The Irish. D.F. Woudagemaal is the largest, still working steam pumping station in the world. The architecturally and technically valuable steam pumping station has been a protected monument since 1977 and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1998. The Royal Dutch Mint is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the impressive example of Dutch water management with a commemorative coin.
A magical experienceAn impressive amount of steam and a considerable sound: whoever visits the Woudagemaal when it is put under steam, is faced with a special scene. It takes about six hours to fill the boilers with water and start up. The result is breathtaking; the whole building disappears, as it were, in the steam that triggers the process. The Woudagemaal comes into operation at least twice a year. During the pre-determined shooting days, this is mainly for training employees and volunteers. The pumping station is (still) used even at extremely high water levels. Even when the Woudagemaal is standing still, it is worth a visit. The imposing sixty meter high chimney pipe can be seen from afar and is a recognizable beacon for skippers on the IJsselmeer. The special architecture also gives the machine hall a unique appearance, where the four impressive main steam engines that drive the pumps are housed. The Woudagemaal visitor center, where about 120 volunteers work, is open from February to December. Here you will find an interactive exhibition space and a real 3D cinema where the impressive film 'Stoom en Water' is shown. Discover the historyThe Woudagemaal in Lemmer has a rich history. Chief engineer of the Provincial Water Management of Friesland, engineer Dirk Frederik Wouda, designed the pumping station in 1917-1918. The stately building has a beautiful traditional style with influences from rationalism, an architectural movement from the early twentieth century. The Woudagemaal was festively opened on 7 October 1920 by the then Queen Wilhelmina. Before the steam pumping station came into operation, the excess Frisian reservoir water was transported to the Zuiderzee and Waddenzee for centuries by means of windmills and locks. This became increasingly problematic in the course of the nineteenth century due to the subsidence of the peat soil. The construction of the steam pumping station at Lemmer was a major leap forward in the field of water management in the water-rich province. And with success! From 1966 the Frisian waters were up to standard and the work was partly taken over by the electric Hoogland pumping station in Stavoren. Nevertheless, the reliable Woudagemaal is still in use and owned by Wetterskip Fryslân. It attracts many architecture and steam enthusiasts every year.