Delfzijl, Netherlands


Delfzijl (Gronings: Delfziel) is a city and former municipality in the municipality of Eemsdelta in the Dutch province of Groningen. The port of Delfzijl is the most important port in the Northern Netherlands.

The municipality covered an area of 227.4 km² (of which 94.49 km² water) and had a population of 24,609 on 1 August 2020, of which 15,280 in Delfzijl (2020). In addition to the city of Delfzijl, the municipality consisted of 13 villages and 24 hamlets. The municipality of Delfzijl was founded in 1808 and was expanded during the municipal reorganization of 1990 with the then defunct municipalities of Bierum and Termunten. On January 1, 2021, the municipality of Delfzijl merged with Appingedam and Loppersum to form a new municipality called Eemsdelta.

The inhabitants of Delfzijl used to bear the nicknames 'Kraben', 'Krabers' ('crabs') or 'Strandjutters'. Another nickname was 'Klokkedaiven', the origin of which is unknown.



Origin and port

The name "Delfzijl" means zijl (= lock) in the Delf (= the old name of the Damsterdiep). Delfzijl was created in the thirteenth century when a lock was built in the Delf. Nevertheless, the area where the current Delfzijl is located had been inhabited for a long time. In 1982, a hunebed was found in the immediate vicinity of Delfzijl, under the wierde Heveskesklooster east of Delfzijl. This is an indication that Delfzijl was already inhabited in early times. The later wierden also testify to this.

The name Delfzijl is first mentioned in a charter from June 19, 1303. Originally there were three zijlen (locks) in the Delf. These were called Slochter-, Scharmer- and Dorpsterzijl. It is therefore also referred to as "the three Delfzijlen". The three locks fell under the Generale Zijlvest of the Drie Delfzijlen. Inhabitation soon arose at these locks when a lock keeper was appointed. This was the beginning of the creation of the current Delfzijl.

In the Middle Ages, there were several shelters in the vicinity of Delfzijl, especially at Uitwierde.

Around 1400 there was already talk of a primitive port company at Delfzijl for the transhipment of sea-going vessels to smaller inland vessels. The port of Delfzijl has been mentioned in various maritime writings from the 16th century. Delfzijl was an important alternative port for the Netherlands when the ports of Holland and Zeeland were unsafe due to war conditions. In 1591, Prince Prince Maurits visited the harbor with a fleet of 150 ships. A few decades later, Piet Hein visited Delfzijl with the "Zilvervloot". During the Second Anglo-Dutch War in 1665, Michiel de Ruyter entered the port of Delfzijl with the West Indies fleet and thirty ships captured by him. In 1705 the Greenland fleet with 96 ships and a loot of 1,100 whales moved to Delfzijl for fear of a French war fleet.

Due to its location on the water, Delfzijl was and is vulnerable to flooding. In 1597, 1686, 1717 (the Christmas flood) and 1825 there were floods and dyke breaches. Also in the 21st century, the denominations in the dike at Delfzijl must be closed repeatedly to prevent the city from flooding. A memorial has been placed in the water gate at the end of Havenstraat, marking the high water level in 1962. The highest water level was measured in November 2006. Due to a northwesterly storm, the water was 4.83 meters above NAP during high tide. The old record of 4.50 meters dates back to 1825.


Middle Ages

The three locks in the Delf were an important strategic point. They were not only used to discharge the inland water into the sea, but could also be used to allow the sea water to flow over land. Moreover, an important trade route of the city of Groningen could be controlled from Delfzijl. Shipping traffic on the Ems was also checked, which meant that shipping outside the port of Emden could be hindered. The town's harbor was also a base for a large force from the sea.

Around 1414 the East Frisian warlord Keno tom Brok built a fortified house in Delfzijl, which was probably demolished the following year. In 1499 Count Edzard I of East Friesland built a block house in Delfzijl. In 1501, Groningen troops captured the redoubt, but East Frisian troops managed to recapture the redoubt in the same year. In 1514, the unfinished Delfzijl redoubt was captured by East Frisian troops led by Otto van Diepholt for Count Edzard I, after the troops had fled. Duke George of Saxony sent 4000 Oldenburg troops and recaptured the fortress, plundered the redoubt and set it on fire. In 1515, Edzard I's troops managed to take the fortress again, but after his defeat in the Saxon Vete near Detern in 1516, he had the fortress cleared, after which the Groningen forces demolished the fortress.

