Historie van het Woudagemaal

History of the Ir. D. F. Woudagemaal

Woudagemaal It was built at the end of the steam era. During the 19th and first half of the 20th century large parts of Fryslân were flooded during the winter. To counter flooding in Fryslân, it was decided in 1913 to build a steam pumping station at Lemmer. In 1920, the steam pumping station was opened by Queen Wilhelmina. As the largest working steam pumping station in the world, it still has a practical function in the Frisian water system to this day.


Steam, water and architecture

The pumping station is named after Ir Dirk Frederik Wouda MSc (1880-1961), then Chief Engineer of the Provincial Public Works. He was responsible for the design and implementation of the pumping station in the style of the Rationalism. This style is characterized by the use of ratio and symmetry in the architecture.  In the calculation of the mechanical installations, Ir Wouda MSc was assisted by Ir. J.C. Dijxhoorn MSc (1862-1941) of the Technical University of Delft.


Monument on steam

Until the construction of the electric Hoogland pumping station in Stavoren (1966), the steam pumping station was used to control the level of Frisian surface water. The pumping station now only comes into action at extremely high water levels, which occurs twice a year on average.

In addition to emergency pumping stations, this special building is of great importance in other areas. The smokestack  with a height  sixty meters is a recognizable point (beacon) for skippers on the IJsselmeer. In addition, the building and the steam engines are attractions for architectural or steam enthusiasts. 
The architecturally and technically valuable Woudagemaal has been a protected monument since 1977, and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1998.


Visit Woudagemaal

The rich history, the operation of the pumping station and the special contribution that the steam pump station still provides to the Frisian water system, is discussed extensively within the pumping station itself or the visitor center. Let yourself be guided and informed by our volunteers or with the audio tour, which can be heard in ten different languages. The Woudagemaal is also suitable for various special occasions, check our arrangements.


Do you want to see the pumping station in full action? View the agenda for the training days and order your tickets online!