On Wednesday this week King Willem-Alexander opened the Zeesluis Ijmuiden. These new sea locks, built alongside the existing locks, are the largest in the world: 500 metres long, 70 metres wide and 18 metres deep. The existing locks were nearing the end of their life and becoming too small for the huge vessels heading for Amsterdam.
A major design fault was discovered. This resulted in excess cost of almost three million Euro and the grand opening almost three years overdue. Now ships can pass independently from the tides. But, with the cruise ships entering the locks, so does a lot more salt water… and are those towering liners still wanted?
A splendid view of it all can be had a little further out. The last time I had lunch there was, probably, in 2011 – that Icelandic volcano had closed air space. I managed to get a shared cabin on the ferry to Newcastle and treated my friend to lunch as a thank-you.
De Kop van de Haven, Ijmuiden
It’s not a pub, it’s not in the UK.
It’s right by the tall chimneys
of the steel works, once Royal
Dutch, now Tata. The canal
to Amsterdam was dug by
unemployed men and now
there’s a gleaming ferry terminal:
Christmas shopping in Newcastle.
Fish is fish is fresh is fresh with
a view of water and waves and
smoke and boats and barges
and ships and liners and the wind.
Outside on the head of the harbour
the bronze fisherman holding
a storm lantern in his right hand.