The Significance of the Canal
The rise of modern manufacturing industry in Sweden is probably the most significant consequence that the Canal has had for the country. The manufactory of Motala Verkstad was where budding engineers and foremen received their training in the new production methods. It developed a large body of know-how in the casting of iron, from which Sweden benefited. Along the way, Motala grew to be a modern industrial town.
Karlsborg Fortress is seen as a direct outcome from the building of the Canal. When Sweden lost Finland in 1809, it was generally felt that Stockholm was too unprotected, situated as it was close to enemy territory. The things that would need to be protected in the event of war - armaments, gold, the royal family, the government and so on - would be safer in a strong, inland fortress. It was the Canal that made it possible to transport them there.
It took nearly a hundred years to build Karlsborg Fortress, 1820-1909, but even so, it was never quite finished and was never called upon to serve its original purpose. During the Second World War the Swedish gold reserve was stored there. Today, the Fortress is the base for the Household Cavalry Hussars, K3, the Paratroop School and the Defence Department's Survival School. Besides the defence facilities there are civilian residences, shops, a café and a museum within the grounds of the Fortress. The Canal is today one of Sweden's strongest touristic assets.