Quarantainestation Heijplaat (Heijplaat Quarantine Center) – Rotterdam, Netherlands - Atlas Obscura

Quarantainestation Heijplaat (Heijplaat Quarantine Center)

A 20th-century naval quarantine center is now a local park. 


Disease was a big problem before the invention of antibiotics, where now common colds could take the lives of many. For this reason, it was important to quarantine travelers when disease was suspected. The Quarantainestation Heijplaat (Heijplaat Quarantine Center), was built in 1934 for sailors entering the city. It was constructed far away from the city to avoid contagion. 

The facility had several sleeping areas based on the risk of contagion. Low-risk patients would stay in shared barracks, while sicker patients had their own rooms. There was also a football field at the center and Rotterdam’s only sand beach. The center was never used for its intended purpose as penicillin was invented shortly after its completion.

It did serve as a refugee camp for Jewish refugees before World War II as the Third Reich gained prominence and was used for a short while to house tuberculosis patients in 1945 during an outbreak. The center was abandoned after that.

An art collective later squatted the buildings in the 1970s and has remained there ever since. The place is now a public park.

Know Before You Go

The park is freely accessible, and so is the beach. However it is forbidden to swim there as the river has strong currents and passing ships can strengthen them. 

In partnership with KAYAK

Plan Your Trip

From Around the Web