Minecraft Maps / Land Structure

Willemsspoorbrug Rotterdam

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PranayTitanic avatar PranayTitanic
Level 40 : Master Engineer
The Willemsspoorbrug was a railwaybridge over the "Nieuwe Maas" river in Rotterdam. A plan for a for a connection was thought of in 1855 and in 1877 she was ready. Taking the train from Dordrecht Centraal, the train would first cross the Koningshavenbrug (today known as the Hef), then a short dijk, connecting to the Willemsspoorbrug itself, after the bridge came the "luchtspoor" (tracks above the ground). that would continue till the station of Rotterdam.

From the Koningshavenbrug, till the station, there were only 2 tracks (for in- and outgoing trains), this would later be a big bottleneck and one of the reasons for her end.
Fast forward to World War 2, in May 1940, the mass German holiday into the Low Countries (also known as the German invasion of the Netherlands, German paratroopers captured the main bridges over the rivers in the Netherlands, including the Maasbruggen in Rotterdam: the Willemsspoorbrug, the Willemsbrug, the Koningshavenbrug and the Koninginnebrug. After 4 days of fierce fighting between the Dutch Army and Marines against the German invaders, the Germans lost patience, treatend to bomb the city flat, which they then did and with that the Netherlands fell. The damaged bridge was repaired and survived the 5 years of occupation.

With more and more traffic going in and out of Rotterdam, the bridges became a bottleneck for the Nederlandse Spoorwegen and with raising maintenance costs, it was decided to replace the bridge with a tunnel, the Willemsspoortunnel, which was openend in 1993. On her last day, a steamtrain crossed the bridge many times, blowing her whistle while crossing the bridge, marked the end of the now 117 year old icon of the city of Rotterdam. Her 5 bridge parts were one by one lifted and then removed for scrap, her foundations were removed except for 2, one in the water, which supports an artwork, the other being an artwork itself, on the Noordereiland in Rotterdam. Together with the bridge, the luchtspoor was also removed. Today only the Hef remains and is a true icon to the modern city.

A 117 year old bridge, one of the few things that remained of the old city of Rotterdam, gone, with no real attempt made to find her a new use, other than scrap metal. For me, not only a huge mistake but also a waste of history and opportunity.

I wish you all a happy new year and best wishes for 2021!

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