On my bike ride into Rotterdam city center to meet some friends I stopped off at Delfshaven (map) for a quick shoot. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve been here, but had never taken any pictures. Which is partly to blame on the fact that this is less than a 10min bike ride from where I grew up.
Delfshaven (“Port of Delft“) was a harbor built in 1389 some 10km away from the town Delft as to surpass the high tax that merchants had to pay for mooring in the city of Rotterdam. In 1886, Delfshaven became part of the city of Rotterdam, and was extremely lucky to have been left intact after the mass bombings (1150 x 50kg & 158 x 250kg) that levelled the entire city center of Rotterdam on May 14, 1940. The Dutch surrendered to the Nazi forces shortly after only to endure 128 more known air raids by Allied forces, the second largest of which carried out by the US Air Force on March 31, 1943. It is fair to say that Rotterdam was completely demolished by the fighting of World War II (more info here). My great-grandfather, a captain himself, was moored in Rotterdam during one of these bombings, and was forced to flee back to our family in Antwerp, some 120km to the south, partly by bike, but mostly on foot.