The Brussels-Charleroi Canal, also known as the Charleroi Canal amongst other similar names, (French: canal Bruxelles-Charleroi, Dutch: kanaal Brussel-Charleroi) is an important canal in Belgium. The canal is quite large, with a Class IV Freycinet gauge, and its Wallonian portion is 47.9 kilometres (29.8 mi) long. It runs from Charleroi in the south to Brussels in the north. It is part of a north-south axis of water transport in Belgium, whereby the north of France (via the Canal du Centre) including Lille and Dunkirk and important waterways in the south of Belgium including the Sambre valley and sillon industriel are linked to the port of Antwerp in the north, via the Brussels-Scheldt Maritime Canal.
The Ronquières inclined plane is the most remarkable feature of the canal.
The idea of a waterway to serve the cities of Hainaut, linking them ultimately with Antwerp, was first put forward during the reign of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy (1396–1467). In 1436, an edict authorized the modification and deepening of the Senne River, though the project turned out to be more expensive than previously thought. The city of Mechelen, the sole city allowed to tax water transport on the Senne, protested extensively at the prospect of the construction of a parallel canal, and the project was abandoned.
During the 16th century, the prospect of a canal was renewed. In 1531, Charles V authorized the construction of a canal linking Charleroi and Willebroek, though work did not begin immediately. It was not until 1550 that Mary of Habsburg, Governor of the Netherlands, finally ordered work to begin. When work was finished in 1561, the canal linked Brussels to the Scheldt at Willebroek, though it did not continue south past Brussels.