The little town of Le Roeulx, Belgium is known for this incredible structure. The boat lift was designed during the Canal du Centre's modernisation program in order to replace a system of two locks and four 16-metre lifts dating from 1888 to 1919. The canal itself began operations in 1879 and its locks and lifts were able to accommodate vessels of up to 300 tonnes. By the 1960s, this was no longer adequate for the new European standard of 1350 tonnes for barge traffic, and a replacement was sought.
The four older lifts on the Canal du Centre, which are bypassed by the new Canal du Centre, are on the UNESCO World Heritage list, because of their architectural and historical value.
The boat lift is being promoted as a tourist attraction in its own right by the government of Hainaut. A pedestrian ticket for a one-way ride on the lift costs €5.50.