Rotterdam, already one of the largest harbours in the world in the 19th century, experienced capacity problems due to increasing numbers of visiting ships. Civil Engineer Pieter Caland was giving the task to dig through the “Hoek van Holland” to create a new channel. Many labourers and staff of the Dutch ministry of infrastructure and the environment settled down in Hoek van Holland due to these activities.
Before 1914 Hoek van Holland was a part of the city of ‘s-Gravenzande, however became part of the city of Rotterdam in 1914. In 2014 Hoek van Holland will therefore be celebrating its 150thanniversary and its centenary birthday being part of the city of Rotterdam.
In the beginning of the 20th century Hoek van Holland developed into a unique seaside resort. The beach and the Nieuwe Waterweg, with all its ship movements, became a large tourist attraction. Unfortunately Hoek van Holland severely suffered from the German occupation during the Second World War. The “Old Hoek” was almost completely demolished and most of the population needed to be evacuated due to the plans of the Germans to convert Festung Hoek van Holland into a well guarded and strategic part of their Atlantikwall. Until this day, World War II has left visible marks in Hoek van Holland. The Panzer Fortress of Hook of Holland is now one of the several museums which offer great displays of Hoek van Holland during World War II. Several parts of the huge bunker complexes are free for the public to visit.