Papierfabriek Louis De Naeyer


This is the abandoned paper factory built by industrialist Louis De Naeyer in the city of Willebroek, a municipality located in the Belgian province of Antwerp. The company that was established in 1860 and eventually went bankrupt in 2004.

In 1860 De Naeyer asked the municipality of Willebroek a permit to build a paper mill with two steam engines on a piece of land located along the canal. The factory make paper pulp with straw as raw material that was brought in by ship from the Netherlands.

Willebroek in 1860 was a rural town with no industry except eight breweries, the city then counted 3.520 inhabitants, located at 1.185 homes.  Willebroek is linked to Brussels by the Willebroek Canal. Stimulated by Louis De Naeyer, Willebroek changed from a farming community into an industrial town.


In the early 1970s there were eight tons of paper pulp produced every day, a working day lasted about 12 to 14 hours for both men and women. Around 1975 the mill produced about 40 tons of paper pulp a day. The war between France and Germany led to a lack of straw. Therefore, De Naeyer experimented with softwood. The wood fibers were boiled in a solution of calcium bisulfite and to make paper of dough.

The company also built houses for his workers. He also built a bakery, library, and a kindergarten for the workers and their family. In 2004 the factory went bankrupt. I visited the site in 2015, the site will be reconverted in 2020.

Built 1860
Abandoned 2004
Demolished 2019
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