Heliport Rotterdam

Validation date: 28 06 2011
Updated on: 18 01 2016
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51°55'36"N 004°28'55"E

Runway n/a - brick/concrete

Heliport Rotterdam (Dutch: Helihaven Rotterdam) was a heliport in the center of Rotterdam.
In March of 1953 the municipality of Rotterdam asked the Ministry of Transport for permission to set up a heliport in the city on an empty plot of land between Katshoek, Vriendenlaan and Rechter Rottekade. A few days later the management of Belgian airlline SABENA held talks with the city council about a helicopter connection between Rotterdam and Brussels. These talks were to lead to the opening of a freight service starting 1 August that same year.

Overview of Rotterdam Helihaven in the summer of 1953 (from the Dutch Touring Club magazine "De Kampioen", september 1953, via Google Docs)

Rotterdam Helihaven in 1956 (Gerard Gielis)

SABENA Sikorsky S-55 at Rotterdam Heliport, ca. 1958 (source)

Exactly one month later it was to be followed by passenger flights, provided Ministerial approval was granted. The approval came on 11 April, followed a few days later by approval of the city-council. The day construction of the heliport started, two Sabena S-55 helicopters landed on the site. The freight service Rotterdam-Antwerp-Brussels started on 3 August, the passenger service followed on 1 September 1953. Although the Chamber of Commerce endorsed the idea, their initiatives did not lead to expansion. In November 1956 the city council accepted the proposal to improve the field to full heliport.
This allowed operations with the larger and faster S-58 from the site. Out of safety concerns the Ministry of Transport would no longer allow single engine operations from 1 April 1965, however. In October that same year Sabena announced it was forced to move its helicopter operations to Rotterdam Airport. On 1 November 1966 the service Brussels-Rotterdam was cancelled altogether.

SABENA Sikorsky S-55 with Rotterdam City Hall in the background, ca 1958 (source)

Today, due to heavy urban redevelopment, nothing remains of the former heliport. It was located between the Rotterdam Community Archive (dutch: Gemeentearchief) and the Admiraal de Ruijterweg. The terrain is completely built over by apartment buildings, aptly called the Heliport Complex.

The location of Rotterdan Helihaven in modern times (Google Maps)