THE ABANDONED FACTORY IN BELGIUM
‘Stoomzagerij Laakdal’ an old sawing mill, was abandoned in the early 1980’s. The company was founded in the 20th century by Alfons Beyens. In 1993 the building got a protected status, but lack of money made the state of the site only worse.
Alfons Beyens was originally a miller. He grinded the grain from the farmers of the village and the surrounding area. However, the farming population also needed sawn timber. Beyens then decided to purchase a tree saw. Initially, the activities were limited to sawing wood, but gradually the company grew into a fully-fledged sawmill.
The steam engine ‘De Nobele, Nolet & Bracq, Gand’ was built between 1910 and 1920 by a company in Tienen. In 1953 the steam sawmill switched to electricity. The sawmill had its heyday in the 1960s. The company was still in operation at the time of the investigation for the protection procedure in the early 1990s, but was shut down around 2000.
The many years of decay made the mill a beautiful place to wander around. The old steam driven machines are all covered in green. Inside the workshop all the tools and machine are still there, covered in dust and rust.
During my visit some of the halls were already collapsed and without interference the whole site will be a ruin soon. In 2001 the site was sold to the city, but still there are no financial assistances. I took these photos of the ‘Stoomzagerij Laakdal’ in 2008. Part of the sawmill was demolished in 2012. Today, the Stoomzagerij is located in a residential area. The steam sawmill will soon be restored with a heritage premium from the Flemish government.