Noordereiland (Northern Island) is an island neighborhood within the Feijenoord borough in southern Rotterdam. The island is surrounded by the Nieuwe Maas, one of the main estuary arms of the Rhine River that flows through the city of Rotterdam. It is connected to the rest of the city by the Willemsbrug, Koninginnebrug, and De Hef bridges. Around 3,600 currently live on the island, though at its peak it was home to about 9,000, with a significant portion of that population once being skippers. Nowadays, you’re more likely to find artists calling the island home than skippers.
Noordereiland was created in 1876 when digging was completed for the Koningshaven (Kings Harbour), a man-made canal that was created from 1876-1876 in order to increase the port area. This effectively cut the northern tip of Feijenoord from the rest of the neighborhood, and thus emerged Noordereiland. With the creation of the island, several bridges were built to create a rail link across the Nieuwe Maas including a small swing bridge in 1878 that allowed for rail passage. By 1923, port traffic was so high that it was decided to build a new, larger bridge to allow for easier passage for ships and trains. By 1927, construction of the De Hef bridge was complete, which was the first vertical lift bridge in the Netherlands.
During WWII, Noordereiland was occupied by the German army on May 10, 1940 and German seaplanes landing and docking on the Nieuwe Maas. Four days later, during the Rotterdam Blitz, 600 homes were destroyed from friendly fire in an attempt to dislodge the Axis military forces. As you walk around the island today, it is clear which homes survived the blitz and which ones were built after the war.
You’ll find fantastic bridge views from all over the island. From the southern tip of the island, you’ll see the nearby Erasmubrug, a cable-stayed bascule bridge built in 1996. From the center, you’ll see the red Willemsburg. On the eastern shore you’ll find the decommissioned De Hef rail bridge next to Koninginnebrug, still in use for vehicular and pedestrian traffic.