In 1534 East Frisian troops undertook one last raid on Farmsum, after which a new fortress was built near Delfzijl. In 1536 the East Frisians recognized Emperor Charles V as lord and this redoubt was taken by his general Schenck van Toutenburg.


Eighty Years' War

After the Battle of the Ems, Alva visited Delfzijl on July 25, 1568. He saw the strategic significance and the danger of possible invasions by Sea Beggars and therefore made plans to turn it into a large fortress together with Farmsum under the name 'Marsburg'. Originally his intention was to create a fortress to which Delfzijl, Farmsum and Appingedam would belong. This was very much against the wishes of the city of Groningen and was canceled due to repeated insistence. From 1569, however, a provisional redoubt with 4 bastions and a moat of 30 meters wide was erected and an occupation was garrisoned. In 1572 De Robles had the redoubt reinforced by the area between the locks and the redoubt also provided with bastions and canals. However, the fortress remained weak due to the great distance from the Ems, which meant that any support with artillery from ships was not possible. With the Pacification of Ghent in 1576, the Count of Rennenberg took the redoubt in 1577 from the Spanish troops led by Caspar de Robles, whom he sent to Leeuwarden. He then had the defenses dismantled and some time later commissioned Johan van den Kornput to make designs for the fortification of Delfzijl. This plan was not immediately implemented. Rennenberg first had a redoubt with four strongholds built by Berthold Entens van Mentheda in 1580, surrounded by a moat, the so-called 'Oude Schans'. This redoubt measured 100 by 100 meters and was located where the core of the current Delfzijl would later arise. After the defection from Rennenberg to the Spanish camp at the siege of Delfzijl (1580), the fortress was taken by his Spanish troops under the leadership of Schenk van Nydeggen.

In 1591 the redoubt was recaptured during the capture of Delfzijl by Prince Maurits as part of the Groningen redoubt war. He provided reinforcement for the redoubt and so Van den Kornput's plan could still be carried out. The existing fortress of Delfzijl was surrounded by a new fortress with five bastions (or bastions or overcers) on the landward side, surrounded by a wide moat. From the northeast via the west to the south, these were successively the Schippersbolwerk (northeast), the Kaspersbolwerk or Holwierderbolwerk (north), the Provoostbolwerk or Uitwierderbolwerk (northwest), the Jonkersbolwerk or Komandeursbolwerk (west), the Damsterbolwerk (southwest) and the Farmsumerbolwerk. (south). On the sea side, a broad parapet was constructed along the harbor with the Grote Waterpoort (which was renovated in 1833). The whole was surrounded by a 40 meter wide canal. On the south side, the harbor was covered by the new Kostverloren hornwork with an entire bastion (the Kostverloren stronghold in the south) and a half bastion (in the southeast). Between the strongholds were several gates to the outside: the Landpoort between the Provoost and the Jonkersbolwerk was the main gate, the Waterpoort or Havenpoort and the Kleine Waterpoort or Ruyterpoort gave access to the harbor in the east and the Farmsumerpoort gave access from the fortress Delfzijl access to the horn system.

In 1594 an army unit of 1000 men led by Francisco Verdugo made an unsuccessful attempt to recapture the fortress of Delfzijl. This attack was almost successful because he managed to lure the occupation away to the Damsterbolwerk, while he made an attack via the Oosterbolwerk, which was narrowly thwarted by a small group of soldiers with the help of a warship that was stationed off the coast. From the reduction that year until 1643 a Frisian (Staatse) occupation was stationed.


Later History

Plans in the 17th century to further strengthen the fortress by building bastions on the south side as well, opening up the harbor completely and building a covered road did not materialize. Even after it turned out that Bernhard von Galen had been offered money from England in 1665 if he were to conquer Delfzijl, which failed because State troops threatened to cut his supply lines and he was forced to withdraw. During his second attack in the year of disaster 1672, Delfzijl managed to prevent an attack by flooding the area on the south side by opening the locks and piercing the dam of the Damsterdiep. The arrival of the East India fleet, which had fled to Delfzijl, under the command of Admiral Arnoud van Overbeek, with powder and other ammunition, further strengthened the occupation. In 1686 one of the strongholds was washed away during the Martian Flood. In 1696 the fortress was strengthened by Menno van Coehoorn. Within the fortress, the houses were located on a few main streets (Landstraat and Waterstraat) with a few side streets (such as the Marktstraat) and to the north of it the training ground De Vennen for the garrison soldiers. The garrison church of Delfzijl was built in 1614 on the island of Conijnenbergh within the fortress, but outside the old fortress. In 1715 a new Waterpoort was built on the site of the old Waterpoort.

