Stoomgemaal in Lemmer

Steam pumping station in action

The largest steam pumping station in the world never fails to impress. In the huge machine hall there are four steam engines with four powerful flywheels, which are still operational. The steam engines and flywheels drive eight  centrifugal pumps (make Jaffa pumps) that move about 6 million m³ of water per day. The Woudagemaal is brought under steam at least twice a year by Wetterskip Fryslân.


Not only during the special training days is the Woudagemaal put under steam. The largest, still functioning steam pumping station in the world still plays a crucial role in the Frisian water authority to this day. When there is a lot of rain or during a persistent storm, the Woudagemaal can be used to help keep the Frisian water at the same level. For example, the steam pumping station was commissioned last September to lower the water level of the Frisian lakes and canals. The pumping station was preventively put into operation by Wetterskip Fryslân due to the heavy rainfall. With the help of the Woudagemaal, the water level can be temporarily lowered, so that eventually more rain can be collected.


Before the steam pumping station can actually pump water away, a certain pressure must first be built up. To fill the boilers with water, preheat the heavy fuel oil and start the eight pumps one by one, a team of at least eleven people is needed. After six hours of starting up and warming up, the almost 100-year-old machine runs at full speed. And that's a fantastic sight. Would you like more information about the operation of the steam pumping station? In our visitor center you will find everything about Woudagemaal, fun for both young and old!


A unique spectacle

It is a unique and magisterial experience when the Woudagemaal is brought under steam. Because the monumental Woudagemaal has an important practical function in the Frisian water authority, it is operated and maintained by a permanent technical team. The complete steam crew consists of fifteen men. Not only is it a spectacular sight to see this impressive building going up 'in steam', it is also a great experience to take a look behind the scenes at the largest, still functioning steam pumping station in the world. During the training days interested people are very welcome. Check our calendar, order your tickets in advance and take a tour with one of our hundreds of volunteers.