In the mid 1850s, the son of a merchant decides to set up a straw-based pulp factory. He chooses a small village along a canal to set up his new factory. He needs a lot of water for the process, and it’s an easy way of transporting the straw to the factory and the pulp to some nearby cities. The factory was soon producing 8000 kilos of pulp a day using two steam engines. Two years later he goes even bigger by asking permission to build six more steam engines. It was the biggest pulp factory in Europe.
The employees were attracted by providing subsidised housing nearby the factory, but salaries were below average and the rules and regulations were very strict; being caught drinking alcohol on a sunday resulted in wage loss. The same penalty was given for rebelliousness, carelessness and doing damage to property. The employees worked between 12 and 14 hours a day. Still, many people are thankful up to this day for the good things he brought to the town. After being ten years into business, the pulp production had risen to a staggering 40.000 kilos a day. It was only in the 1870s that they actually started to produce their own paper instead of only exporting the pulp. Coincidentally, after the boss died in the early 1900s, the first laws for the protection of workers were written.
In the early 2000s the factory management applies for bankruptcy, being millions in debt. The majority of the buildings were quickly demolished. For a brief period a steam boiler/biomass company used the old administration building as their office, but they soon moved to new buildings. Now the administration building and some leftover buildings are standing neglected. Unfortunately vandals have found their way inside too, many parts have fallen victim to graffiti. Fortunately, the beautiful main staircase with marble walls and a big stained glass window is still undamaged!