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Fabrique des Lumières

des Lumières

A place of history

The Westergasfabriek is a former coal-fired gasworks built to produce manufactured gas to light the streets of Amsterdam. Culturespaces is bringing the place back to life by creating a large digital art centre holding major immersive exhibitions. 

1883 - The building of the Fabrique


The building of the Fabrique

Way back in 1883, the British Imperial Continental Gas Association built two coal-fired gasworks in Amsterdam - the Oostergasfabriek and the Westergasfabriek - to produce manufactured gas to light the city’s streets.

1883 - The building of the Fabrique

Engineer Julius Pazzani and architect Isaac Gosschalk, one of the most influential architects of the last quarter of the 19th century and who was also responsible for the Dutch Neo-Renaissance style, were entrusted with the task of building the site. 

The Dutch Neo-Renaissance style is characterised by the importance of symmetry, the use of red and yellow brick and light-coloured stone and the adornments on the façade. The triangular metal frame frees up space in the roof.

Completed in 1885, the Westergasfabriek was an extensive 4-hectare complex consisting of several gasometers, coal storage depots, waste-water treatment plants and a water tower.

1883 - The building of the Fabrique

A building has style if it has personality; if it expresses its true nature discreetly.

Isaac Gosschalk

1898 - The success of the Fabrique


The success of the Fabrique

The Westergasfabriek was the largest coal-fired gasworks in the Netherlands. The factory became the property of the city of Amsterdam in 1898 and produced all the manufactured gas for fixed oil lantern used to light the streets.  

1898 - The success of the Fabrique

Increased production resulted in the structure being extended several times at the turn of the century, with the construction of a large 100,000 m³ gasometer in 1902, a boiler room in 1903 and a water gas plant in 1904.

The factory was further expanded in the 1950s.

1967 - The closure of the Fabrique


The closure of the Fabrique

The Netherlands discovered vast reserves of natural gas (Slochteren and IJmuiden fields) in the 1960s, which led to the gradual closure of coal-fired gas plants. 

1967 - The closure of the Fabrique

Production ceased in 1967 and the factory was used as storage and garage space.
Buildings that could not be used for storage were demolished, and these notably included the water tower in 1968 and the two gasometers in 1974.

The municipal energy company used the premises as workshops and warehouses from the late 1960s, before withdrawing from the premises in 1992.

1981 - The transformation to a cultural hub


The transformation to a cultural hub

The early eighties are the starting point for plans to redevelop the site as an urban park.

1981 - The transformation to a cultural hub

In order to protect the land, which had become extremely polluted as a result of industrial activity, and under the impetus of a neighbourhood initiative, a land use order was passed by the city council in 1981.

In 1989, the 22 original industrial buildings were granted ‘national monument’ status.
The purifier building, the transformer building, the gasometer, the regulator house and the machine building were renovated.

In 1990, the Westergasfabriek project office was set up under the leadership of architect, urban planner and founder of Creative Cities Evert Verhagen. In 1993, the urban district of Westerpark allocated the site for cultural and recreational activities.

The extensive 13.5-hectare site was designed by American landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson. Originally intended to host temporary cultural events (theatre festivals, art fairs, fashion shows…), the park became a permanent cultural centre and officially opened in 2003.

2018 - The Fabrique des Lumières


The Fabrique des Lumières

In 2018, Duncan Stutterheim acquired all of the industrial buildings, which were renamed Westergas in 2019, with the aim of turning Westerpark into a culture-oriented living space for the people of Amsterdam.

2018 - The Fabrique des Lumières

Duncan Stutterheim presented Culturespaces with the opportunity to invest in the Zuiveringshal, also known as the Gasfabriek, with a view to creating a digital art centre there.

Major renovation works are undergone: the building is equipped with technological device and is set up to welcome the public.

The Fabrique des Lumières opens to the public on 22 April 2022 with the exhibitions  "Klimt, Gold in Motion" and "Hundertwasser".

2018 - The Fabrique des Lumières

Following the creation of our digital art centres in France, we are pleased to create this new one for the City of Amsterdam. Fabrique des Lumières will offer visitors of Netherlands an unforgettable immersive and sensorial artistic experience.

Bruno Monnier, President of Culturespaces