Bekaert Hemiksem


Bekaert Hemiksem is a business that deals in steel wire transformation and coatings. They produced steel cord to reinforce rubber tires, barbwire, steel fibers for concrete reinforcement and many other products.

In 1880 Leo Leander Bekaert starts up a small business in barbed wire by putting nails in twisted wire. Although he didn’t invent barbed wire, he did designed 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. I took these photos of Bekaert Hemiksem in 2016. Suddenly after my visit, the factory was demolished.

Built 1953
Abandoned 2008
Demolished 2016
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