In the mid-18th century, more attention was given to the fortress due to external threats. Artillery was stationed from 1773. During the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War there was the fear that English troops might land at Delfzijl. That is why the coastal batteries around Delfzijl were manned and sentries were posted and a guard ship stationed.

In the French era, a French garrison was established in Delfzijl and work began on strengthening the fortress. Four batteries were installed to cover the Kostverloren front and also to draw Farmsum inside the fortress. A fifth battery was placed on the outside of the left bastion and in front of the Uitwierderbolwerk the Noordbatterij was built against the dike. Furthermore, beds for guns and powder magazines were placed on all batteries. These fortifications were completed in 1796. In 1799 a barracks were built and a battalion of the 'green hunters' was garrisoned under the command of the captains Baron Chassé and Cort Heyligers. However, the fortress mainly had to rely on inundations. For the rest it was seen as weak. In 1806 the fortress was visited by the French Minister of Navy Decrès and the Dutch Admiral De Winter to prepare the construction of a large fortress. In 1811 Delfzijl was designated as a new municipality and the fortress was considerably reinforced with, among other things, a block house on the Noordbatterij, a furnace for making 'glowing' bullets on the Schippersbolwerk, a number of casemates and powder magazines at the bottom of the walls and reinforcements on the hornwork . Outside bastions were built in front of the Landpoort and a second moat was dug there. In 1812 Napoleon designated Delfzijl together with Fort Lasalle near Den Helder as 'les points de résistance'. Until Napoleon's exile to Elba, the site remained occupied by a French unit led by Pierre Maufroy: In 1813, 1,400 French soldiers were stationed. In 1814 Cossacks, Prussia and the Dutch landstorm struck the siege of Delfzijl under the leadership of Colonel Marcus Busch. However, the besiegers suffered great losses. It was only after the French commander received an official letter in 1814 that his emperor had surrendered that he surrendered power on 23 May. The French attacks had caused heavy destruction to the places in the area around Delfzijl. Delfzijl itself was also heavily damaged. The garrison church also had to be rebuilt.

In 1819 Delfzijl was given the status of a non-voting city by King Willem I (thus with city rights), which was formalized in 1825 (with Winschoten). This had only symbolic value, as city rights had actually already been abolished in French times.

In 1833 the Waterpoort from 1715 was replaced by the current Grote Waterpoort. Two years later, the fortress was severely damaged by the Christmas flood. The Vesting Delfzijl retained its status in the first half of the 19th century and was regarded as a work of the first class according to the Kringenwet, while the batteries around Farmsum belonged to the second class. However, the Fortification Act of 1874 deemed all fortifications superfluous, after which they were completely demolished between 1877 and 1886. In 1878 the northern moat was also closed. Only part of the western moat has been preserved.


Developments outside the ramparts

In the second half of the 19th century, when the fortress had actually already been overtaken by time, the place managed to grow strongly at the expense of arch-rival Appingedam. One of the reasons for this was the emergence of commercial shipping from peat shipping in the Veenkoloniën, which in the course of time increasingly sought its location in Delfzijl. Furthermore, the port was mainly used for the supply of grain, timber, fertilizer, coal and the export of industrial goods from the hinterland. At that time, mills, ship carpenters, lime kilns, line lanes and brickyards (such as the Fivelmonde brick factory) were partly built outside the fortress along the Damsterdiep. Developments were rapid in the 1850s. In 1856, the School for Industry and Maritime Affairs (the later nautical school Abel Tasman) was founded. In 1857, part of the site of De Vennen was sold to be able to build simple houses. In 1858 the National Pilotage Service was established in Delfzijl.

