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The harbour is made up out of four parts (from east to west); Oude Houthaven (Old Lumber Port), Houthaven, Nieuwe Houthaven (New Lumber Port) and Minervahaven (Minerva Port). This is why the Houthaven is also referred to as the Houthavens (which is the plural).
The Houthaven was dug out in 1876, together with the North Sea Canal. It was the first port in Amsterdam to be dug out (the earlier ones using existing waters). Its purpose was to tranship and store lumber. As lumber was increasingly transported by road, parts of the port were filled up with sand to be used for other purposes in 1945. The Minervahaven remained in use for lumber transhipment and wood processing industry was located there but port-related activities decreased strongly over time. The area is currently being redeveloped.