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Location of the Maasvlakte (green) in the municipality of Rotterdam (purple)
Aerial view of the Maasvlakte
Artist impression of the Maasvlakte 2

The Maasvlakte (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈmaːs.ˌflɑk.tə]) is part of Europoort, a harbour and industrial area near the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.


It was created in the 1960s by reclaiming land from the North Sea through dykes and sand suppletion. The sand for the suppletion was largely taken from the North Sea and the Lake of Oostvoorne. This lake was created by the construction of the Maasvlakte. Fossils were (and can still be) found in the sand.

Before the completion of the Maasvlakte it was a sandbank which was hazardous to shipping.

In September 2008 work has started on the "Second Maasvlakte" or Maasvlakte 2: the existing area is being expanded and in 2013 the new harbours in the Maasvlakte 2 will be opened for commercial use. By spraying sand in the North Sea the port of Rotterdam will be extended by some 2.000 hectares[1]


Aerial view of north-western part of Maasvlakte at night with large container terminals area

Bulk Handling[edit]

In 1973 EMO[2] started as first company at Maasvlakte, they are the biggest bulk terminal in western Europe located at the Mississippi-haven. In 1989 Frans Swarttouw start building a deepwaterterminal at the Amazonehaven in 1990 it was sold to EMO.

The deepwater access to Rotterdam allows the world's largest ore carriers to visit Rotterdam.[3]

Container terminals[edit]

The Maasvlakte features various big companies and some smaller ones. Maersk, Europe Container Terminals (ECT) [a member of the Hutchison Port Holdings group (HPH)] and Euromax are three big container terminals located here. They can all accommodate the world's largest ships.

On the new Maasvlakte new container terminals will be built. Danish shipping group Maersk has an existing terminal on the old Maasvlakte and will build a new terminal on the Second Maasvlakte. With this new terminal Maersk will invest approximately 100 million euro[4]

Distribution centers[edit]

A special section has been reserved for big distribution centres, the Rotterdam Distribution Centre. The biggest are Reebok, DHL and Kloosterboer.[5] The Reebok Distribution Centre takes care of the distribution of shoes and apparel for all of Europe. Kloosterboer stores mostly fries from the nearby Farm Frites company.


On one side of the Maasvlakte is the Slufter.[6] Inside the Slufter, a very deep pit shielded from the surrounding areas, toxic waste and polluted sand is stored. When it is filled it will be covered and left there. It was expected to be fully filled around the year 2025, but by now it is only about 50% filled.

The area was used for recreation use like kitesurfing and the Slufterbeach nearby was also used as nude beach but since 2010 the road that ran around the Slufter has been closed for all (public) traffic[7]

Power plant[edit]

A power plant located in the area is run by the E.ON company. It is a coal-fired powerplant generating 1040 MWatt. This Maasvlakte powerplant dates from 1988 but there are plans for a new plant on the same location.[8]


There are direct train lines with entire Europe, mostly Germany.[9] Also the rivers Rhine and Maas enter the sea next to it. This creates good connections using smaller river ships. The highway A15 which runs right into Germany ends on the Maasvlakte as well. The Maasvlakte is also the starting point of the Betuweroute freight railway to Germany.

Maasvlakte 2[edit]

Construction of the Maasvlakte 2 in 2009

An extension, Maasvlakte 2, was begun in 2010. Maasvlakte 2 will cover 1000 hectares net of industrial sites, located directly on deep water. This new part of the Maasvlakte will open in 2013.[10] To accommodate larger container ships the Maasgeul, which is the channel in the North Sea providing deep-water access to the Rotterdam area, is widened to over 800 meters.[11]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Maasvlakte2 project-website Construction, visited: 24 April 2012
  2. ^ EMO B.V.
  3. ^ YouTube video MV Vale Rio de Janeiro arrives in Rotterdam, watched: 14 April 2012
  4. ^ Imtech press-release via Reuters: Imtech technology partner for container terminal on 2nd Maasvlakte, 23 April 2012
  5. ^ Kloosterboer Rotterdam B.V.
  6. ^ Slufter (Maasvlakte) (Dutch edition of wikipedia)
  7. ^ Website Maasvlakte 2 project: Slufterstrand Maasvlakte afgesloten, 27 April 2010. Visited: 24 April 2012
  8. ^ EON Website on Maasvlakte powerstation, visited: 24 April 2012
  9. ^ Hook of Holland (Railway stations) (wikipedia)
  10. ^ Captein, Melvin (24 June 2012). "Tweede Maasvlakte eind 2013 in bedrijf". BNR Newsradio. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  11. ^ Dredging Today: Dutch ministry expands Maasgeul, 18 February 2012. Visited: 24 April 2012

Coordinates: 51°57′09″N 4°02′47″E / 51.95250°N 4.04639°E / 51.95250; 4.04639