The settlement Rotta was founded around 800 CE. The early dwellers lived on reclaimed wetland close to the river “Rotte” (which means “muddy water”) and the Meuse river. Neighboring settlements such as Hillegonda and Ouwerschie also arose in this period. These settlements relied on higher ground in an environment where the river had free rein.
Schieland Water Board
After the establishment of the Schieland Water Board in 1237, waterworks were constructed to control the flow of the Meuse river. The Schielands Hoge Zeedijk, for instance, which extends from the Schie near the city of Schiedam to the Gouwe near the city of Gouda and protected a vast area of land ever since.
The rural surroundings of the city also slowly transformed. Large scale peat extraction between Rotterdam and Gouda created fifteen lakes, some up to four meters deep. One of these lakes is located in the northern suburb of Kralingen and currently known as the Kralingse Plas.
A triangle-shaped city
Between 1574 and 1611 an area between the Meuse river and the Schielandse Hoge Zeedijk was added to Rotterdam, which created a triangle-shaped city. Several harbors were dug, such as the Haringvliet, Wijnhaven and Scheepmakershaven.
First steam-powered pumping station
Rotterdam had a world first in 1787! With the arrival of a steam-powered pumping station (after the design of James Watt) Rotterdam took a giant leap in water management. The pumping station was located on the site of the current Blijdorp subway station (incidentally, the pumping station was already dismantled in 1791 because maintenance was considered too expensive). Due to the rapid growth of Rotterdam, the urban districts in Rotterdam Noord were constructed at an accelerated pace.
Rotterdam is expanding
Over the course of the 19th century, the population of Rotterdam skyrocketed. By 1880, 160.000 people called the city their home. The steep increase in population resulted in new water-related challenges. Due to poor drainage and contaminated water, cholera became rampant. The first epidemic took place in 1832, followed by outbreaks in 1843, 1853 and 1886.
Rotterdamse Schie EN
When it turned out that the river Schie was silting up, the decision was made to relocate its’ estuary. In order to do so, the construction of the Coolhaven and the locks commenced in 1923.
Maeslantkering (Maeslant barrier)
Construction of the Maeslantkering (“Maeslant barrier”) is concluded. After its construction, the Delta Works, which encompass 5 storm surge barriers, 2 locks and 6 dams, were declared finished.
IABR The Flood: the water challenge as an instrument of an integrated approach to sustainable urban development.
Water plan 2
Water plan 2: the municipality of Rotterdam and the three water boards of the city describe how they want to deal with the water in and around Rotterdam.
Rowing course Prins-Alexander
Rotterdam has recently realized various projects that are a result of the exploration of these ideas: the floating pavilion (2010) and the Prins-Alexander rowing course (2012) that serves as storage for up to 1,000,000 m3 of water from the river Rotte. In addition, rainfall retention on roofs of houses and office buildings is being advanced as we speak.
Rotterdams Weerwoord is born! Because making the city more climate adaptive requires a common approach. Where in the past solutions were mainly sought in the public domain, ‘Rotterdam’s Weerword’ is committed to join forces with other, private actors. Making Rotterdam more climate adaptive a challenge that we must overcome together in the years to come.