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Frisian World Heritage Site now open to visitors

Wouda Steam Pumping Station fourth in the Netherlands on the Unesco list

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

TACOZIJL, the Netherlands - The Ir. D.F Wouda Steam Pumping Station, inaugurated (by then Queen Wilhelmina) in 1920 and fully restored in the 1990s, is still in operation and - as a working monument - now open to the public as well.

In 1998, the station became the fourth landmark in the Netherlands (a fifth is the inner city and harbor of Willemstad, Curaçao) to become a World Heritage Site as decreed by Unesco. Since then, two more Dutch landmarks have been added to the prestigious WHS list.

The oldest steam pumping station in Europe still in operation (it can pump 6 million cubic metres of water a day) was designed in 1913 by architect Wouda. The building is representative of the ‘Amsterdam School,’ a wellknown genre of architectural highlights (famed ar-chitect Berlage was one of the style’s main proponents).


The station still plays an important role in the draining of lowlying areas of Friesland, where it is located in the extreme southwest corner of the province, near the port of Lemmer. Its steam pumps were built by Jaffa on specifications by Ir. Dijkshoorn.

The main feature of the 76-year old station - it officially was named after Wouda when he retired as Chief Provincial Engineer in 1947 - is the engine hall, in which the recently restored set of four steam turbines is performing its daily duties. The building will be enhanced with a visitors centre in the near future, now that it is permanently open to the public.

Other sites on list

The former Zuiderzee island Schokland and its immediate surroundings were the first locations to be named to the WHS list in 1995. The following year, the Defense Line of Amsterdam became a World Heritage Site, followed in 1997 by the Kinderdijk Mill network and Willemstad. In 1999 the Beemster Polder joined the exclusive list and last year, the Rietveld-designed Schröder House in Utrecht received the prestigeous award.