The port of Rotterdam is among the 15 largest ports in the world and where the large container ships enter the North Sea there’s something happening that concerns all surfers in the Netherlands. Just south from where the river Maas debouches into the sea, the Maasvlakte has been created (Plain of the Maas). This piece of land has been initiated in the second half of the previous century and around the turn of the century research showed that more space was needed, which resulted in the creation of additional space: the Maasvlakte 2.
The Maasvlakte is not far off Scheveningen, one of the best surf spots of the Netherlands. The Maasvlakte 2 is considered to be a pretty good surf spot too but it’s currently in danger. Several plans have been made to create as many as 22 wind turbines on and off the shore of the plain. 12 of these would even be placed around the shoreline, which would obviously not be favorable to the surfing conditions, as well as the safety of the surfers – not at all.
Several associations and organizations try to appeal against these plans and one of them is the Holland Surfing Association (HSA). We at Errant Surf spoke to Emile, one of the board members of the HSA and leading the case against the inititators of these plans (among them is one of the nation’s largest energy providers).
In December 2020, 3 board members of the HSA (Emile and two others) have written a formal letter of appeal to the municipality of Rotterdam regarding this matter.
The main argument raised by the HSA focusses on the design of the project (of the construction of the 22 wind turbines), which has only concentrated on the interest of the energy provider. The interest of the surfers, actively using this part of coastline has totally been ignored. When the plans for this project were being designed, the recreational aspect of this area hasn’t been mentioned in the documents presented. The focus has only been on the benefits of the turbines, from the perspective of the energy provider.
It is inevitable that the safety of surfers surfing the Maasvlakte 2 cannot be guaranteed when the turbines will be installed. And that would be a true shame.
The HSA indicates that the claim made is on behalf of surfers only but acknoledges that it’s very likely that also other types of water sports will suffer from the realisation of the wind turbines. They refer to the Dutch Watersportverbond (WSV) – the Dutch Water Sports Association – for extra support in their claim.
The full letter of appeal can be found through the Instagram account of the Holland Surfing Association.
You can help the HSA and all surfers in the Netherlands (and anyone visiting) by signing the petion, initated by the HSA. The petition (in English, as well as Dutch) can be found through this link.
On behalf of the HSA and all surfers in the Netherlands: thank you for your support! And in case you’d like to read more about the HSA, you can read this article (in Dutch) about what the Holland Surfing Association is all about.