Berlin city centre is located on the River Spree, which runs roughly east to west across the city. The River Dahme joins the Spree at Köpenick, in the city's eastern suburbs. At Spandau the Spree joins the River Havel, which flows roughly north to south along the city's western boundary. To both east and west of the centre of Berlin, all three of these rivers flow through substantial chains of lakes. These include the Tegeler See and Großer Wannsee to the west, and the Müggelsee, Langer See, Seddinsee and Zeuthener See to the east. The Elbe–Havel Canal links the River Havel downstream of Spandau with both the River Elbe, which flows into the North Sea at Hamburg, and with the Mittelland Canal, which stretches across Germany to a network of canals that provide a link to the River Rhine. Both the Oder–Havel and Oder–Spree canals provide routes from the Berlin area to the River Oder, which flows into the Baltic Sea near Szczecin and provides links to Poland. The Oder-Havel Canal links with the River Havel north of Spandau, whilst the Oder-Spree Canal links with the River Dahme east of Köpenick.
River Spree in Berlin The most important canals within Berlin run roughly east to west between the rivers Spree and Havel. The canal system to the north of the Spree begins with the Berlin-Spandau Ship Canal, which runs from the Spree near the Hauptbahnhof to the River Havel above Spandau. The Westhafen Canal and the Charlottenburg Canal, both near Charlottenburg, provide further connections between the Berlin-Spandau Ship Canal and the River Spree. The main canal to the south of the Spree is the Teltow Canal, which runs from the Dahme south of Köpenick through the southern part of Berlin to an arm of the Havel just east of Potsdam. A shorter canal, the Landwehr Canal, parallels the Spree through the centre of Berlin. It begins at the Spree between Treptow and Kreuzberg and rejoins the Spree in Charlottenburg. The Neukölln Ship Canal connects the Landwehr Canal with the Teltow Canal; while the Britz Canal connects the Teltow Canal with the Spree at Baumschulenweg. Whilst not within Berlin, the existence of the city and its partition led to the construction of the Havel Canal in 1951-2. This canal provides an alternative route between Hennigsdorf and Paretz, both then in East Germany, and avoids the stretch of the River Havel that was under the political control of West Berlin.