The Drie Hoefijzers Brewery or “Brouwhuis” in the Dutch city of Breda is an old brewery. It stopped operating over 10 years ago, back in 2004. I visited the abandoned brewery a little while ago, during the national Open Monuments Day or Heritage Day (Open monumentendag).
Exploring an Abandoned Brewery
Every year, about 4000 monuments and heritage sites open their doors without admission fees on Open Monuments Day. Some of those monuments, like the brewery, are usually off-limits to the public. Naturally, this was an opportunity I wasn’t going to pass up! Although the brewery wasn’t at the top of my list, I was completely surprised by the captivating interior.
16th Century History
The original brewery that eventually became the Brouwhuis was first founded in 1538, just after the Late Middle Ages. The brewery was named after a nearby blacksmith. The blacksmith’s shop sign included three horseshoes. Accordingly, the brewery was named De Drie Hoefijzers, which translates into “The Three Horseshoes”. The building changed owners several times, but remained an important brewery for many centuries. The brewery was completely rebuilt in 1887 with many fashionable Art Deco elements. The combination of the bright blue tiles, broken boilers, dusty atmosphere, and stained glass windows created an almost mystical effect.
The new owners started production of Oranjeboom and Skol beer, but the enterprise became unprofitable. This happened during the 20th century. Eventually, the brewery had to close down in 2004. Fortunately, the old brewery was never truly discarded and new development plans are already in full force. According to the plans, the old brewery will become a residential and commercial complex, including a restaurant, nursery, bicycle parking, and office spaces.
I’m glad I managed to capture the place before its transformation. Maybe I’ll go back for a “before and after” shoot once everything is finished!