Rozenburg is a town and former municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The municipality had a population of 13,173 in 2004, and covers an area of 6.50 km² (of which 1.99 km² water). It was the second-smallest municipality in the Netherlands in area (behind Bennebroek), but in 2008 the local council decided to disband the municipality and to form a submunicipality of Rotterdam.
The town is located on the former island by the same name: Rozenburg Island. Its current form was created out of three separate parts: Rozenburg proper (a former sand bar between Het Scheur and Brielse Maas – part of the Nieuwe Maas river – both branches of the Rhine-Meuse delta), the sand bar Welplaat, and the southernmost part of the Hook of Holland (which was cut off from mainland Holland by the construction of the Nieuwe Waterweg ship canal in 1870 and subsequently was connected to Rozenburg when the remainder of Het Scheur was dammed off). The island is now connected to Voorne-Putten by a sea barrier and a dam.
(In other words, as with much of the Netherlands, the Dutch pretty much shaped this part of the world into exactly what they needed.)
After the second World War, the port of Rozenburg grew almost explosively along the Nieuwe Maas river towards the sea. To handle the burgeoning sea traffic, a canal was built in the late 1960s running parallel to the already present Nieuwe Waterweg canal.
The Caland canal – named after a Dutch civil engineer who was responsible for building of the Nieuwe Waterweg – served as an access for deep draft vessels, in particular bulk carriers and tankers of increasing dimensions that called at the Europoort docks. The narrow waterway, however, became increasingly difficult to navigate in strong winds, particularly around the Calandbrug bridge, as the ships became larger.
In the mid-1980s architect Martin Strujis and artist Frans de Wit were called upon for the task of creating an effective yet aesthetically pleasing wind barrier. The Rozenburg Windwall was the result of their effort.
The 1,600 meter long “wind wall”, which could be mistaken for a modern art installation is made of 125 individual concrete slabs shaped and grounded in a particular pattern, along a length of 1.75 km that reduces the wind onslaught by 75%. In the southern part of the Canal, the slabs are shaped in the form of semi-circles – 18 meters wide and 25 meters tall.
As one progresses towards the Bridge of Calandbrug however, the semi-circle circumference of the wind wall is substantially reduced and each wall is also spaced more closely to each other. Around the bridge, the walls are only 4 meters wide. At its Northern end, the semi-circular slabs are replaced with square slabs 10 meters wide, which placed on top of a 15 meter embankment, attain the same 25m height as the other sections.
The barrier continues in this form until it ends in a stand of trees near a gas storage facility.