Nieuwe Maas

Nieuwe Maas

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The Nieuwe Maas distributary
Distributary
A distributary, or a distributary channel, is a stream that branches off and flows away from a main stream channel. They are a common feature of river deltas. The phenomenon is known as river bifurcation. The opposite of a distributary is a tributary...

 of the Rhine River, and a former distributary of the Maas River
Meuse River
The Maas or Meuse is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea...

, in the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 province
Province
A province is a territorial unit, almost always an administrative division, within a country or state.-Etymology:The English word "province" is attested since about 1330 and derives from the 13th-century Old French "province," which itself comes from the Latin word "provincia," which referred to...

 of South Holland
South Holland
South Holland is a province situated on the North Sea in the western part of the Netherlands. The provincial capital is The Hague and its largest city is Rotterdam.South Holland is one of the most densely populated and industrialised areas in the world...

. It runs from the confluence of the rivers Noord and Lek
Lek River
The Lek is a river in the western Netherlands of some 60 km in length. It is the continuation of the Nederrijn after the Kromme Rijn branches off at the town of Wijk bij Duurstede. The main westbound waterway is hereafter called the Lek River...

, and flows west through Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

. It ends west of the city where it meets the Oude Maas
Oude Maas
The Oude Maas is a distributary of the Rhine River, and a former distributary of the Maas River, in the Dutch province of South Holland. It begins at the city of Dordrecht where the Beneden Merwede river splits into the Noord River and the Oude Maas...

 (Old Meuse), near Vlaardingen
Vlaardingen
Vlaardingen is a town in South Holland in the Netherlands. It is located on the north bank of the Nieuwe Maas/Nieuwe Waterweg river at the confluence with the Oude Maas...

, to form Het Scheur
Het Scheur
Het Scheur is a branch of the Rhine-Meuse delta in South Holland, Netherlands, that flows west from the confluence of the Oude Maas and Nieuwe Maas branches past the towns of Rozenburg and Maassluis...

. The total length is approximately 24 kilometers.

Geography


The Nieuwe Maas flows through some of the most densely populated and developed areas in the Netherlands. Along its shores are numerous harbours and industries.

History


During the early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 the river was considered to be the continuation of the Merwede
Merwede
The Merwede is the name of several interconnected stretches of river in The Netherlands, all part of the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta. The Meuse river joins the Waal at Woudrichem to form the Boven Merwede...

 river (itself a distributary branch of the Rhine) and was named accordingly. However, during the 13th century a series of floods forced the Maas to shift its main course north towards the Merwede. From then on, several stretches of the original Merwede were named Maas instead and served as the primary outflow of that river. Those branches are currently known as the Nieuwe Maas and Oude Maas
Oude Maas
The Oude Maas is a distributary of the Rhine River, and a former distributary of the Maas River, in the Dutch province of South Holland. It begins at the city of Dordrecht where the Beneden Merwede river splits into the Noord River and the Oude Maas...

. For several centuries the Nieuwe and Oude Maas were considered part of the Maas delta. Near Vlaardingen, these two met and then split again at the island of Rozenburg
Rozenburg
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 . It was the second-smallest municipality in the Netherlands in area...

: the north branch was known as Het Scheur and the south branch as either Nieuwe Maas or Brielse Maas because it flowed close to Brielle
Brielle
Brielle , also called Den Briel is a town and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland, on the north side of the island of Voorne-Putten, at the mouth of the New Maas. The municipality covers an area of 31.12 km² of which 3.63 km² is water...

. Het Scheur and the Brielse Maas then met again to form an estuary
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 known as Maasmond ("Mouth of Meuse").

However, during another series of severe floods the Maas found an additional path towards the sea, resulting in the creation of the Biesbosch
Biesbosch
De Biesbosch , is one of the largest national parks of the Netherlands and one of the last freshwater tide areas in Europe. The Biesbosch consists of a rather large network of rivers and smaller and larger creeks with islands. The vegetation is mostly willow forests, although wet grasslands and...

 wetlands and Hollands Diep
Hollands Diep
Hollands Diep is a wide river in the Netherlands and an estuary of the Rhine and Meuse river. Through the Scheldt-Rhine Canal it connects to the Scheldt river and Antwerp....

 estuaries. Thereafter, the Maas split near Heusden
Heusden
Heusden is a municipality and a city in the South of the Netherlands. It is located between the cities Waalwijk and 's-Hertogenbosch.- Population centres :...

