The RDM-terrain and buildings, together with the Quarantine terrain and the garden village Heijplaat form a port area with a high cultural and historical value. At the Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij (Rotterdam Dry Docks), Rotterdam’s most famous shipyard, ships were once built for the Holland America Line like the cruise ship SS Rotterdam. Now companies, students and researchers work together on sustainable technical innovations at RDM Rotterdam.
In 1899 a number of Rotterdam entrepreneurs decided it was time to revive the Rotterdam shipbuilding industry and the Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij (RDM) was inaugurated in 1903.
Because the site location was difficult to reach from Rotterdam, the then Director decided that there had to be good houses near the wharf, in an attractive environment. In 1917 the village Heijplaat with 311 houses designed by architect Baanders became a reality.
In the years that followed both the RDM and the village Heijplaat expanded. The Dokhaven was excavated, and the RDM terrain gained among other things an ironwork shed, a new office and entrance building, a canteen with a library, a forge, a foundry and a large shipbuilding hall. In the late forties, Dok 8 was added for the repair of very large vessels.
The RDM grew to become one of Europe’s largest shipyards. In the late fifties, the newest flagship of the Holland America Line was built: the SS Rotterdam. The years following this were difficult for RDM, but it remained active – significantly downsized – as a government limited company in the defence industry and equipment manufacturing until the mid-nineties.
The RDM site was purchased by the Port Authority in 2002 and the industrial heritage renovated and developed. RDM Rotterdam is now a location for creative and innovative entrepreneurs in the manufacturing industry. Some of the rooms/areas can be hired for business meetings. The old boardrooms are wonderful examples of Dutch Art Deco style.
The village Heijplaat carries the status of an urban conservation area. In the quiet streets, you can imagine yourself back in the past.
RDM Rotterdam and Heijplaat can be found just past the Waalhaven right in the middle of the Rotterdam port area. The fastest way from Rotterdam is by Waterbus, a boat that departs from the Erasmus Bridge.