Den Ammoniak

THE ABANDONED FACTORY IN BELGIUM

‘Den Ammoniak’ was an abandoned factory in Willebroek. Its official name was ‘Ammoniaque Synthétique et Dérivés’ or ‘ASED’. The company produced chemical fertilizer, ammoniac and industrial acids from the gas taken from the nearby cokes ovens.

Until the 19th century, Willebroek was a rural community, the population lived mainly from farming. However, the industrialization of the city began in 1860 with the establishment of a paper and steam boiler plant by Louis De Naeyer. Due to this rapidly evolving company, Willebroek experienced enormous growth. For example, in 1875 ‘S.A. de Construction et des Ateliers de Willebroeck’ or ‘Den IJzeren’, an iron constructions factory was built. Later ‘Association Métallurgique pour la fabrication du Coke’ locally known as ‘De Cokes’ was inaugurated in 1901. This cokes plant produced not only blast furnace cokes, but also gas as byproduct.

For this reason, this ‘Den Ammoniak’ factory was built close to the cokes plant. Nearby, the Willebroek canal, that was widened and deepened from 1900 until 1922 in order to meet the evolution of the economy and shipping.

Reconversion and demolition

In 1989, the old ASED ammoniac factory ceased production, and the ‘Imerys’ company purchased the site. Different companies reconverted and reused most of the halls. However, some illegal dumping and burnings occurred in two halls that remained untouched. Nowadays, many companies occupy the reconverted site. I visited ‘Den Ammoniak’ in 2005. Also check this other Belgian fertilizer factory, SAFEA.

Built 1928
Abandoned 2008
Demolished 2013
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