As early as 1845, four engineers joined forces: two Delfzijlster brothers Balkema and two cousins ​​from Liège, Xavier Tarte and Castillion Du Portail, who set out to stimulate railway development in the Northern Netherlands. Until 1900, Harlingen was regarded as the most important northern seaport, a status that was diluted by government policy in favor of the ports in the Randstad, whereby the interests of Harlingen and Delfzijl were played off against each other. In addition to Delfzijl, the ports of Harlingen and Vlissingen were regarded as more accessible alternatives to Amsterdam and Rotterdam, whose ports were not equipped for the development of shipping until 1860 due to silting up. Only after 1860 did a nationally coordinated policy on railway construction come about. For Harlingen it was then 20 years too late, for Delfzijl the railway connection was realized even later. Harlingen was provided with a cross-border rail connection with Germany between 1863 and 1876, Staatslijn B. Delfzijl did not receive its railway until 1884, but it was regionally and nationally supported much more by the province of Groningen and the national government. As a result, 'Delfzijl' won over Harlingen. The own rail connection with the city of Groningen (the railway line Groningen - Delfzijl via Sauwerd) further increased the trade.

In 1875 the ramparts were demolished and expansion could start. In 1876 the Eemskanaal was dug from Delfzijl to Groningen, because the Damsterdiep was less and less suitable for the increasingly larger ships. With this canal Delfzijl was cut off from Farmsum, but it did acquire an important strategic position, as shipping now no longer sailed via the port of Appingedam, but via the port of Delfzijl. Delfzijl even managed to prevent Appingedam from using this new channel. Several shipyards, machine factories, offices of ship brokers and companies focused on the ship's equipment were built along the new canal. Outside shipbuilding, however, industrial development has largely failed to materialize. However, the Adam flour mill remained in the fortress. All these developments caused the population to increase sharply in the last quarter of the 19th century. In 1880, a new school with 10 classes was built at Singel 52 to cope with population growth. In 1888 a new synagogue was built next to it at Singel 50, which was given an expressionist facade in 1931.

In 1888, two lighthouses were built along the coast of the Ems, in Watum and Delfzijl. They did not look like the usual lighthouses, they were sturdy buildings that suited their time well. They were 10.5 meters high and could accommodate 2 families of the lighthouse keepers. Both lighthouses were destroyed in the Second World War. A replacement lighthouse for Delfzijl (number 2), with a red-white-green sector light at 17 meters above the average water level of the Ems, had to make way in 1981 for the expansion of the port of Delfzijl.

After 1900 the port received a further impulse because in 1903 the government had a new quay built with steam cranes and the province provided the port area with goods sheds and other port facilities. The port gradually developed into an international transhipment port for wood, coal, grains and chili nitrate and an export port for iron earth and agricultural products from the Groningen peat colonies, such as potato flour, potatoes and straw cardboard. There was also a large fishing port. Various shipping companies (including that of Wagenborg in 1939 by architect Jan Beckering Vinckers at Marktstraat 10) and ship offices were established by entrepreneurs.


Two railway lines were added: in 1910 the Zuidbroek - Delfzijl railway of the NOLS, which connected with the Groninger Veenkoloniën and Drenthe, and in 1929 the Woldjerspoorweg to Groningen via the Woldstreek. Passenger and freight traffic was not viable on either line, so they disappeared in 1934 and 1941 respectively. The line via Sauwerd continued to exist as a local railway to this day.

This increase to about 10,000 residents by the First World War could still be accommodated within the contours of the demolished ramparts. After the ramparts were demolished, houses first rose on De Vennen and on the places where the barracks had stood until before. In the 20th century, the site of the fortress would develop into the shopping area of ​​Delfzijl. After the fortress was fully built, a first expansion plan was drawn up in 1913 for the area 'over the canal' (now called Oud West) by municipal architect F.A. Pot. After the steam tram line from OG to Winschoten was projected through it in 1919, architect C.C.J. Welleman (the later mayor of Delfzijl) made a new expansion plan. In addition, space was created in the area southwest of the city canal, between the Groningen-Delfzijl railway line and the Damsterdiep, for a new residential area with shops. A park was created along the city moat. The villas were built along it, while simple middle-class houses were built behind them. It took a while before people wanted to live 'so far outside the fortress'. After 1940, this district was further expanded to the southwest according to the same expansion plan. Welleman planned another district north of the railway line along the Uitwierderweg, which was built from the 1930s. A number of social buildings were also built during this period, such as the neo-gothic St. Abel Tasmanplein in 1930 and a new town hall at Johan van den Kornputplein in 1936 (expanded in the 1950s with a spire tower). Noteworthy houses that were built around the turn of the century can be found at the Oude Schans 2 (1870), Marktstraat 13 (1910), Waterstraat 15-17 (1930), the Menno van Coehoornsingel 25 (1931) and the Menno van Coehoornplein 1 (1935).



