In Rotterdam, the world’s first “floating farm” helps save farmland

The port of Rotterdam is not only the largest in Europe, but also the location of an unusual farm.

Since 2019, dairy cows have been kept here – in a barn that floats in the harbor basin.

“The world is under pressure and there is less and less agricultural land,” says co-owner Minke van Wingerden.

“Our idea is that we can create agricultural land near the city that can adapt to the climate.”

“When we asked the port management if we could set up a dairy farm in the port, we were told: are you really completely nuts?

The owners claim that the floating farm helps “prevent food loss, reduce food transportation and improve food quality”.

The project has however been criticized by the Dutch Animal Welfare Party, especially after two cows fell into the harbor basin and had to be rescued.

A high-tech farm

For most farm operations, there is no need for staff in the floating barn.

A robot takes care of the milking, while the milk is processed directly on site.

Livestock in the port are fed, among other things, with grain from a local brewery and grass clippings produced by mowing Rotterdam’s football pitches and golf courses.

The resulting cow manure is turned into garden pellets.

Amalia H. Mercado