A tale of two cities: Maasvlakte

‘De zeer oude zingt’

(The very old sings), Lucebert

Heading away from the centre of Rotterdam begins a journey into a place whose scale and artificiality are difficult to convey. Maasvlakte is part of Europoort, a major harbour and Industrial area. Created in the sixties, it has become a continuously increasing stretch of reclaimed land pulled from the North sea floor. Travelling through as a visitor, is a dehumanising experience, where automated cranes and trains sort and distribute material from the worlds largest carrier ships for the worlds biggest companies. At the end of the land sits an isolated and pristine beach alongside a Nature Reserve where it is possible to forget this strange vision of the future. The Maasvlakte glows out into the night sky all metal and crystalline light , part Blade Runner, part set from Blakes 7.

On one side of the Maasvlakte is the magnificently named Slufter which sounds like some giant mythical land beast. Into the yawning black mouth of the Slufter (a deep pit) is poured the toxic waste and polluted sand extracted from the Industry operating on the site.

It is a place with a short history, but one that makes you realise how far into the future we have stretched and how little space there is left to undermine. Whilst the toxic sludge hums out from the ground nearby, the sky glows yellow and orange with light pollution: an Industrial aurora that fills you with anxiety.

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