After having been dependant, for many centuries, on its mediaeval port, Bergen op Zoom managed to realize a new port, called Theodorushaven after the polder in question, in 1964. The old port, which originated in a winding creek, was hardly fit to handle logistics as was demanded in the booming sixties. Besides, as a tidal port with sewers discharging their contents between the ships, the stench could be untenable. The local factories directed their waste water into the inner harbour. As if this was not bad enough, flooding of parts of the town was yet another problem which occured from time to time.
The old port managed only 250.000 tonnes of goods a year. Logically, expectations were high when the Theodorushaven was opened. Rightfully so, because anno 2014 the port houses 120 compagnies, including Sabic, Ricoh, Partner Logistics, Majestic, TNT Fashion as well as, since 2011, the promising Green Chemistry Campus. It employs about 5000 people. With a turnover of over 2.000.000 tonnes, Theodorushaven is one of the biggest inner ports of the country and still growing fast. Because of its strategic position on the busy Schelde-Rijnkanaal, which connects mainports Rotterdam and Antwerp, and on the crossroads of highways A58 (Vlissingen-Eindhoven and eventually Germany) and A4 (Amsterdam-Brussels) Theodorushaven serves an European purpose. Therefore it belongs to the so-called TEN-T (Transeuropean Transport Network).
In order to reduce road transport Bergen op Zoom actively supports transport by ship. Since 2008 the town possesses the temporary Markiezaat Container Terminal (see picture above), which reached 70.000 TEU in 2012 and over 100.000 in 2013 ! These facts make MCT the fastest growing terminal in The Netherlands.
Different parties, including the Port of Rotterdam Authority, the municipality of Bergen op Zoom and Mepavex Logistics (which purchased 15 ha in 2014 for ten new warehouses) are in full gear to develop a much bigger terminal to the northwest, in the direction of the island of Tholen.
Fragment of the first map depicting the river Scheldt.
Commissioned by Burgundian ruler Karel de Stoute in 1468.
Collection: National Archives, Brussels.
BoZ on the second map of the river Scheldt. 1504.
Collection: The city of Antwerp.
The Sakko facility
The entrance of the port of BoZ on a map dating 1505.
Collection: Municipal archives, Antwerp.
Detail of the map of BoZ by Jacob van Deventer, ca 1545.
The open area north of the inner harbour is the site
Collection: The Royal Library, Brussels.
The modest marina, still cornered by factories. There are
plans to move the marina to a more suitable spot.
The situation in the middle of the 16th Century.
Detail of a map by Christiaen Sgrooten.
Dozens of villages as well as the town of Reymerswale
would soon be swallowed by the sea.
Collection: The Royal Library of Brussels.
Manufacturer De Schelde.
In the Roman era the river Scheldt was called Scaldis.
Fragment of an engraving by F. Galle, ca 1580.
Some elements of BoZ are easy to recognize.
The print, now reversed, was produced as a mirror image.
The Harbour Channel, about 2 km long between lock
and the southern quay.
The old channel between the two fortresses: the smaller
one being the Noordschans, the other one the Zuidschans
or Waterschans, which is due to reconstruction works.
Situation: the first half of the 17th Century.
Text will follow.
The well-known 'townscape' of BoZ (detail) by Samuel
de Swaef and J. ab Heede.
Atlas van Stolk, Rotterdam, 1634.
Blacktop producer APM.
Ham Square (Hamplein), with to the left the old inner
harbour and to the right 'the new one', on the spot
where anno 2014 the Vissershaven is situated.
Anonymous, ca 1650. Collection: Miss A. Oppé.
Engraving by N. de Fer,1698.
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Detail of a military map, with a focus on the Theodoruspolder.
The industrial port in 1910.
A photo taken by KLM in 1923.
Another photo by KLM, 1924.
Filling up the most eastern part of the inner harbour, 1950.
The first works for Theodorushaven, ca 1959.
Contruction of the lock 'Burgemeester Peterssluis', named
after mayor Leonard Antoon Hubert Peters, member of the
political party KVP (Katholieke Volkspartij), who was in
office 1952 - 1965.
The Burgemeester Peterssluis.
A draft of the megalomaniac ideas of E.A.B. van Vianen,
director of public works in BoZ. Realization of these
plans for an enormous portuary complex would have dwarfed
the ports of Vlissingen (left) and even Antwerp (below).
The ideas were published in the magazine 'Noord-Brabant',
year 1963, no. 3, a special edition about ports and
harbours in the province of Noord-Brabant.
A detail of the ideas by E. van Vianen, 1964.
Detail of a map of The Netherlands, 1: 25.000, published
by the Topografische Dienst te Delft, 1966.
One of the yachts, type Regina, built by shipyard Helstede.
This picture was taken in the Fluwelenbroekstraat (meaning
Velvet pants street) in the sixties.
The former 'House of the Future', realized by General Electric
Plastics Europe. Now it is property of Saudi company Sabic.
Sabic's office buildings.
Cargill's loading facilities.