One of life's simpler pleasures is watching the world go by and there's something especially enjoyable about watching the industriousness of a busy commercial harbour. The Hoek is a relatively minor port with only three or four ferries a day but it overlooks the main port of Rotterdam, Europe's largest seaport.
An ideal place to sit and watch the activity is at the pilot's dock, just up from the ferry terminal. This is where the small pilot boats for the main port are based and so you get their constant comings and goings against the backdrop of the big ships - the small boats adding a sense of scale.
The pilot's dock is also where the RET fast ferry to Rotterdam's port leaves from and that looks like an interesting little trip too.
I'm not much of a morning person myself and my usual routine when arriving on the overnight ferry to the Hoek is to stay in bed until the last announcement for foot passengers to assemble. A quick splash, get dressed and I'm ready to disembark.
Once in the terminal I grab a coffee from the machine which I take out to the train station platform. This gives me time for a couple of chain-smoked cigarettes before the Rotterdam train arrives.
I've done this trip a dozen or more times in recent years but I'd never even noticed this little cabin, which during the day is the local fish shop, at the end of the platform which as turns out has been definitely remiss of me.
Instead of the draughty, soulless platform with the plasticky machine coffee this little place is cheery, with a decent cup of coffee and very reasonably-priced. OK you can't smoke inside but the sheltered outside tables are far more comfortable than standing the "Rookzone" and so much so that next time I'll be quite happy to miss a train.
The Rock Art museum is a museum devoted to the Dutch Beat and Rock era.
The basis of the collection is an amazing guitar display; also other early musical instruments used by famous Dutch artists, like herman Brood, Alquin and older guitar groups are on display.
Recently the original Soundpush Studio custom build mixer was acquired. This console stood at the birth of classic world hits, like Shocking Blue's "Venus". It's a one-of-a-kind Sony mixer.
The museum now also houses the original studio of off-shore radio station Radio Veronica and two of their Hilversum studio's
Rock Art has thematic collection on display each new season.
In the museum shop many interesting items can be bought (even good old vinyl records).
The museum will welcome you as a sponsor.
Plans are in progress to move the museum.
Entrance fee: € 5,00
School holidays We: 1PM - 7PM
Th-Sa: 1PM - 7PM
1st Su of the month: 1PM - 7PM
The Keringhuis, Public Water Management Information Centre is the Public Water Management Information Centre about flood risk management in the Province of Zuid-Holland and the impressive Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier. Since the opening of the information centre in 1996 over 1.2 million visitors discovered the ins and outs of Dutch water management. The exposition has had a complete make-over in 2010.
The Keringhuis shows how the Dutch still manage to keep their feet dry in the water-rich Province of Zuid-Holland.
I was there in December of 1996 when the Maaslantkering was under construction, but I saw a working model of it which helped to realise how it would look like in reality.
monday - friday
10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
saturday, sunday and public holidays
11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
closed on 1 jan., 25 dec. en 31 dec.
You can visit the famous Maeslantkering, which is part of the Delta Works.
The Delta Work are a series of dykes and constructions that protect the Netherlands from the sea in case of storm.
This enormous construction automatically closes when the water-level is dangerously high.
You can visit the museum next to the Maeslantkering, called Keringhuis, for FREE.
We did a 1 hour guided tour as well for 4 euro, during which not only the museum was explained, but you also get to go next to the construction itself, which is normally not allowed.
Once a year the construction is tested to see if it still closes. This quite spectacular event takes place on a Saturday in September, just before the storm season. The exact date is announced on the website.
The small harbour, Berghaven, is only for the use of the pilot service, government vessels and the Hoek van Holland lifeboat.
The ferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland is operated by Stena Line. There has been a ferry service operating since 1893 with only the two World Wars interrupting the service.
The Fast Ferry (RET) connects Hoek van Holland with the Maasvlakte, which is a large industrial area constructed in the North Sea. It navigates the shipping lane from Rotterdam harbour and offers a fast connection across the Nieuwe Waterweg canal.
VIDEO of my visit:
Maybe this chair looks like an ordinary one, but it is a giant chair. You can find this chair as a peace of art along the Nieuwe Waterweg (New Water-way) when going for a beach walk. I haven't found yet the name of the artist, so in future time I will submit the name, ok?
It's a pity that the giant chair got damaged after s bad weather storm ... so you could miss the giant chair, when not replaced. If so, try to have a seat,... good luck, you !
In 1893 construction of the Hoek van Holland lighthouse was completed. In combination with the outer "Low Light" it formed a light beam indicating the entrance to the Nieuwe Waterweg, the sea canal to the port of Rotterdam.
