The Clayware Factory

The clayware production on this location is estimated to date back to 1675, but the now oldest building on the premise is from the 19th century. It’s located in an area where all the necessary materials can be found, like clay, sand and peat. The production happened completely by hand on pottery wheels, until in 1892 a steam engine was bought. The production of certain products, like flower pots and tubes, could now be done by mechanical presses. In 1904 even the roof tiles could be pressed with a newly designed press.


In 1917 the steam engine was taken out, and the factory began to run on electricity. Things went well for the factory, it survived the economical crisis of the 1930’s, stayed unharmed in World War II and afterwards some additional buildings were built. Between 1950 and 1960, roughly a hundred Dutch people worked in the factory, but slowly they were replaced by cheaper immigrant workers. The working conditions were bad and the wages were low. Eventually the number of employees began to shrink and the end of the factory was in sight. Still it produced items in a traditional manner on a small scale until 2000.

From then on, the factory stands unused. Time hasn’t frozen here, the forces of nature are beating down hard on the buildings. Especially the wooden buildings are decaying fast, and some have even collapsed. I was surprised and shocked to see that between my two visits in 2012 and 2014, a huge wooden shed had collapsed. The smithy, as can be seen in the 360° panorama, is in the process of collapsing and probably won’t stay up for very long anymore. Most of the buildings are proclaimed national monuments, but the buildings weren never maintained after the closure. The present owner can’t demolish the factory because of its monumental status, and a lack of financal help makes renovation impossible. In 2011 a lawsuit was filed against the owner by an industrial heritage foundation, demanding that the buildings must become water- and windproof, but nothing has happened yet. In my honest opinion, it’s far too late anyway. This factory will demolish itself!

From an urban explorers point of view, this is a rare gem in the ever so tidy Netherlands. Abandonments are scarce, and the lack of vandalism is amazing. For the sake of protection against vandals and thiefs, I won’t announce the actual name of the factory.

The photos are from 2012, 2014 and 2015.