After the construction of the canal between Almelo and de Haandrik around 1855 – right through the great swampy peatlands from the Lemelerberg in the west to the German border in the east – finally, the cultivation for the extraction of peat could begin. By digging zijwijken, like the Fortwijk and Kalkwijk, square to the canal, the peat boats could penetrate deep into the area. In this way, the advancing peat workers – excavating the peat with their bucket elevator, peat press, and steam engine – could be relieved from their peat. Hectare after hectare was cultivated in this way, while the remaining land was sold to farmers from Groningen to start their own agricultural businesses. The construction of straight roads, large parcels and great impressive Groninger farms resulted in large agricultural businesses, modern for their time, in a peat district.