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123Rotterdam – Explore the Harbour | 123Rotterdam – Rotterdam Sightseeing Guide


Explore the Harbour

Explore the Harbour

Yearly, around 500 million tons of cargo are handled in Rotterdam's harbour. This includes 4,5 million containers and 3 million tons of coal. These figures make that Rotterdam has Europe's largest port.

The harbour of Rotterdam covers a large area. It stretches out all the way from the city and all the way to the North Sea.

There is a lot to see in the harbour. With a car or bicycle, you can discover the harbour by yourselves. Alternatively, there are several tour operators that organise boat tours and other kinds of activities in the Rotterdam harbour.

Tweede Maasvlakte

The Rotterdam harbour keeps on growing, just like the size of the ships. To make more space, The Netherlands has been expanded with the construction of ‘Tweede Maasvlakte’.

Tweede Maasvlakte covers a 20 square kilometre industrial area, plus the excellent Maasvlakte Beach. Here, multiple modern, full-automatic container terminals handle the worlds largest container ships. These vessels have space for up to ca. 24,000 standard-size containers.


About half of The Netherlands is situated below sea level. To protect the most vulnerable regions from flooding, the Dutch built ‘The Delta Works’. This a network of dams, dykes, and storm-surge barriers in the south-west of The Netherlands.

West of Rotterdam, between Maassluis and Hook of Holland, you can find ‘De Maeslantkering’. This storm-surge barrier protects Rotterdam from flooding and is one of the largest moving structures in the world.

The ‘Maeslantkering’ is only closed during big storms. When the water level rises too much, a computer system automatically shuts the barrier. Cities behind the barrier will be protected, but the harbour won't be accessible during the closure.

Hook of Holland

In Hook of Holland, you can take a walk over the promenade by the water. At the end of the promenade, is where the river ‘De Nieuwe Maas’ flows into the North Sea. This is a perfect place to watch the ships that enter or leave the harbour. From the dunes, you will have an even better view of the water and Hook of Holland Beach.

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