Abandoned Netherlands: Hembrug Factory

Hembrug is an abandoned ammunition and armament production plant located between Zaandam and Amsterdam. Hembrug was a military-industrial complex that served as the logistical core of the Stelling van Amsterdam (Dutch defense strategy) from 1895, but it lost that duty in 2003 when the Eurometaal plant stopped producing ammunition.

The ‘Artillerie Inrichtingen’ firm picked a new location near Zaandam in 1887. In 1907, the Hembrug Canal was crossed by a gangway bridge. The name of the bridge would eventually be passed on to the corporation. In 1912, the Dutch government purchased the plant, which employed 1.200 people at the time.

Hembrug is inextricably related to the history of Amsterdam’s Defensive Line. The General Defense Park of the Defense Line and the Artillery Institutions were on-site. The Artillery Institutions provided weapons and ammunition to the Defense Line, while the General Defense Park stockpiled supplies. Hembrug was, without a doubt, the beating heart of Amsterdam’s defense line.

During the First World War, the plant employed over 8.500 workers. Because the future was uncertain after the war, the personnel were reduced to two thousand. The company’s structure was altered in 1928 to that of a public limited company, which allowed for more freedom in corporate administration. During WWII, the facility was almost attacked to prevent the Nazi occupation from taking control. Nevertheless, the location was not destroyed, and as a consequence, the German troops gained control. The Nazis kept the plants running during the war, although the workforce was drastically reduced.

Zaandam’s Hembrugterrein, formerly a center for the manufacture of ammunition and armaments, has been turned into a hipster hangout and cultural center brimming with art and innovation.

After a period of decline, the property is now being prepared for return to public use. The release of its first installment in 2014 accelerated this development. The revitalized complex, which borders Amsterdam and Zaandam, now offers tourists a plethora of exciting sites to discover: a cultural center holding various restaurants, museums, and creative spaces. These abandoned industrial photographs were taken in 2013, before the repair.

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