Papierfabriek Louis De Naeyer


This is the abandoned paper factory built by industrialist Louis De Naeyer in the city of Willebroek.

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. Stimulated by Louis De Naeyer, Willebroek changed from a farming community into an industrial town.


In the early 1970s there was 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.

Louis De Naeyer also built houses for his workers. He also built a bakery, library and a kindergarten for the workers. 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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