 into two main distributaries, one flowing north to join the Merwede, and one flowing directly to the sea. This diminished the influence of the Maas on the Oude and Nieuwe Maas distributaries. The branch of the Maas leading directly to the sea eventually silted up, (and now forms the Oude Maasje
Oude Maasje
The Oude Maasje is a former distributary of the river Maas , which runs parallel to the current canalised Bergse Maas.-History:...

 stream), but in 1904 the canalised Bergse Maas
Bergse Maas
The Bergse Maas is a canal that was constructed in 1904 to be a branch of the Maas River in the Dutch province of North Brabant. The Maas splits near Heusden into the Afgedamde Maas and the Bergse Maas...

 was dug to take over the functions of the silted-up branch. At the same time, the branch leading to the Merwede was damned at Heusden, (and has since been known as the Afgedamde Maas
Afgedamde Maas
The Afgedamde Maas is a former distributary of the Maas River in the Dutch province of North Brabant. The Maas splits near Heusden with one channel flowing north until its confluence with the river Waal to form the Merwede, while the other continues west as the main distributary of the Maas...

) so that little water from the Maas now enters the old Maas estaury, or the Rhine distributaries. The resulting separation of the rivers Rhine and Maas is considered to be the greatest achievement in Dutch hydraulic engineering before the completion of the Zuiderzee Works
Zuiderzee Works
The Zuiderzee Works are a manmade system of dams, land reclamation and water drainage works, the largest hydraulic engineering project undertaken by the Netherlands during the twentieth century. The project involved the damming of the Zuiderzee, a large, shallow inlet of the North Sea, and the...

 and Delta Works
Delta Works
The Delta Works is a series of construction projects in the southwest of the Netherlands to protect a large area of land around the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta from the sea. The works consist of dams, sluices, locks, dikes, levees, and storm surge barriers...

. Since then, the vast majority of the flow of the Oude and Nieuwe Maas come from the Rhine, and not the Maas.

With the completion of the Nieuwe Waterweg
Nieuwe Waterweg
The Nieuwe Waterweg is a ship canal in the Netherlands from het Scheur west of the town of Maassluis to the North Sea at Hook of Holland...

, the Brielse Maas no longer reaches the sea as a primary outflow for the river Rhine. The Brielse Maas section was dammed off from Het Scheur
Het Scheur
Het Scheur is a branch of the Rhine-Meuse delta in South Holland, Netherlands, that flows west from the confluence of the Oude Maas and Nieuwe Maas branches past the towns of Rozenburg and Maassluis...

 in the middle of the 20th century (now forming Briel Lake
Brielse meer
The Brielse Meer is a long, narrow lake between the Dutch estuary islands of Voorne and Rozenburg in the province of Zuid-Holland....

), forcing all waters to flow through the artificial Nieuwe Waterweg.

Links across the Nieuwe Maas


From west to east:
  • Beneluxtunnel (tunnel; motor vehicles, cyclists and metro
    Rotterdam Metro
    The Rotterdam Metro is a rapid transit system operated in Rotterdam and surrounding municipalities by RET. The first line, called Noord - Zuidlijn opened in 1968 and ran from Centraal Station to Zuidplein, crossing the river Nieuwe Maas in a tunnel. It was the first metro system to open in the...

    )
  • Maastunnel
    Maastunnel
    The Maastunnel is a tunnel in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, connecting the banks of the Nieuwe Maas. About 75,000 motor vehicles and a large number cyclists, mopeds and pedestrians use the tunnel daily, making the Maastunnel an important part of Rotterdam's road network. Building commenced in 1937...

     (tunnel; motor vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians)
  • Erasmusbrug
    Erasmusbrug
    The Erasmusbrug is a cable stayed bridge across the Nieuwe Maas river, linking the northern and southern halves of the city of Rotterdam, The Netherlands....

     (bridge; motor vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians, trams)
  • Maastaxi (ferry; pedestrians)
  • Metrotunnel (tunnel; metro)
  • Willemstunnel (tunnel; train)
  • Willemsbrug (bridge; motor vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians)
  • Van Brienenoordbrug
    Van Brienenoordbrug
    The Van Brienenoordbrug is an arch bridge for car traffic over the river Nieuwe Maas, which is a major distributary of the river Rhine. The bridge is located at the east side of Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The bridge exists of two almost identical arches laying parallel and next to each other,...

    (bridge; motor vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians)