Het Ir. D. F. Woudagemaal

Visit the largest still functioning steam pumping station in the world

The Ir. D. F. Woudagemaal in Lemmer

The Ir. D.F. Woudagemaal is the largest, still functioning steam pumping station in the world. The Woudagemaal was opened in 1920 by Queen Wilhelmina, and its job was pumping excess water from Friesland into the Zuiderzee, and later into the IJsselmeer. In 1966, the Woudagemaal received reinforcement of the electric Hoogland pumping station in Stavoren. The Woudagemaal from 1920 is owned by Wetterskip Fryslân. At extremely high water, the historic steam pumping station is still used to discharge excess water into the IJsselmeer.


During the winters of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, large parts of Fryslân were flooded. To counter this flooding, it was decided to build a steam pumping station at Lemmer in 1913. The pumping station is named after Ir. Dirk Frederik Wouda MSc, he served as Chief Engineer at the time of the Provincial Public Works and was responsible for the style and performance of the building. To this day, the Woudagemaal still plays a crucial role within the Frisian water authority!


Since 1998, the Woudagemaal has been one of the ten UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Netherlands. The steam pump station owes this not only to its important contribution within the Frisian water system, but also to the special architecture and the unique application of steam power by Dutch water authority experts.


A unique day out

The Woudagemaal is owned by Wetterskip Fryslân, on average twice a year the pumping station is brought under steam, to train the operating staff in practice. In this way they can also guarantee the operation of the steam pumping station. It is a magisteric experience when the Woudagemaal is brought under steam. During this unique spectacle, steam, water and architecture come together. View our agenda for the training days!


Even outside the unique steam spectacle, the Woudagemaal is a fun day out for both young and old. A visit to the Woudagemaal starts in the adjacent visitor center. Learn all about the rich history and operation of the Woudagemaal, or take a tour with one of our more than one hundred volunteers. There is also a ten-language audio tour app available, allowing visitors to experience the different parts of the pumping station during the tour in their own language. Both the visitor center and the pumping station are accessible for wheelchairs.


The Woudagemaal also offers various arrangements for young and old, large or small groups and for different occasions. Experience the best day out in Woudagemaal in Lemmer! View our opening hours or buy your tickets online.