De Hef – Rotterdam, Netherlands - Atlas Obscura

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De Hef

A bridge that has seen many reiterations over its lifetime.  


This historical railway bridge is dear to many Rotterdam residents, as it’s the first structure that was restored after a devastating bombing during World War II.

The bridge was built in 1927 as a vertical lift bridge to replace an older rotating bridge from 1878. The vertical lift mechanism solved a problem of the old bridge which operated slowly, delaying both the water and rail traffic. All of this frustration peaked when a German ship collided with the central part in 1918. 

The Hef, officially known as Koningshavenbrug (King’s Harbor Bridge) was designed by Pieter Joosting and was the first of its kind in western Europe. This made it quite popular during the period, with events being held on and around the bridge. Most notably, divers would jump from the bridge as it was raised at higher and higher points. This stopped in 1933 when a diver died during their attempt.

In 1940, the bridge was bombed along with most of the city, it was restored not long after to regain access to the train routes. By 1993, the bridge was no longer used by trains. The bridge was then placed in a permanently open position to allow ships to pass. 

In 2022, the bridge became the center of attention after it was announced that the bridge had to be disassembled in order to let a superyacht being made for Jeff Bezos to pass. It has not yet been decided if this will be allowed, but if it happens, the bridge will be reassembled after the ship passes and Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb has said that Bezos would foot the bill.

Know Before You Go

The bridge is visible from the Wilhelmbrug and the harbor area.

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February 21, 2022

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