In 1960 the optics were replaced, but in 1974 (after completion of the Maasvlakte) the lighthouse was decommissioned.
In 1982 the building got the status of a monument and the museum for the Dutch coastal navigation lights (kustverlichtingsmuseum) was opened.
May - September: Sa-Su: 1PM-4PM
Whenever you visit Hoek van Holland take some time to see the Maeslant Kering, Storm Surge Barrier or Maeslant Barrier. This is a part of the huge and famous Dutch Delta Works and is located close to Hoek van Holland and Maassluis.
The project was opened by the Dutch Queen Beatrix in Mei 10th, 1997.
When there is a storm surge the barriere of the Maeslant Kering will be closed by its doors which will take 4 to 5 hours. This will stop the ocean flooding the low lands of the Netherlands.
The project in its construction is the largest of the world and is specially designed to withstand extremely stormy weather.
Let us hope whenever there is a huge storm this wonderfully constructed barrier will do its "job". And it did! Wednesday November 14th. 2007 the Maeslant Barrier was closed because of high sea-water of the North Sea. It worked out and Sunday morning the Maeslant Barrier opened again, although the North Sea had not been that bad!!!
You see here both sides of the Maeslant Barrier, and the photograph has been taken from the left-side of the Maeslant Barrier, Noordzeeweg.
When you would like to visit the famous Maeslant Barrier it would be worth a while to visit the left-side of the construction.
It is located on a narrow piece of land in the New Waterway, which you can reach by Ferry-boat at Maassluis ...
On this narrow piece of land you will see the modern today windmills blowing in the wind.
At the end of the Noordzeeweg you may enjoy the Most Beautiful View of Hoek van Holland.
Hoek van Holland is a very small harbour city (about 10.000 inhabitants) with a friendly little center.
You can do your shopping here, have a nice drink on a terrace, buy some postcards,
... or take a little walk around ...
See the cute trees with artistic forms and enjoy your stay.
Nope, no high-rise flats or multi-storey buildings here!
Sounds funny though Hoek van Holland is famous for the Nieuwe Waterweg (New Water-way). That is the water-way going outside from the Netherlands. And the only way is over the New Waterway, so you can watch here the cruise- as well as the industry-ships, the huge tank-steamers.
So a lot of Dutch' come here to enjoy the sea-way view included going for a nice beach-walk. Ofcourse during summertime the place is swarmed with crowded Dutchies, though when you got the opportunity visit the beach area during any season ... like in autumn when colours overwhelm you in utmost beautiful reds and browns ...
This is the Keringhuis, or the information center of the Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier. And is situated next to the huge project.
You can visit this Keringhuis for free. The exhibition there is free, too, and for all ages. Do not worry the constructions will be too technical, all is explained in a very clear way.
Info: Keringhuis, Water Information Centre
Nieuw Oranjekanaal 139
3151 XL HOEK VAN HOLLAND
telephone: 0031 (0)174 – 511222
fax: 0031 (0)174 – 540324
Monday-Friday - 10.00 to 16.00 hrs
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays - 11.00 to 17.00 hrs
Closed on 25 December, 31 december and 1 January.
A20 - > Hoek van Holland. After Maassluis, take exit Hoek van Holland. Follow the N220 to Hoek van Holland, take exit on the left to the Maeslantkering. Follow the signs of "Maeslantkering".
From The Hague:
Follow the signs for Hoek van Holland (passing the Glass houses). At Hoek van Holland - Maassluis (is N220), take the "Maeslantkering" turn. Then follow the signs ‘Maeslantkering’.
When travelling by train you have to go to the Central Station, Rotterdam, to Hoek van Holland. At Hoek van Holland Haven better take a taxi, or hire a cycle you can find in the centre of Hoek van Holland ... it is too far to walk!
If you do not want to leave the Netherlands by ferry, the beach is surely the main reason to come to Hoek van Holland. Looking to the south, you can see big ships passing by as well as some wind energy plants. Looking to the north, the ship traffic you will see is reduced and it looks more like a normal beach. “Normal” includes also the crowds arriving on sunny summer days, especially on weekends. However, I was lucky with the weather as well as with the number of visitors. I was left in peace and had more than enough space for myself. To get to the beach by train, don’t get off at Hoek van Holland’s main train station (Hoek van Holland – Haven), but get off at the final destination “Hoek van Holland – Strand”. From there, just follow the signs to the beach. For further information about the train service, please read also my tip “By train to Hoek van Holland”.
When you walk long the pier you can watch the big ships coming in for Rotterdam port and if you are lucky you can look at the pier when being on a ferry going to Harwich (England) ;-)
Stena provides a ferry service between Hoek van Holland and Harwich with normal ferries or Seacat.