans-Marie" begins with a small café with a store. The name "Fraans-Marie" comes from the nickname of Nijhuis which was "Fraans". "Marie" was added to the name becouse she was the bartender.

When you continue your journey, you may meet a pair of swans that live in this part of the canal.

Barrage road Weerselo–Fleringen (N343)

After 5.5 km, a barrage and a major road will block your journey. You will find a carry-over place on your right. Here you need to carry (or wheel) your canoe for about 150 meters. Be careful when crossing the road!

On the South shore there is a campsite for those that want to enjoy the tour over 2 days.

The double Locks

Now follows a part full of water lilies. Beautiful, but not easy to paddle. After 1.8 km you will be at the double locks. The locks and bridge are in the middle of some lovely countryside.

Barrage "Nijenkampsweg"

We continue our journey for another 2 KM before we reach our next stop. Even though all carry over place are located on your right (South), some are difficult but not impossible to access, as they are being overgrown with reeds and other plants.

Barrage "Rossummerstraat"

Again a road effectively blocks your journey. After managing this obstacle, you will now enter a beautiful countryside with some rare plant and bird species. This is the “Agelerbroek”. From here on you can paddle uninterrupted for a longer stretch and enjoy the surroundings.

After 4.5km, you will cross the Dinkel and on your left, you will see the unique “Schuivenhuisje”.

Barrage "Ootmarsumsestraat"

Leave your canoe on your right and carefully (Fast cars) cross the road. The regular start point lies behind the pipe that crosses the canal (150 meters.) however you can also start immediately after the road and paddle under the pipeline without problems.

Barrage

Now follows a part of the canal that has short paddle distances and many carryovers. In the "bad old days", this part of the canal was used as a sewage overflow, resulting in bad smells and dirty water. That has been changed, now the water is crystal-clear, but the old obstacles are still in the way of the well-meaning canoeist.

Barrage "Omleidingskanaal"

Here you can find your carry over place on your left. For those that would like to make their journey even longer they could leave the Canal and change over to the omleidingskanaal and then via Dinkel and Vecht paddle in the direction of Hardenberg and Zwolle. On the right is the bridge across the “omleidingskanaal” to carry your canoe across.

Barrage "Kanaalweg"

What to do? Get in the canoe, paddle 400 meter and get out again? Or just walk? Your own choice. Walking along the canal is easy and stretching your legs might be a welcome change.
Getting in the canoe after the short walk is easy. You can use a metal raster that hangs over the canal, for this purpose.

Barrage "Grensweg"

As the name suggests, we are close to the Border (=grens).
Use your own initiative to find a suitable landing place.

Barrage "Rammelbeek"

Another short stretch and we are at the crossing with the Rammelbeek. The Rammelbeek used to be the border with Germany.

To your right the old custums office is lies between green bushes. The small wooden shed that hangs over the water used to be the customs office were the freight boats handled their duties.

The right shore here is Dutch. The left is German. The canal is very shallow here but after only a few meters you will have sufficient water under your keel to continue the journey. From hereon you paddle through a green tunnel (4 KM). Both shores are fully overgrown with trees and bushes.

Vechtesee

At the end of this green tunnel turn right onto the Vechtesee. This is a small lake that was dug in the seventies to function as a sand catch from the river Vecht. In fact, you are now paddling on the Vecht. For the Euregio Kano Rally your finish is at the pier of the Bootsclub Nordhorn.

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Used literatuur:
Goïnga, Kl., "100 jaar kanaal Almelo-Nordhorn", 1989;
Provincie Overijssel, "De botanische waarden van het kanaal Almelo-Nordhorn", 2002;
Report & research:
Werkgroep Water CHE, "Kanotochten in de heerlijkheid Almelo en omstreken", 2004.