Picture: Schellemill at the Damse Vaart in Damme.  

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Bruges Gate
Farm the "Stamper"
Farm Saint Christopher

House "de Grote Sterre"
House Saint John
Damme town hall
Saint-John's hospital
Medieval waterwell
Statue J.Van Maerlant
Damme town walls
Our Ladies Church
NR Damme town walls
Damse Vaart
Bat reserve
Damme book village
Museum St-John's hospital
Museum town hall
Museum Schellemill

NR Zwin


Lock of the "Lieve"

Location: at the end of the Jacob Van Maerlantstraat, 8340 Damme [gps]
Accessibility: freely accessible

In contrary to Bruges, the city of Ghent did not have direct access to the sea.  Out of economic consideration, the city of Ghent decided to dig a canal (the Lieve) to Damme.  Not an easy task, especially in the 13th century.  Via a number of locks (called "rabotten") the differences in hight were surpassed and the level of water could be maintained to enable navigation.  This canal from 1262 was of the utmost importance for the city of Ghent for several centuries: it was the city's gate to the world.  This economic artery mouthed in the port of Damme where the cargo from the small riverboats was overloaded to bigger ships that sailed via the Zwin to the North Sea.  You can imagine that these activities were also advantageous for the town of Damme.

The canal was not very wide; small flatboats and riverboats were used to ship the precious load from and to Ghent. The place where the canal entered the port of Damme was relocated several times in the course of the years.  From 1616 on, out of military reason, the canal was guided inside the town via a covered watergate (a casemate).  Before, the canal mouthed directly in the Zwin a little north of the town.  Via a sluice-gate, the boats were guided inside the port.  This sluice-gate was discovered during excavations in 1969.  It has been restored now and it gives you a good idea on what the size of the vessels was that were used at that time.

 Den Hoorn






Hendrik De Leyn - www.damme-online.com