Maasvlakte II: from vision to reality (1993-2008)

MA Dirk Koppenol, supervisor: Prof. dr. Hein Klemann and Dr. Ben Wubs

In 2004, after decades of decision-making, Maasvlakte II, a land reclamation project to expand the largest port in Europe, Rotterdam, was accepted by the Dutch national government. This 3 billion euro port expansion was often seen as an inevitable expansion, because the port needed more space for the establishment of port related companies and industries in order to stay competitive. The inevitability of the construction of Maasvlake II seems plausible, pertaining to the growth of world trade. However, in this thesis it will be argued that this view oversimplifies the forces that competed in the decision-making process of Maasvlakte II. Moreover, it would not explain the more than seventeen years of the decision-making process.

The expansion next to Maasvlakte I
Different discussions arose during the decision-making process. It was not only questioned if the expansion was useful or necessary, but it was also questioned if an expansion next to Maasvlakte I would be the best option. Not only, nature and environmental pressure groups resisted the expansion, but also different national governmental departments. That is why the main question is why Maasvlakte II was eventually accepted by the national government and these pressure groups. 

The construction of a megaproject
In order to put things into perspective, comparisons will be made throughout the thesis with, firstly, the direct competitors Antwerp and Hamburg, that also realized several expansion projects of their port during the 1990s and 2000s. Secondly, with earlier port expansions, such as the Botlek, Europoort and Maasvlakte harbours (1950s-1970s). Finally, other megaprojects that developed parallel to Maaslvlakte II, such as the Betuwe Route, which is a dedicated freight train track between the Port of Rotterdam and its hinterland Germany. 

Aims of the research project
All in all, the thesis will show which factors made and make the construction of a megaproject such as Maasvlakte II possible and which trends can be distinguished. 

The research is done by PhD-student Dirk Koppenol MA. The project is supervised by Prof. dr. Hein A. M. Klemann and dr. Ben Wubs.

Project output