Misery on Park Quay: the Horrible Fence

Park Quay, or in Dutch: de Parkkade, is one of my favorite places in Rotterdam. It is a so-called waiting location, a place where seagoing vessels wait for a berth, undergo inspections, or change crew. But recently, this beautiful quay has been marred by a fence. How did it come to this?

Ship and ugly fence on Park Quay in Rotterdam
Ugly fence on Park Quay


Park Quay is one of the few places in Rotterdam where the city and the port come close together. Of course, the historic ships in Leuvehaven near the Maritime Museum also create a nice nautical atmosphere. And with the boat tours by Spido or Futureland, you can also experience the harbor. But the beauty of Park Quay is that there are often quite large seagoing vessels that you could literally touch.

Ugly fence on Park Quay in Rotterdam takes away the view to the river Nieuwe Maas

Downright ugly

Indeed, you could touch those boats. Because since the end of October, there’s a fence on Park Quay, about five meters from the water’s edge. A downright ugly fence, if I may say so. The fence builder has proudly placed their name on each segment, as is customary in the fencing world. A red container completes the unsightliness.

Park Quay in Rotterdam with moored vessels and a view of the river and the Southbank highrise
Park Quay in better times


An explanation of this monstrosity can be found on the website of the Port Authority. It turns out to be related to overzealous officials and excessive regulations. The European Commission has complained about the situation on Park Quay, referring to something even more international, the ISPS Code (International Ship and Port Facility Security Code). It is unclear why this has suddenly become such a problem. Ships have been at Park Quay for a hundred years, and the ISPS dates back to 2004.

Large vessels moored at Park Quay in Rotterdam, next to the pedestrian and cyclists entrance to Maas tunnel
The port and the city


It’s a shame, really. It feels like the end of an era. Park Quay was always a photogenic place, with the beautiful Park on one side and a view of the Wilhelminapier and Katendrecht on the other. And in between, those seagoing vessels. I’ve taken many beautiful pictures there.

Large seagoing vessel, moored at Park Quay in Rotterdam, with Erasmus bridge and the Southbank in the background
In need of major maintenance…


Sometimes, there are also ships in need of major maintenance. All the better: it often resulted in beautiful compositions of rust, scratches, peeling paint, and other works of the ravages of time. Add a draft mark or a bow thruster symbol, and you have a true work of art. I now have an extensive collection of corrosion art, largely shot at Park Quay.

Rusty ship's hull in colors red, white and blue, with a draught mark and a bulb stern symbol
Draft mark and bulbous bow symbol


According to the Port Authority’s website, the measure is temporary. A permanent solution must be in place by March 1, 2024, at the latest. Hopefully, that solution involves coming to one’s senses, realizing that such a fence is overkill, and that a few cameras can also effectively monitor the area. But I fear the worst.

Park Quay, the river Nieuwe Maas and Wilhelmina Pier in Rotterdam during the twilight on a rainy morning
The blue hour

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