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 started on the "Second Maasvlakte" or Maasvlakte 2: the existing area is being expanded with the intention of opening the new harbours in the Maasvlakte 2 for commercial use in 2013. By spraying sand in the North Sea the project extends the port of Rotterdam by some 2,000 hectares
In 1973 EMO started as the first company at Maasvlakte. They are the biggest bulk terminal in western Europe and are located at the Mississippi Haven. In 1989 Frans Swarttouw started building a deep water terminal at the Amazon Haven which, in 1990, was sold to EMO.
The Maasvlakte features various big companies and some smaller ones. Maersk, Europe Container Terminals (ECT), which is a member of the Hutchison Port Holdings group, 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 original Maasvlakte and will build a new terminal on the second Maasvlakte. With this new terminal Maersk will invest approximately €100 million.
A special section has been reserved for large distribution centres: the Rotterdam Distribution Centre. The biggest are Reebok, DHL and Kloosterboer. The Reebok Distribution Centre takes care of the distribution of shoes and apparel for all of Europe. Kloosterboer stores mostly chips from the nearby Farm Frites company.
On one side of the Maasvlakte is the Slufter. Inside the Slufter, a very deep pit shielded from the surrounding area, toxic waste and polluted sand is stored. When it is filled it will be covered and left there. It is expected to be fully filled around the year 2025; so far it is about half-full.
The area was formerly used for recreational activities such as kite surfing, and the Slufterbeach nearby was also used as nude beach. Since 2010 the road that ran around the Slufter has been closed to all (public) traffic.
There are direct rail links to elsewhere in Europe, especially Germany. The rivers Rhine and Maas enter the sea next to it. This creates good connections for rivergoing vessels. The A15 motorway, which runs into Germany, ends on the Maasvlakte.
The Maasvlakte is also the starting point of the Betuweroute freight railway to Germany.
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 opens in 2013. To accommodate larger container ships the Maasgeul, which is the channel in the North Sea providing deep-water access to the Rotterdam area, has to be widened to over 800 metres.
- Maasvlakte2 project-website Construction, visited: 24 April 2012
- EMO B.V.
- YouTube video MV Vale Rio de Janeiro arrives in Rotterdam, watched: 14 April 2012
- Imtech press-release via Reuters: Imtech technology partner for container terminal on 2nd Maasvlakte, 23 April 2012
- Kloosterboer Rotterdam B.V.
- Slufter (Maasvlakte) (Dutch edition of wikipedia)
- Website Maasvlakte 2 project: Slufterstrand Maasvlakte afgesloten, 27 April 2010. Visited: 24 April 2012
- EON Website on Maasvlakte powerstation, visited: 24 April 2012
- Hook of Holland (Railway stations) (wikipedia)
- Captein, Melvin (24 June 2012). "Tweede Maasvlakte eind 2013 in bedrijf". BNR Newsradio. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
- Dredging Today: Dutch ministry expands Maasgeul, 18 February 2012. Visited: 24 April 2012