In 2017, the glass factory “O-I Manufacturing Netherlands BV” in Schiedam closed its doors. Established in 1899 by Titus de Meester as “Vereenigde Glasfabrieken NV,” the factory played a vital role in supplying bottles for the local jenever industry. Through mergers with other glass factories, it grew to become the largest Dutch glass facility beside Leerdam. From 1995 onwards, foreign companies took ownership, with the final owner, Owens-Illinois Glass Company, deciding to close the Schiedam branch in 2017 after 106 years, shifting production elsewhere.
Fast forward to early 2023, and the factory, largely stripped, stood as a testament to its rich history. The cavernous halls of the warehouses, once vibrant with activity, now echoed emptiness, briefly repurposed. Only the production area, adorned in hues of red and blue, remained untouched. The glass furnaces, conveyor belts, and machinery persisted until the end, necessitating asbestos remediation. Come September, the production area met the wrecking ball, signaling the definitive end of the glass industry in Schiedam.
Exploring the site in 2023 unveiled the remnants of a bygone era. The juxtaposition of the stripped halls and the vividly colored production zone was a poignant reminder of the industry’s evolution. Each piece of abandoned machinery whispered tales of a thriving past. Walking through the deserted corridors, it became evident that this urban exploration marked the final chapter before the impending demolition.
The closure of the O-I Manufacturing Netherlands BV factory marked the end of an era for Schiedam’s glass industry. The exploration offered a glimpse into the industrial history of the region, with the blog capturing the melancholy of an industrial giant’s demise. As the factory’s echoes fade away, the blog stands as a documentation of a once-vibrant hub now relegated to memories.