From Saturday 30 June, the Port of Rotterdam Authority will be running boat trips in the new harbours of Maasvlakte 2, the port of Rotterdam’s land reclamation project.
The salon boat Navigathor will become the FutureLand Ferry and take visitors from FutureLand, the Maasvlakte 2 information centre, around the inland lake that was created during construction work on the port expansion. The FutureLand Ferry will remain ‘trapped’ on the lake until the spring of 2013, operating on days when FutureLand is open. During the boat trip, expert FutureLand guides will tell the story of Maasvlakte 2.
Two weeks before the opening in the seawall of Maasvlakte 2 is finally closed on 11 July, the saloon boat Navigathor sailed into the new port under construction. The vessel will remain there until the spring of 2013. Then, the Yangtzehaven will be cut through and the lake becomes a harbour basin.
The saloon boat Navigathor is an historic IJ ferry boat, built in 1913. Originally a steel passenger steam boat, it sailed for years on the river IJ in Amsterdam under the name IJ-VEER. In 1942, the boat was sunk, after which it was raised again. After the war, it resumed its old duties as an IJ ferry. In 1953, the boat was used during the Flood Disaster. After serving briefly as a starting boat for a water sports club in Enkhuizen, the vessel ended up in Antwerp, where it was used by a zoo for boat trips. In 1996, the Thor shipping company purchased the vessel and brought it to the Netherlands for renovation and use. It has sailed the waters of Rotterdam since 1998. Between 30 June and the spring of 2013, the Navigathor will be renamed FutureLand Ferry to provide boat trips through the new port under construction.
Prices and reservations
The FutureLand Ferry can accommodate 40 persons inside and up to 75 persons in total. The trip lasts about an hour and costs €8.50 for individual visitors. Light snacks are available from the ship’s bar. The FutureLand Ferry sails on days when FutureLand is open to the public and you can embark right in front of the entrance to the information centre. Besides the regular sailings, the Ferry can also be used for exclusive group tours, with or without catering. Visit www.futureland.nl for sailing times and reservations.
FutureLand, the information centre for Maasvlakte 2, opened in May 2009 and has welcomed more than 360,000 visitors since then. FutureLand has a very hands-on approach. In an area of 1,800 square metres, both young and old can find out about the expansion of Rotterdam’s port and everything involved in this massive project. Two years ago, the Port Authority started to organise tours of the new land on Maasvlakte 2 with the FutureLand Express. Now that construction work has progressed further and an inland lake has been created, a boat trip on the FutureLand Ferry is an added option. This means that visitors can also see Maasvlakte 2 from the other side and experience for themselves what it’s like to sail through the port of the future.
Dredging Today Staff, June 28, 2012; Image:Maasvlakte 2