Ulft – DRU iron works
I1
Ulft
1754

Ulft – DRU iron works

Ulft – DRU iron works
Ulft – DRU iron works
Ulft – DRU iron works
Ulft – DRU iron works
Ulft – DRU iron works
Ulft – DRU iron works

The DRU iron works in Ulft is a symbol of the iron industry, which has played a prominent role in the Achterhoek region since the 18th century. For a long time, the company was the biggest employer in Ulft. The DRU has since moved to apurpose-built site in Duiven and the old factory buildings have been given a second lease of lifeas an industrialheritage site.

Iron industry
The IJssel region is often referred to as the birthplace of the Dutch iron industry. In the 17th century people started smelting locally-extracted iron ore in small blast furnaces. Together with the neighbouring Isselgebiet in Germany, the Achterhoek region had around ten iron foundries. Remarkably, the impetus for the Ulft iron foundry came from the nobility, namely Count van Bergh. In 1754, he founded the Olde Hut Iron Foundry with some other well-to-dogentlemen.

DRU
It was not until the arrival of Bernard Diepenbrock and his nephews Theodor and Bernard Reigers that DRU truly gained momentum. They came from the German town of Bocholt, where they also owned an iron foundry. The two families became owners of the works in 1831 and the name was changed to Diepenbrock en Reigers te Ulft (DRU). In the 18th century, it still mostly produced hearth-plates and cannonballs, but the range was gradually expanded to include iron grids, baths, enamel pans, car parts, gas fireplaces and stoves. The DRU was the biggest employer in the area and became so important that the Old IJssel was diverted to accommodate it.

Reuse
DRU moved out of Ulft in 1999. Whereas in the past DRU used to symbolise the iron industry, nowadays it is one of the most successful examples of the reuse of industrial heritage in the Netherlands. The gatehouse has been turned into a culture factory, with a theatre, library, catering facilities, meeting rooms and a concert hall. The enamelling plant contains residential accommodation and the offices of a housing association. The boiler houseis being converted into a hotel and the dressing shop – very appropriately – will soon house the Dutch Iron Museum.

Ulft – DRU iron works
Ulft – DRU iron works
Ulft – DRU iron works
Ulft – DRU iron works
Ulft – DRU iron works
Ulft – DRU iron works

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