Monday, November 06, 2017

The Oude Haven: help save our slipway!

You may remember that a few weeks ago I had the Vereeniging on the slipway and I mentioned that it might be closing for good.

The Vereeniging on three of the five cars or trolleys 
Well, we have had a very welcome reprieve! Great news has just been circulated that a foundation has been established for the tijdelijk (temporary or short term) management of the yard and slipway (helling), and that it will continue for at least 18 months. If it goes well, it might end up being a permanent arrangement. I am of course thrilled to hear this, but I can see it puts a certain pressure on the foundation's management to make sure the slipway is continuously occupied and that means they need bookings. An empty helling is not going to keep it going and I frown whenever I see there is nothing sitting there.

So on the basis that every little counts, here's my promotional blurb for our wonderful harbour.

I can personally confirm I've used the yard every two years since I've been in the Oude Haven and I have been forever grateful for the care and cooperation I've been shown as a customer. Naturally, it makes a difference that I live there and I know most of the people involved, but I think I can speak for other non-residents too when I say that help is always at hand and if you need the skills of a good welder, carpenter or even riveter, there is always someone there to step in, even in emergencies.

Each car can carry 20 tonnes
The only restrictions are that 1) those using it have to have a vessel with a hull of at least fifty years old. It is after all a 'historic harbour', so this is the basic criterion. 2) It is also important to have a flat or at least round  bottomed boat rather than one with a deep keel because of the flat 'cars' on which the boats sit, and 3) the length and weight of the barge are limited to 40 metres and 100 tonnes. Each of the cars can carry 20 tons, so that is also a consideration. Apart from these conditions, there is nothing to put you off. The rates are very reasonable, and you can do all or most of the work yourself to keep costs down, depending on your skills. However, if you prefer to have others do everything, that is also your choice and there are no staff employed that you are obliged to use. You can bring in your own. Bookings are normally for a week, but you can ask for two, or more if you wish although since all the work is done while sitting on the slipway, short term bookings are probably preferred. Two smaller boats can, however, share the helling. Lastly, there is a shower and toilet in the yard in the event you cannot use your own (or don't have one!).

Since I'm on a promotional run here, I can also say the Oude Haven is a wonderful location. It is one of the key social centres of Rotterdam and is surrounded by caf├ęs and good restaurants. The centre of the city is a short walk away and supermarkets are close by too. What more could you possibly want at the end of a hard day of being up close and personal with a broad-beamed bottom?

The Oude Haven at night (photo by Koos Fernhout)

Right, here's the other important bit. Who do you contact? Not me, I regret to say. No, there are four guys running the foundation: Nico Hoogstad, Joram Lehmann, Chris van der Meulen and Paulus van der Jagt. You can write to any or all of them at this email address, which is the one for enquiries:- post@koningspoort.nl

 A special view of the Oude Haven

My plea to all barge, tug and other owners of old boats is to give a thought to the Oude Haven if you are in France, Belgium or the Netherlands and are looking for a lift out. The more it is used, the better the prospects are for us all that it will be maintained. Given that it is also one of Rotterdam's foremost visitor attractions, it would be very sad indeed if it were closed and replaced by tower block apartments.

14 comments:

  1. Hi Val - well done ... Oude Haven sounds an ideal location - I do hope it gets saved and opens its berths to many a barge and interesting museums and training facilities for many a year ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks, Hilary! Yes, it is perfect for all boaty purposes :)

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  2. A hearty cheer for the Oude Haven; may she continue indefinitely. Your last photo is a stunner - what a fantastic place to live. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks, Patricia! I am so hoping the new efforts are successful.

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  3. It sounds like a fabulous place, and so worth keeping! I wish them and you - and your fellow boaters - well with it!

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    1. Thank you, Roger. I hope it all works in the long run!

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  4. Well done, Val - do hope all your efforts make the difference!

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  5. Quite scary when boat facilities close, because it can be quite a long way to get to an alternative, and boats don't travel that fast! It does look absolutely perfect. I will be in Rotterdam rather briefly soon, on a boat and staying in Wijnhaven, and so no doubt will be able to find it not far away.

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    1. It is, Jenny! The next place for us is about fifty kilometres away, and not at all handy if you need to go to work too. We’ll keep everything crossed!

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    2. PS. If you are here during the week, let me know! I think I can guess where you are staying, so no, you won’t be far away! I’m not often here at weekends, but it would be lovely to say hello if it’s possible.

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  6. Great news! You are fantastic. Love the endorsement. It would sell me in a heartbeat. Sadly, I only have a barge for spuddling in my dreams. Sigh... (steph)

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