Ir. D. F. Woudagemaal

Ir. D. F. Woudagemaal

Ir. D. F. Woudagemaal (Monument Outside the Town of Lemmer) is UNESCO World Heritage and the largest steam-driven pumping station in the whole of Europe!

The best-known tourist attraction in Lemmer is the largest steam-driven pumping station in the whole of Europe – and it’s still in working order! What does a pumping station do? With the advent of the age of steam, pumping stations took over the job of windmills draining excess water out of low-lying areas or polders. This architecturally and technically impressive pumping station was designed by engineer D.F. Wouda in 1920 to pump excess water out of a lake district called Friese Boezem and discharge it into the sea. It is listed as World Heritage. The four pitch black steam engines were fuelled first by coal and later by oil. Together with driving wheels, they work eight round centrifugal pumps that move roughly 6 million m3 of water a day. Newer pumping stations have been built in the area but this one is still used on occasion to help reduce very high water levels. In 2002 it pumped for ten consecutive days.

Explore the visitors’ centre and go on a guided tour of the pumping station to learn more about steam power and the engineering techniques that helped keep the area safe from flooding.