In Ulft, along the river Oude IJssel, once stood the DRU's 'iron hut'. For almost 2.5 centuries iron products, such as stoves, pans and bathtubs, were produced for millions of customers worldwide. This glorious past has left an impressive heritage: an ensemble of seven industrial monuments.
Nowadays DRU Industriepark is an inspiring breeding ground for culture and innovation. A place where people meet, find inspiration, explore the possibilities of new technologies and enjoy art and culture. For example, at the innovation centre CIVON where visitors are invited to be key players of an interactive museum experience. Eight displays guide them through all stages of manufacture in the iron industry: from the first brainstorming to the marketable product. On their way visitors are taken back to the times when the industrial park used to be at the heart of local iron production. Another focus are modern technology and applications. The tour ends with products differing distinctively in time, design and technical background. There are several workshops offering hands-on experiences. Soldering bits, forges, ceramic kilns or 3D printing Welcome to DRU Industriepark. Experience our past, our present and our future.
The Oude IJssel area is known as the birthplace of the Dutch cast iron industry. Small water-powered blast furnaces were used as far back as the 17th century to melt locally mined bog iron. Ulft's economic recovery started when the entrepreneurs Bernard Diepenbrock and his cousins Theodor and Bernard Reigers entered the market. In 1811 they acquired the local blast furnace and iron foundry Ulftsche IJserhut that they already operated before as tenants. From that time on the company took the name Diepenbrock and Reigers Ulft (DRU). In the 18th century, the factory mainly produced hot plates, cannonballs, pots and basic heaters. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the product range was expanded to include bathtubs, enamel, sheet metal, machinery parts, car parts and gas heaters. The plant grew dramatically: around 1900 even the river Oude IJssel had to be relocated to give way to a new factory building. In the mid-1960s, DRU employed roughly 1500 people, and it was only in 1999 that the company abandoned the site thus setting an end to almost two and a half centuries of industrial history.
Today DRU Industrial Park is a successful example for the repurposing of a former industrial complex. Nearly all buildings have been transformed to new types of usage, including ‘het Portiersgebouw’ the former gatehouse, where a theatre, library, grand café and a concert hall are located. The former ‘SSP hall”, an event hall hosts trade fairs, markets, exhibitions, conferences, and leisure events. The visitor information centre is located in ‘Het Ketelhuis’, the former boiler House. The tourist inspiration centre is also located here. Tourist can get inspired by al the special locations and activities the region has to offer. The former deburring area of the factory, ‘de Afbramerij’ is home of the innovation centre CIVON. It combines activities of educational organisations, artists, and the Nederlands IJzermuseum (iron museum) and at the same time considers itself as a place to showcase modern iron industry. A reflection of this symbiosis of technology, culture and art are the sculptures scattered all around the industrial park's premises. A bridge connects the complex to the parks and gardens on the opposite banks of the Oude IJssel, well known as a venue for large music festivals.
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CIVON Innovation Centre
Monday, Friday 10am-5pm
Monday - Sunday 11am-4pm
Monday - Friday 9am-12pm