Bekaert Hemiksem

Built: 1953

Abandoned: 2008

Demolished: 2016

Visited: 2016

Hemiksem, Belgium

Bekaert is a business that deals in steel wire transformation and coatings. In 1880 Leo Leander Bekaert starts up a small business in barbed wire by putting nails in twisted wire. He didn’t invent barbed wire, but he soon designs his own barbs: star-shaped crowns with six sharp points which can be woven into the wire.


During the 1980s the steel cord capacity in many plants, including the one in Hemiksem, is significantly increased based on rising demand for radial tires. While starting factories all over the world the buildings of Bekaert Hemiksem became old and expensive. The steel-wire factory closed its doors in 2008 and 264 jobs were lost.

After the demolition, the 25 hectare site will be cleaned. The municipality aims at filling the brownfield site to a mix of housing, care, retail and green.

Photos Bekaert Hemiksem

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