Built in 1899, national monument
This is one of the oldest buildings on the site. It took a full four years to build, because the fresh clay soil had to settle first. In 1938, the building was converted to the head office. It was an imposing building with a fancy staircase. Being an administrative building, it was one of only a handful of buildings where lots of women worked. Employees could collect their salary here each week. The only reminders of the building’s former role are the huge built-in safe and the remnants of the cabinet wall in the drawing office on the first floor.
In the 1990s, it was used for exercises by the Mobile Unit, sometimes even involving helicopters During these exercises, a hole was made in the roof that was never repaired. The building quickly fell into disrepair, and the shell was restored in 2017-2018.
A former employee recalls: ‘Every Saturday morning, an old guy, Mr Bakker, came into the factory and blew on a long whistle. He had his own ritual. First, he gave a long blow on his whistle, and that meant the higher wages were about to be paid out. These were for the professionals, and they had to go to the canteen building to get their weekly wages. The second blow was for the next ones down the hierarchy, and so on. There were four whistle-blows in all. The fourth was for the young lads. However, they usually headed over to the canteen building on the first whistle, as they were so eager to get their hands on their money. […] Wage-wise, as a thirteen or fourteen-year-old lad, you earned three guilders a week. That was quite a lot in those days. It dawned on me later on that this was an incentive, because each year you got a pay rise of about (wait for it…) sixty cents. It was easy to work out what you would be earning by the time you were nineteen.’