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>In 1866, however, when the Canal through Zuid-Beveland opened up, the village flourished; the canal ran right through the middle of the village (dividing it into eastern and western parts) where sluices were located, bringing commercial traffic with it. Hansweert in those days knew a disproportionately large number of bakeries, butchers, and cafes, and came to be called “Small Antwerp”.
>For a long time, Hansweert was an important stop on the shortest shipping route between the busy ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, but all that changed when the Scheldt–Rhine Canal opened up and became the quicker route. Hansweert’s economy collapsed, and so did the village. The eastern part of the village was torn down to make way for a harbor; further renovation moved the canal farther from the village.