Worlds largest sea lock opened yesterday

The sea lock, at the mouth of the North Sea Canal at IJmuiden, is 500 meters long, 70 meters wide and 18 meters deep. The new, larger sea lock replaces the Noordersluis from 1929 and thanks to the new lock, the increasingly larger seagoing vessels will still be able to sail to the port of Amsterdam. The lock is the largest in the world and costed €800 million including a a very large €300 million overshoot.

Rotterdam, only a spitting distance away and locks free, is looking on in amazement and wonder why such an expensive lock, coming mainly out of the tax payers pockets, was necessary just to accommodate a small number of cruise ships whose passengers hardly spend money, apart from buying a coffee, beer or drugs.

So does Amsterdam want the huge ships? Are they having a rethink about having the largest ships park next to its central station? Ship guests pour off in their thousands and rarely contribute to the local economy. At best most buy a coffee, but not even a snack when the ship is that close and the food is free. Many cities have been threatening, but Amsterdam has implemented, a bedroom tax like hotels have to pay. Because the ship has brought their bedrooms into the city! From the start of 2019 Amsterdam has charged an €8 per person for visitors staying 24 hours or less, which is every cruise passenger on the ship. Many places are under pressure to do the same so this could start a domino effect. The cruise lines, Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) and MSC Cruises, have already found alternative ports, normally Rotterdam!


The purpose of the North Sea canal and its locks since 1865 is to serve all of the Netherlands and not just Amsterdam for the next hundred years.

By : Herbert Smitz - Honorary Engineer Flemish Authority
Photo: Machiel Kraaij ©

May we congratulate the port of Amsterdam and IJmuiden by the inauguration January 26, 2022, of the in volume second largest lock in the world. The “Sluis IJmuiden” with a width of 70 m surpasses the Kieldrechtlock (68 m) in the Port of Antwerp (Waaslandhaven).
With a length of 545 m between the doors you exceed the length of the Kieldrechtlock which has a length of 500 m between the exterior doors. In a previous issue of MARITIME PRESS CLIPPINGS 2017 – 222 “Comparing recent European Sea-Locks: not so easy as it looks”, we were already able to demonstrate that the water column in the Kieldrechtlock is far superior in favour of the Kieldrechtlock.This, both in reference to the level in the dock complex Waaslandhaven (Antwerp) versus the level in the North Sea Canal (Amsterdam), and both in reference to the level in the Zeeschelde at average High Tide versus the average High Tide level at IJmuiden. So that we have to conclude that the volume of water content into the Kieldrechtlock significantly (+7%) exceeds this of the lock IJmuiden.

Kieldrechtlock Port of Antwerp (Waaslandhaven

That is why we consider ourselves lucky that both locks IJmuiden- and Kieldrechtlock achieve record dimensions, on the one hand Amsterdam in terms of length and width, at the other hand Antwerp in terms of content.
However, not only dimensions are important, especially the usefulness of such locks to provide safe access to the port area and hinterland, and thus give rise to a source of activities, employment and added value in the respective ports.
To illustrate the benefits and advantages of ports - on the occasion that it is fifty years ago that the realization of hydraulic engineering infrastructure (Kallolock) was started (1-4-1971) - a travelling photo exhibition is currently and until August this year, running through the Wase municipalities around the Waasland port (Port of Antwerp on the Left Bank). Such a photographic overview enhanced the social support among the population living around the port, and certainly those working in the port itself.
Congratulations Amsterdam and IJmuiden by the realization and start of the exploitation of the "Sluis IJmuiden"

The first vessel to pass officially the new IJmuiden lock was the BONTRUP AMSTERDAM above seen assisted by the Port Towage Amsterdam oprated tugs VENUS and SVITZER TEMPEST
Photo: Peter Maanders – Port Towage Amsterdam (c).
(Ftom Maasmond Newsclipping today)

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No ships in the big new lock at the moment:

The lock complex in Ijmuiden at sunset
Photo: Flying Focus Aerial Photography ©

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