Outport of Rotterdam

During the 18th century, as a result of an economic recession, there was a considerable decline in economic activity. Practically no investments were made in the fleet and the navy port became quiet. Changes came about with the opening of the Droogdok (dry dock) in 1806 and the expansions to the quay during the 19th century.

schepen oud

Once more, Hellevoetsluis became a centre of ship building and ship maintenance. The economy was given an extra impetus by the building of the Kanaal door Voorne (Canal through Voorne, 1827-1829). Hellevoetsluis became an outport of Rotterdam, and each year many thousands of ships sailed along the Kanaal door Voorne to Rotterdam. The abundance of employment opportunities attracted many new inhabitants. Nowadays, it is hard to imagine that around 1900, more than 4000 people were living within the fortification, crammed together in numerous small rooms. It was a period when the town grew and flourished tremendously, with the shipping industry providing prosperity. Unfortunately, the sea ships became too large for the Kanaal door Voorne; and at the end of the 19th century (1872), the Nieuwe Waterweg (New Waterway) became the new sea connection with Rotterdam. The navy disappeared from Hellevoetsluis and the largest employer, the Naval Dockyard, ceased operations in 1934. This meant that a large number of inhabitants of Hellevoetsluis were forced to move. In addition, in 1944 a large part of Hellevoetsluis was demolished by the German occupation, so that the town appeared to be in a complete decline. No one could have imagined then how, years later, Hellevoetsluis would rise up again as a modern and lively town on the Haringvliet.