During the mobilization in the 1930s, two light casemates (type s) were built on either side of the harbor mouth to secure access to the harbor with cables. In the end, only the harbor installations were destroyed and a few German ships were shelled. Possibly because the German soldiers suspect a stronger occupation, Delfzijl was not captured on May 10, but only after a reconnaissance on May 11, 1940.

During the Second World War, Delfzijl was, until Van der Waals' betrayal, a fulcrum of the so-called Swedish Road led by the Delfzijl star doctor Allard Oosterhuis. In 1943, the place was designated as the center of the Stützpunktgruppe that had to defend Emden and become part of the Atlantic Wall. The Batterie Nansen was built to the west of the city from 1943 and the Batterie Fiemel to the east. The area around the city was also heavily fortified with bunkers, trenches and other military means.

At the end of the Second World War, the port of Delfzijl was used to unload the so-called Swedish white bread. Due to the many reinforcements, the German occupation ended later than in most places in the Netherlands. The Germans had inundated the area around the city and also used the air defenses on both sides of the Ems as artillery pieces to target the advancing Canadian troops that were approaching the city from April 21, 1945. There was fierce battle for the Zak van Delfzijl. The city was of strategic importance for the protection of the Ems and the German city of Emden. The so-called Zak van Delfzijl (Delfzijl Pocket) ensured that the liberation of Delfzijl lasted several days. Only after all the anti-aircraft guns had been destroyed did the German garrison capitulate on 1 or 2 May 1945. The inner city of Delfzijl was largely destroyed during the liberation of the war.


Industrial development

After the war, the city center was rebuilt. The reconstruction led to new expansions, including the reformed cross church of Delfzijl in 1953. However, the real development of the city only started after 1955.

In the 1950s, the Eemsmond region in which Delfzijl is located was designated by the Dutch government as an area for economic development and opening up the Northern Netherlands. The reasons for this were that after the Second World War, the Dutch government committed to large-scale industrialization, in which the location on deep waterways was considered essential for the establishment of basic industries; industries that had to process raw materials into semi-finished products. Due to its remote position, Delfzijl would not have been eligible for this if a large salt paper had not been found in the bottom of Westerlee in 1951. This made Delfzijl attractive for the establishment of processing industries. The chemical industry could obtain brine from the sea here and industrial waste products could easily be discharged at sea, it was thought. The end products (soda and fertilizers) could be quickly exported from Delfzijl to the important sales markets, especially in Scandinavia. In 1957, the Royal Dutch Salt Industry had a soda factory built at the port of the city. This factory immediately became the city's largest employer, with approximately 1,400 jobs. In 1958, the government, the province and the municipality also set up the Delfzijl Port Authority, which would work hard for the industrialization of Delfzijl through the construction of the large Oosterhorn business park (for which three villages in the Oosterhoek were destroyed) and the acquisition of businesses. In 1959 this was further reinforced by the fact that the city was designated by the government as a development center in the problem area (later euphemistically called 'stimulating area') Groningen: there was a lot of unemployment due to the emissions of the increasingly mechanized agriculture. Industry could help get these people back to work. It was hoped that the industry at Delfzijl could fulfill a 'draft horse' function: the capital-intensive basic industries had to attract other processing companies and thus make Delfzijl grow into a widespread industrial complex. Because basic industries require a lot of capital, the government made large government subsidies available for this. The discovery of natural gas in 1958 provided a further stimulus. Because of this and the fact that the government had set up a 'natural gas pot' from which companies could receive location subsidies, the very energy-demanding aluminum smelter Aldel could be realized.

The support of the Empire created a huge boost for the place. In 1959 the Eemskanaal was diverted to the east side of Farmsum, where a new port area was created. In the early 1960s, major plans were envisaged for the city, which was to grow to 80,000 inhabitants. In the run-up to this, large pieces of land in the neighboring villages of Farmsum, Biessum and Uitwierde near the Delfzijl urban area were drawn. The major city expansions had to arise on this. In the 1960s, the new Delfzijl-Noord district was erected at a rapid pace north of the Groningen-Delfzijl railway line, adjacent to the water of the Ems, adjacent to the neighborhood at Uitwierderweg. The original plot structure on the east side of the Biessum mound disappeared completely. Southwest of the existing buildings, the Tuikwerd district was built in the 1970s. In 1968 the city got its own hospital: Delfzicht. PvdA alderman Jan Beijert played an important role in many of these plans.

