Initially there were two citizen initiatives interested in developing the location, Leefwerf de Biesbosch and one that wanted to turn the former shipyard into a maritime heritage cluster with a museum. The municipality urged the two initiatives to unite, which they did for some time. But due to internal conflicts, they split up and only the foundation Leefwerf de Biesbosch continued to exist in 2014.

The municipality together with OCW (the private developer group) commissioned a consultancy in May 2016 to investigate if a new developed plan for the Zuidelijke insteekhaven (the Southern Entry port as part of the new Stadswerven neighborhood) with the ideas of the Leefwerf de Biesbosch would be compatible with the masterplan for the surrounding area of Stadswerven and how it could add value to the area. As an outcome of that investigation, Leefwerf de Biesbosch could continue its plans and discussions with the other involved parties.

To receive money for the realization of the project, the initiative handed in a petition to the municipality in May 2017 to which the municipality reacted by confirming/ reserving a subsidy of 150.000€ under the condition that a well-developed plan for the project will be handed in. The initiative requested a subsidy of 200.000€ from the province of South Holland in 2017 which they got confirmed under the condition that 10 berths will be provided for the initiative (according to Leefwerf de Biesbosch the project is only profitable with 10 berths).

However, the municipality decided in a council meeting in the end of 2017 to not give out a permission for 10 berths which meant that the requirements by the province were not met and subsequently the province South Holland threatened to withdraw their subsidy.

Together with the help of an advisor (an outstanding civil servant of the municipality of Dordrecht) the initiative handed in another proposal to the municipality which was approved. It stated that the municipality does support the ideas of the initiative. With the approved proposal, Leefwerf de Biesbosch was able to proof that the province did not have legal grounds to withdrawal the subsidy and that the municipality in fact does want to support the plans of the initiative. Furthermore, the initiative was able to get access to another subsidy of 500.000€ from the municipality. This enabled them to develop their plans for the Zuidelijke Insteekhaven together with the real estate developer (OCE) and the project developer of the neighborhood Stadswerven (AM) from the municipality further. Currently the initiative is still in discussion with the real estate developer whether to place 10 or 5/6 ship in the harbor and if only 5 where to place the other 5. There are still different opinions about the impact, relevance and local embedding of the citizen project. The Southern peninsula of the Stadswerven area is supposed to become connected to the old center area with a new to be built pedestrian and cycling bridge

Geographical area

Within the urban development project of the new Stadswerven neighborhood, a bottom up citizen initiative plans a combination of living and working environment aboard monumental heritage ships, coupled to a vision of sustainable, self-reliant and openly accessible “living on the water” plus a floating park, while also including historical ships and acknowledging the cultural heritage of shipping in the region.

The land for the new Stadswerven neighborhood originally used to belong to the municipality but was sold to a real estate developer. Around 2008/9 the municipality ‘bought’ the land back but had to grant the real estate company exclusive rights in terms of the development of the area. This situation has been perceived as a problem by the citizen initiative claiming that the municipality has been hesitant towards supporting them due to the conflicting legal situation with the real estate company.

East of the old city center in the city of Dordrecht, the new neighborhood development of the Stadswerven area is planned around old harbor areas; the Zuidelijke Insteekhaven (“Southern Entry port”). The newly developing neighborhood was formerly part of the trade port and is located at the meeting point of the three rivers: Noord, Oude Maas, Beneden-Merwede.

Project Timeline