ROTTERDAM – After a lot of fuss, ambiguity and even a bit of chaos, from today, Rotterdam can finally call itself the largest port in the world. It overtook New York harbor.

For the term "largest port in the world’ several definitions are possible: it concerns the quantity of goods handled, the surface of the port area or the number of ships visiting the port.

This afternoon, when the 25,000th ship of this year would arrive (unique), it was for mayor Van Walsum of Rotterdam to shake off any hesitation: Rotterdam is the largest.

Slowest race of all time

It was the first time in the history of the port of Rotterdam that the border of 25.000 ships was broken up.

At the same time, the record also caused some notable problems. At the end of the afternoon, when the magic number gets closer- and came closer, ships were waiting offshore, just to qualify for the title.

“Only three more came between three and four o'clock, between four and five only two. Two more were needed then and the last would be the 25,000th. Striking coincidence at that time: the pilot boat announced, he had only one pilot available and that the other ship, the 25,000th had to wait for a pilot of the new road being team. "

(Het Vrije Volk, 19-12-1962)

A British freighter was tired of waiting, and then enter the port. one of 17:40.21 hour Swedish ore olietaker Tosterö passed the 25,000th ship that year, the official reporting station in Hoek van Holland.

Mayor Van Walsum Rotterdam may further stated that for years was a lot bigger than New York, if you look at it in a certain way. New York also charged with the handling of New Jersey, while the figures Rotterdam Schiedam, Vlaardingen and Dordrecht left aside.

So the transshipment was in 1961 in New York only 91 million tons, where in Rotterdam 129 million tons were handled.

This article continues below this advertisement


This afternoon congratulations and congratulations arrived from all over the country at the Rotterdam city hall. The Amsterdam mayor Van Hall was even one of the first to send a congratulatory telegram.

There has also been a response from other port cities. Antwerp said it was happy, with the success of Rotterdam. “We have always had a friendly relationship. When one friend is doing well, the other friend can only applaud that?”, the alderman of Port Affairs in Antwerp said.

The city council in Hamburg, another major competitor, was less charmed. Het Vrije Volk: “After long insistence, you get an official at Hamburg's town hall, he says he is very close to the first mayor and the only answer is: “Nah, and?”

Hoe ging het verder?

The construction of the Maasvlakte allowed the port of Rotterdam to continue to grow. There were still some plans to turn the Hoeksche Waard into a port area as well, but that fell through.

Up to and including 2004 Rotterdam can itself be "the largest in the world’ to mention. That role was then taken over by Shanghai. Rotterdam has now dropped to place eleven.

One day after the arrival of the Töstero in the port of Rotterdam, Captain Stig Ehrlander was put in the limelight by the city council. his reaction: 'I'm happy, but I am now busy. Beautiful harbor incidentally '.