The construction of a deep-sea port started in 1968, followed by the construction of the Oosterhorn industrial estate and the construction of the Zeehavenkanaal. The Groningen-Delfzijl railway line also served the industrial area with freight trains via the Delfzijl trunk line. For all planned developments, the villages of Weiwerd, Heveskes and Oterdum had to make way in Delfzijlster Oosterhoek. The medieval church of Heveskes was left lonely in a great void that had to be transformed into an industrial area. On the seawall where the picturesque dyke village of Oterdum used to be, only the old reconstructed cemetery remained. Due to the construction of the Hogelandsterweg (the N997 to Eemshaven, among others), the hamlet of Ladysmith had to give way to the north of Delfzijl. Only the demolition of the then not yet part of the municipality of Delfzijl, Borgsweer was prevented. In 1974, in connection with the Delta Act, the old Drie Delfzijlen were demolished together with the 18th-century lockkeepers' houses and spindle locks and replaced by a new pumping station and an elevated seawall. Because the seagoing ships continued to grow in tonnage, the national government decided to build Eemshaven for even larger ships.


Economic downturn and population decline

When the port of Delfzijl was completed in 1973, the economy had now entered the oil crisis, partly as a result of which industrial expansion slowed down sharply. Neither had the policy resulted in the hoped-for 'draft horse effect'. The subsidies had mainly drawn branches of large companies and there were no spin-offs. Another cause of the absence of companies was the sharply stricter environmental requirements of the province of Groningen. Large parts of the industrial area of ​​both Delfzijl and Eemshaven were therefore still fallow. Only a port formation had developed around Delfzijl: companies that had established themselves there because of the port. The government then stopped granting subsidies for the establishment of new companies. An important part of the intended industrial area Oosterhorn in the Oosterhoek therefore remained undeveloped. This applies in particular to the places where the demolished villages have stood. However, the city continued to build houses for a while afterwards to accommodate the growing population. However, the forecasts were far from being met and after 1981 the population even shrank sharply, which increasingly became a central theme for the city. Delfzijl-North and Delfzijl-West as well as Tuikwerd were struggling with large vacancies. Residents moved away due to a lack of work in the region and because many rental and owner-occupied homes no longer met the requirements of time. It turned out that the highly educated no longer wanted to live there. Hazing and aging increased and unemployment soared to alarming heights. However, the city's administrators remained committed to growth until the mid-1990s.


Demolition and urban renewal

In 1996, the city decided to demolish 1000 homes, 650 of which by the local Delfzijl Housing Association (which was merged into Acantus in 2002). In 2000, however, the committee set up by the city under the leadership of the North Holland commissioner Frans Tielrooij determined that this had turned out to be completely inadequate: despite the major demolition, vacancy was still increasing. Moreover, much of the work in the industrial areas near the city was no longer low but highly skilled and these employees lived elsewhere in owner-occupied houses instead of the outdated rental houses in the city. The image of the increasingly impoverished city was very bad. Delfzijl thus faced one of the largest demolition tasks in the Netherlands. On the advice of the Tielrooij Committee, it was decided to combine demolition with urban renewal through new construction of more spacious green and more differentiated residential areas. By 2010, the vacancy rate had largely been resolved with the demolition of 1,200 homes and the construction of 450 new homes. According to the 2012 forecasts by Statistics Netherlands, the population in the municipality will fall from 26,000 to 18,000 inhabitants until 2040. The restructuring plan cost the city, the province and the state hundreds of millions of euros. The decline in the number of residents also meant that facilities such as the hospital and the theater came under pressure as the population of the municipality fell below the crucial limit of 25,000 inhabitants. In 2018 the hospital was closed and replaced by an outpatient clinic.

As part of the restructuring of Delfzijl, the old city center was also tackled from 2015. In order to reduce the large vacancy in the shopping area and to give the city center a more beautiful appearance, it was decided to create an open connection with the port and a new salt marsh area with a nature and recreation area along the coast (Project Marconi). The old fortress structure had to be made more visible by digging open part of the canal again, creating a lot of greenery and reducing the shopping area. This should also give the station area a more beautiful appearance. For the plans, the ten-storey Vennenflat from 1969 between the center and the port was demolished in 2018.