Residents in Rotterdam neighbourhood evacuated for WWII bomb dismantlement

Residents in Rotterdam neighbourhood evacuated for WWII bomb dismantlement

Around 1.100 Rotterdam residents have been evacuated from their homes on Thursday, while a bomb from the Second World War is dismantled by the Dutch Explosive Ordinance Disposal Service (EOD). The area around Claes de Vrieselaan in Rotterdam will be closed to the public between the hours of 8am and 8pm on May 30. 

Claes de Vrieselaan, Rotterdam closed to avoid any risk while bomb dismantled

The unexploded British Royal Air Force bomb from the Second World War has remained eight metres underneath Claes de Vrieselaan since 1941. The EOD identifies explosives such as this one and clears them more than 2.500 times a year. 

At 8am on Thursday morning, the police ensured that the 700 homes in the cordoned-off area were empty. The municipality of Rotterdam has arranged a hotel for everyone who couldn’t find shelter for the day and the animal ambulance (Dierenambulance) is ready to take in any pets with nowhere else to go. 

The municipality has stressed that there is a very minimal chance of anything going wrong during the bomb dismantlement, but both the municipality and EOD want to avoid any risk.

Unexploded WWII bombs in over 200 places in Rotterdam

Many people have seen the photos of Rotterdam before and after the 1940 bombing, but what many might not know about this part of Dutch history is that some of the bombs dropped on the city by both Nazi Germany and the Allies remain unexploded. Research shows that there are dormant bombs in over 200 Rotterdam locations. 

The last time an unexploded bomb was dismantled in Rotterdam was in 1998, when thousands of residents were also evacuated. Dormant bombs are removed as they can leak harmful chemicals into the soil and water and could still explode if struck during construction.

Simone Jacobs


Simone Jacobs

Simone is originally from South Africa, where she studied Genetics and Zoology. She enjoys reading, hiking and animal training.

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