iStock/Yulia-B
iStock/Yulia-B

New Holland: the only artificial island of Saint Petersburg

2 minutes to read

The New Holland Island in Saint Petersburg is unique because it’s the only one, out of all the 42 islands there, that is created by humans. It appeared after two additional canals between the Neva River and the Moika River were excavated. Until the beginning of the 21st century, it was a Baltic fleet zone, and when the island was given to the city, the reconstruction followed. Now, New Holland is a place where industrial charm meets modernity, and the only artificial island of Saint Petersburg.

The story behind New Holland

© Wikimedia/Florstein
© Wikimedia/Florstein

The creation of New Holland Island is directly connected to the time of Saint Petersburg's establishment. Rumour has it, that its title derives from the emperor Peter the Great, city’s founder. He was a big fan of the Netherlands and maritime traditions of the country, so the canals Saint Petersburg has, are of the similar technology Amsterdam masters used. So, the area around the Admiralty where the ship timber was stored had been called ‘Holland’. After Admiralteisky and Kryukov canals had been excavated, this warehouse was transferred to the newly created island. Thus, it got the name of ‘New Holland’

For quite a long time, the island served as a warehouse for different types of things which workers involved in the process of building the shipyard needed. In the 18th century, New Holland underwent massive reconstruction, and all the buildings were replaced with the ones made of stone. All the houses had an appearance of early classicism. Later, it was decided to make everything in a red-brick style. The arc, for which New Holland is famous today, was built. Also, the prison called ‘the bottle house’ was built in the 19th century. The other noteworthy detail there is a so-called ‘ladle’, the artificial pond previously used for testing ships.

What now

© Flickr/Yair Aronshtam
© Flickr/Yair Aronshtam

At last, after quite a long period of tender competition arranging and restoration, New Holland was opened to the public. It underwent modernization, and buildings and premises, previously used for technical purposes mostly, got a new life in the 21st century. Now people can enjoy different workshops and events which are being held there, as well as having a great time in eateries, located in the buildings of historical importance. For example, today the Bottlehouse hosts not only restaurants, but also shopping space with designer stuff, and wellness area with fitness and beauty zone aimed at people who care about their health.

Besides, there is a perfect park zone on New Holland Island, which sounds awesome for those who like lying on the grass. Although gentrified, this space looks very authentic, as it managed to save that feeling of a place which had been closed for public not even years ago, but centuries.

So, if one day, visiting Saint Petersburg, you’d love to see something different and visit an area located off the beaten tourist track, though not that far from the city center, head to the New Holland, the only artificial island of Saint Petersburg. This place will bring you an unforgettable experience. 


Interesting towns related to this story


The author

Maria Selezneva

Maria Selezneva

Hi, I am Maria, or Masha, as Russian speaking people call me. I’m your local guide for must-sees as well as off-the-beaten-track places in Moscow and St. Petersburg. I’ll show you my favourite destinations in both cities, where you can feel the true spirit of local traditions.

Stories you might also like