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The secret of Waterstad
From village on the river to world port

The Maritime District has a rich history, unfortunately little of it is still visible today, with the exception of a number of historic buildings such as a number of beautiful bridges, Het Witte Huis and the Dutch Bank building. In recent years, however, a lot of hard work has been done to bring the rich history of the Maritime District back into the spotlight. The so-called Water City Society, a group of enthusiastic local residents, is particularly committed to this. In the coming years, we hope to get more visual history in the neighborhood.

The area, now called the Maritime District, has almost the same map as the original Water City. During the Twelve Years' Truce (1609-1621) in the Eighty
War with Spain (1568-1648), Waterstad was built. With this enormous urban expansion, medieval Rotterdam became twice as big. Waterstad disappeared from the map due to the German bombardment of 14 May 1940 and the reorganization of the center.

Since then, virtually nothing refers to the 'Rotterdam canal belt' - the harbors, the buildings, the lively activity, the (international) population between Blaak and Maas, Leuvehaven and Oude Haven - where Rotterdam started as a transit port four centuries ago.

Many residents and visitors can therefore not imagine the former Water City. There are hardly any starting points to stimulate the imagination.
The statue of Zadkine on Plein 1940 is a reminder of destruction and emptiness. Only the ports
and bridges are still left. Except for a few restored buildings on the Wijnhaven, all buildings have been replaced and the infrastructure has changed here and there. And that still continues.
Waterstad is again undergoing a transformation.

Click here to read more about the Waterstad society or here for more information about the recently published book “Vier Eeuwen Waterstad” about the history of the Maritime District.

From September 11 to November 1 there are various activities related to the history of the Maritime District, check these here.