Wouda Pumping Station

Lemmer, Netherlands

The ir. D.F. Woudagemaal is the largest still operational steam-powered pumping station in the world. On October 7, 1920 Queen Wilhelmina opened the pumping station. It was built to pump excess water out of Friesland, a province in the north of the Netherlands.

In 1967, after running on coal for 47 years, the boilers were converted to run on heavy fuel oil. It has a pumping capacity of 4,000 m³ per minute. The pumping station is currently used to supplement the existing pumping capacity of the J.L. Hooglandgemaal in case of exceptionally high water levels in Friesland; this usually happens a few days per year.

Since 1998 the ir. D.F. Woudagemaal has been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. The station is open for visitors and tours are given regularly.



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Founded: 1920
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in Netherlands


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jeroen den Dunnen (13 months ago)
The world's biggest steam pumping station, which is not just a historic site, but still in use more than a century after it was built. Very well-preserved beautiful building and surroundings. Knowledgeable guides. With children it's best to visit on a Friday for a specific guided tour for kids.
JP (14 months ago)
Pumping Station from 1920 which is still used to this date in case of high water levels inland. Unesco heritage site. Also a museum, buy tickets online in advance (same day possible) Guided tours through the pumping station and steam shed.
Captain Pete (15 months ago)
Fantastic opportunity to visit the world’s largest steam pumping station still in operation. The machinery still looks like new and is obviously lovingly cared for. Friendly and knowledgeable guides. Can be seen in steam during the winter months, but still worthwhile visiting in the summer.
Levon Amatuni (17 months ago)
Online reservation was not really needed in advance (the lady was even surprised it existed). So, this is a very nice area with a shop, interactive museum at the newly built visitor center, panoramic cafe, cinema room, and of course the magnificent and shiny steam station itself. It takes around 30-40 minutes co completely explore the exposition with the movies in the visitor center on yourself + 50-60 minutes to explore the station itself with the guide tour (only guided is allowed to enter). There was a person available (they are volunteers, not paid) to guide me in English almost immediately when I arrived, but it was a slow day. 9 eur ticket all included. Surprisingly striking place given its historical importance, and would be interesting for visitors of any background.
Alejandro Villaveces (19 months ago)
Really nice, we got to see the machines running so that was a very nice visit.
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