Press Release

Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen receives Mannheim Convention at the Maritime Museum

A unique document arrived by police boat at the Maritime Museum Rotterdam: the Mannheim Convention. Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure and Water Management) accepted the convention, which has ensured free trade on the Rhine for over a century and a half.


From left to right: Bert Boer (General Director Maritime Museum), Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management), Allard Castelein (CEO Port of Rotterdam Authority).
Photographer: Marco de Swart

To mark the 150th anniversary of the convention, the document has been making a historic journey over the Rhine. It has already been exhibited in Mannheim, Bonn and Duisburg, and will now be on display in the Maritime Museum for several months.

‘This Convention ensures that almost 60% of transport between Rotterdam and Germany takes place via water and that there are almost 5 million fewer trucks on the roads. [...] As Minister, it’s an honour to be handed such a historic document in Leuvehaven, and to be able to place it in a beautiful cabinet for display to the public.’

Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Infrastructure and Water Management

Mannheim Convention

The Rhine is the biggest river in Europe and connects Rotterdam with the German hinterland. Yet, for many centuries trading was difficult: maintenance was poor and tolls were high. This situation finally came to an end on 17 October 1868 as a result of the Mannheim Convention. The Convention was signed by six countries along the Rhine: France, the Netherlands and four former German states.
The Mannheim Convention regulates traffic on the Rhine and ensures a free and common transport market. The Convention has been in force for over 150 years. It is an important symbol of European cooperation and
one of the oldest international Conventions still in force.


To mark the arrival of the convention, the Rhine vessel ‘Helena’ will berth at the Maritime Museum Rotterdam harbour on 22 and 23 May. Visitors can board this vessel for free between 1.00 pm and 3.00 pm on presentation of their voting card for the European elections.

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