This is one of the larger buildings on this section of the site. It used to be the filling and cartridge-loading workshop. A cartridge discharges a shot. The cartridge comprises the bullet, the powder charge, the percussion cap, and the shell containing all of these.
History of the buildings on the Hembrug site
For more than a hundred years, the Hembrug site in Zaandam was devoted to the national ammunition and weapons factory ‘Artillerie Inrichtingen’. Weapons and ammunition were made, tested, and stored here in the utmost secrecy. Discover the rich history of the Hembrug site and what the various buildings were used for in the days when Hembrug was still an ammunition and weapons factory.
The buildings on the Hembrug site often have nicknames; officially the buildings numbers rather than names. These numbers do not match the house numbers that the buildings have recently received. The seemingly random numbers are the result of buildings being demolished and built over time.
On several buildings on the Hembrug site, you can find signs with QR codes. Scan such codes with your phone and read about the history of the building.
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This was where primers and tracers were produced. Pressing explosives was a high-risk activity. The contact between an explosive and the oxidizing agent improves when they are mixed, pressed, and ground.
Here, cartridge shells – the casing around the powder charges in weapons – were lacquered. The building was part of the complex where cartridges were produced. Later on, it was used as a washing and changing room.
This used to be the trotyl press shop. Trotyl is short for trinitrotulene, an explosive used to fill grenades. In the workshop, the trotyl was weighed then pressed into small cubes. Mixing, pressing, and grinding improves the contact between an explosive and the oxydizing agent.
Various narrow-gauge railways criss-cross the Hembrug site, along which lorries – small rail wagons – were pushed by employees. This was an easy way to transport heavy goods across the site from the station.
This building is a prime example of a factory building dating from the reconstruction period. It was here that shells and grenade casings were made and stored. In the 1980s, some of it was converted to dip baths, a workshop where grenade casings were degreased, phosphated, lacquered, and muffled.
This is one of only a few small buildings on the site. The carbide installation in the building made the gas for the blacksmiths’ torches and the carbide lamps. The same acetylene gas was used as a pesticide to tackle moles, rats, and mice.
This is where gas masks were made and tested. The story goes that employees could test gas masks for 1 guilder, which was a lot of money back then. In 1937, Opleiding Vaklieden, which later became the Hembrug in-company training centre, was based here.
The Hembrug site was a restricted area where weapons and ammunition were produced by Artillerie Inrichtingen. From the 1970s onwards, civil engineering firm Eurometaal was based here.
If there was an accident in the factory, employees could take refuge in the two reinforced concrete shelters (alongside buildings 294 and 322) until it was safe to return. There are three entrances and exits, an access hole between the two shelters, and a passageway to the emergency station beneath the building.
The Hembrug Museum tells the story of the arms and ammunition factory that was located on the Hembrugterrein in Zaandam.