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about us

Organisation

Steenfabriek De Rijswaard BV has been supplying bricks to the residential and non-residential building sectors since 1900.

During the past century, the factory has developed into a sound enterprise, with a production capacity exceeding 120 million bricks annually.

Innovation is one of the main spearheads of De Rijswaard’s operations. For instance, we replaced our entire range of machinery with state-of-the-art equipment in 2008. This highly innovative production environment not only contributes toward a high quality product, but also vouches for a high level of efficiency throughout the production process.

We at De Rijswaard also employ innovation to achieve sustainable production. Furthermore, we set great store by corporate social responsibility (CSR). The measures we have taken to promote both human and environmental welfare include the installation of a flue gas scrubber, two dedicated combined heat and power plants and a state-of-the-art extraction system.

History

"Wij zijn de jongens van de oven
Dat willen de stadse niet geloven
Wij zijn de jongens van de stenen bakkerij
Wij gaan voor de stadse niet opzij
Wij leven, wij leven,
Voor de stad Schiedam"

These lines of verse resounded throughout the factory buildings belonging to De Rijswaard around a century ago. The workers used to sing this sort of song to cheer themselves along when in good spirit.

For although working in a brick factory was a hard way of earning a living, it was pretty much the done thing in the area known as ‘West Bommelerwaard’. The ‘Stoom Pannen- en Steenfabriek De Rijswaard’ established by F. Ridder de Huyssen of Kattendijke in 1900, was just one of this area’s many brick factories at the time.

The early years

The working methods employed in De Rijswaard a century ago were entirely different to those of today.

For instance, there were ‘moddertrappers of -kruiers’ or mud treaders/ hoddies, who carried the prepared clay in a hod – in their bare feet – to the moulder’s bench on their shoulders. The so-called ‘aanschuivers’ had to make sure that the moulds were washed, sanded, filled and struck off. The ‘stokers’ had the dangerous task of operating the kiln, while ‘hittenrijders’ were employed to ride the draught horses used in the factory. These hittenrijders were later replaced by the drivers of steam locomotives, dredgers, diesel locomotives and draglines. The bricks were pressed using a steam-powered press, and then dried in drying sheds. In the early days, the bricks were fired in an old-fashioned field kiln. However, this was replaced by an intermittent kiln in 1929, while the first tunnel kiln was commissioned in 1963.

Ups and downs

Throughout a history spanning over a century, the brick factory has certainly had its fair share of ups and downs.

For instance, the Germans bombed the factory during WWII. As was the case with all other factories along the banks of the River Dender, De Rijswaard was shut down during the war: There was no coal to fire the kiln, its fifteen horses were requisitioned and the workforce was mobilised. After the war, De Rijswaard was gradually transformed into a modern brick factory. In 1954, it acquired the machinery to dry its bricks, and then a fully automated press was installed in 1957, while a new extension comprising a clay store and a mixing plant was built around 1962.

De Rijswaard today

By far the most significant milestone in recent years was undoubtedly the renovation and modernisation of the factory in 2008, which comprised the construction of a significant extension to the tunnel kiln, new dryers and a fully automated production process. This rendered De Rijswaard one of the Netherlands’ most innovative, sustainable and superior quality brick factories!

Steenfabriek de Rijswaard BV
De Rijswaard 2
5308 LV Aalst (Gld.)
The Netherlands
T +31 0418 – 55 22 21
F +31 0418 – 55 29 00
E info@rijswaard.nl
I  www.rijswaard.com