Woudagemaal Lemmer, Friesland
Largest steam driven pumping station in the world
Lemmer - Amongst the World Heritage list of UNESCO you find places such as The Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Giza and the Acropolis in Athens. One of the world heritage places in the Netherlands is the Woudagemaal in Lemmer, Friesland. The old building is the largest steam driven pumping station in the world. And up to today it still has an important function to keep the feet of the Dutch dry!
A 50-meter pool can hold 3.9 million liters of water. The Woudagemaal in Lemmer can pump that out completely within a single minute
4000 cubic meters of water per minute
The building, named after the designer Ir. Wouda, was opened in 1920 by Queen Wilhelmina. The pumping station has a capacity of 4000 cubic meters per minute and pumps water from Friesland to the IJsselmeer. In 1976 the duties of the pumping station were largely taken over by a new electric pumping station in Stavoren.
Steam is still needed
At extremely high water, however, the pumping station is still badly needed. Then the boilers are re-fired (putting the steam engines into operation takes about 8 hours) and the pumping station is again fully used to keep the province of Friesland dry.
What do visitors say about Woudagemaal World Heritage?
Machines are a black box these days. You plug it in and it just works. But how? No idea. Such a steam pumping station is a wonderful piece of technology. You can see the boilers, pistons, blades and wheels. There is life in it. It moves! And with all the steam you can also see how much energy is needed to keep our feet dry. If you are interested in technology then you should definitely pay a visit to Lemmer. Preferably on one of the 'Open days' or - even better - when the water is extremely high - then this pumping station shows that it is build to last!