The Mittelland Canal is a major canal in central Germany and forms an important link in the waterway network of that country, providing the principal east-west inland waterway connection. Its significance goes beyond Germany as it links France, Switzerland and the Benelux countries with Poland, the Czech Republic and the Baltic Sea.
It extends from the Dortmund-Ems Canal east of Rheine, running eastward along the northern border of the Central German Uplands to the Elbe River north of Magdeburg (a distance of about 321 km, or 199 miles), linking there with the Elbe-Havel Canal eastward to Berlin. Side canals connect it with Osnabrück, Hannover, Salzgitter, and Hildesheim. West of Wolfsburg, the Elbe Lateral Canal branches off, providing a connection to Hamburg, and (via the Elbe-Lübeck Canal) to the Baltic Sea.