Göta älv (yöˌtä ĕlvˈ) [key], river, 56 mi (90 km) long, SW Sweden, draining Vänern lake into the Kattegat. It is part of the Göta Canal, a 240-mi (386-km) system of rivers, lakes, and canals, which crosses S Sweden from Göteborg to Arkosund on the Baltic Sea and to Stockholm by way of the sea. The canals, which account for one half of the waterway's length, were opened in 1832 and ascend and descend c.300 ft (90 m) by means of 58 locks. The section that passes around the rapids at Trollhättan was modernized in 1916 to accommodate small oceangoing vessels.
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