Long before the D&R Canal was constructed, canals were a common means of transport in most European countries. The Göta Canal was one of the largest civil engineering projects ever undertaken in Sweden. The Canal stretches from Sjötorp on Lake Vänern to Mem on the east coast. The canal connects Stockholm and Gothenburg by water. Together with other canals in Sweden, it helps create “Sweden's Blue Ribbon.”
The Göta Canal was largely built by 58,000 billeted soldiers from 16 different regiments. During the 22 years building was in progress, about 60,000 men, including a company of Russian war prisoners and a number of civilian workers, worked a total of about 7 million man-days, each of 12 hours.
Most of the Canal was excavated by hand using iron-shod wooden spades. Work mainly consisted of digging, blasting and dressing stone. Baltzar von Platen also introduced several new techniques using various equipment from England. A number of highly skilled English foremen were recruited.