2009, Photography

These photographs are of the most important factory in my hometown. Once the pride with more then 4,000 employees, it stopped its production line in the beginning of the 21st century. High production costs and loans here, and alternative cheap labor in East-Europe and Asia made their product, viscose, too expensive to sell.

Now they break down the factory. Within 10 years over 5,000 people will live here. Some of these buildings will remain standing as a remembrance of our industrial cultural heritage.


All photographs by Wouter Brandsma


12 thoughts on “Breakdown

  1. Wonderful series, I get such mixed emotions from old run down places that have such a rich history of impacting lives.

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Oooh this screams for trespassing! Come on… Be daring! I bet it will be awesome to photograph it from the inside… if it’s not guarded by dogs.

    Very depressing. 🙂

    1. Well Mark, that was a slow process. At first, before the war, the factory was labor intensive, but near the end the factory had less then 1,500 employees. Thankfully the factory stopped at a prosperous time and many found a new job.

  3. Hi Wouter,

    I really like the photos. The top one is the best, excellent composition. I like the way the barbed wire divides the frame into thirds and how the building follows the parallel of the wire. The low contrast adds to the mood and the whole photo, and you probably won’t like this, reminds me of Auschwitz. Arbeit Macht Frei. Poignant and potent. I suppose one can draw a little parallel with the horror of the Nazi death camps with modern labour camps where the inmates are enslaved and ensnared to their ruthless capitalist and commercial master.

    I do believe it is very important to record such buildings, a record to history in the best tradition of Eugene Atget. Many of the places he photographed now only exist on his plates. Perhaps, one day, your picture may be the only trace of this building long gone, passed beyond time and memory. And people may say “I wonder what went on there, what were their lives like?” Today is history tomorrow.

    All the Best


    1. I understand you erie feeling with first photo. It reminded my of the same thing. But nowhere you could find a better job then in this factory. Good salaries, personal growth potential, and many secondary features for its employees. In the end though the factory was sold to an investment group and it became ruthless capitalism.

      Maybe my photograph will some day remember people of the past. If just only one.


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