THE ABANDONED FACTORY IN BELGIUM
This ‘Henkel’ factory in Herent produced Persil washing powder. Henkel was founded in 1876 by Fritz Henkel in Aachen. The Herent factory was built in 1935.
Henkel AG & Company, headquartered in Düsseldorf, is a multinational company active both in the consumer and industrial sector. The company is organized into three globally operating business units: firstly laundry and home care, secondly beauty care and thirdly adhesive technologies. The company is most known for brands such as Persil and Fa amongst others.
The brand Persil was first introduced in 1907. The factory in Henkel was opened in 1935 to produce Persil because for the increasing market in Europe. Persil was the first commercial self-activated laundry detergent, which means a bubbles forming bleach (sodium perborate) with a soap component (silicate). As a matter of fact the abbreviation of the two main components perborate and silicate compose the product name.
Since the late 1990s the washing powders were mostly took over by the liquid soaps. However Herent wasn’t prepared for the liquid and concentrated washing detergents. Consequently it closed in 2002. As a result 214 people lost their job. Eventually the site was changed to a living area in 2008. Some parts of the old factory buildings were demolished. I visited ‘Henkel Herent’ in 2005. Also check this Dutch soap factory in Vlaardingen.