The Hembrugterrein is a little known spot about 9km outside of Amsterdam, where the HollandRoute House is situated. This 45 acre piece of land used to be a munitions factory for over a century because it was seen as one of the safest places for production, and testing.
Now, many of the buildings are still in a state of disrepair, but the plan is to get companies to invest in the area and bring these buildings back to life. I went on a tour with the project co-ordinator Mauro Smit to explore the area.
The HollandRoute house is situated in the old railway station of the factory, and Mauro’s office is in the back of this:
During peacetime, the factory was used to make other things, including lathes.
There is an area which is where the public can walk around, and the forest is out of bounds, unless you are on a tour. This is a map of the whole terrain.
Between 1895, when the land was designated to be used for munitions production during wartime, and the 1900’s many of the buildings were knocked down, and rebuilt so there are many different architectural styles throughout the complex
They also tested explosives and mustard gas here, and so all of the workers designated to this area had to put anything that could potentially cause an explosion into these little postboxes (matches, lighters, cigarettes), and it was closed off to other employees.
This was a really interesting tour, and if you are a part of a group you can book to go to the closed parts of the Hembrugterrein for a look around (e-mail them for a quote). It is also possible to look around in the unrestricted area at no cost. You can get there either by car or bike – it is 9km away from Amsterdam.
Thankyou to Amsterdam Marketing for providing this tour free of charge – as always, my opinions are my own.