Coin Commemorates 100th Anniversary of World’s Largest Water-Management Steam Pumping Station

By Coin & Currency Institute ……

The Royal Dutch Mint is celebrating the centennial of the Ir. D.F. Woudagemaal (in English: the D.F. Wouda Steam Pumping Station), the largest, still-operating steam pumping station in the world.

It was opened on October 7, 1920, by Queen Wilhelmina, and its job was to pump excess water from the northern province of Friesland into the Zuiderzee, and later into the Ijsselmeer, both bays bordering the North Sea. To this day, the Woudagemaal plays a crucial role within the Frisian water authority.

Water poses many problems, not just in the Netherlands, but in the whole world. There are three main issues: too much, too little, or too dirty. The Woudagemaal is a laudable example of Dutch water management and represents a highlight of the work of Dutch engineers and architects in the war against water.

Three coins are being struck, identical in design but in three different metals, to mark the occasion. Visual artist Berend Strik designed the Woudagemaal coin that is also the first commemorative coin to depict King Willem-Alexander with a beard. On the obverse, the waving flag of the province of Friesland is visible behind the portrait of the king.

Underneath, is a fragment of the canals surrounding the Woudagemaal. On the reverse is a drawing of the Woudagemaal in straight and simple lines. All depicted from a bird’s-eye view, to show the steam pumping station in the typical flat Friesland landscape. The font used on both sides of the coin is the same as found on the steam engines inside the Woudagemaal.

The proof .900 fine gold €10, weighing 6.72 grams and 22.5 mm in diameter, costs $635.00. It is limited to 1,000 pieces. A sterling silver .925 fine proof €5 piece weighing 15.5 grams, 33 mm in diameter, and restricted to just 4,600 coins, is $69.95. An uncirculated €5 made of silver-plated copper is $19.75 It measures 29mm and weighs 10.5 grams.

Mintage is 60,000. The first day of issue is October 7, 2020.

The Woudagemaal is one of the 10 recognized heritage sites of the Netherlands on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This is the ninth issue in the series of Dutch World Heritage (2012-2021), following the Schokland 5 Euro Coin (2018) and the Beemster 5 Euro Coin (2019).

These and many other issues may be obtained from the Coin & Currency Institute, P.O. Box 399, Williston, Vermont 05495. They can be viewed and ordered online at $5.75 should be added to each order for shipping and handling. Major credit cards are accepted. Call toll-free 1-800-421-1866. Fax: (802) 536-4787. E-mail: [email protected].

About the Woudagemaal

An enormous amount of steam and quite some sounds: if you visit the Woudagemaal when it is put under steam, you are in for a treat! It takes about six hours to fill the boilers with water and start the pumps. The result is breathtaking – the entire building disappears in the steam the station creates. The facility is put under such steam at least twice a year.

During these predetermined “training days”, staff and volunteers keep their knowledge about the working of the station up-to-date. When the water rises to dangerously high levels, the steam pumping station is (still) commissioned.

Even when the Woudagemaal is not operational, it never fails to impress. The smokestack, with a height of 197 feet, is a recognizable beacon for sailors on the Ijsselmeer. The special architecture provides a unique appearance for the turbine hall, which houses the four impressive head steam engines. About 120 volunteers work at the Woudagemaal’s visitor center. Two of the main attractions are the interactive exposition hall and the 3D cinema. The center is open from February until December.


The Woudagemaal in the town of Lemmer has a rich history. The steam pumping station was designed by the Chief Engineer of the Provincial Public Works, Dirk Frederik Wouda, in 1917-1918. The majestic building shows beautiful, traditional architecture in the style of Rationalism (an architectural trend from the early 20th century). It was officially opened by Queen Wilhelmina on October 7, 1920.

Before the station was operational, excess water in the province of Friesland was pumped into the Zuiderzee and the Wadden Sea with windmills and sluices. This became problematic in the course of the 19th century because the peat bogs were sinking. The development of the pumping station in Lemmer was a big step forward in the field of water management in Friesland.

From 1966 onwards, water administration in Friesland had greatly improved and the electric Hoogland pumping station near Stavoren partly took over from the Woudagemaal. The pumping station is however still in use and is owned by the Wetterskip Fryslân (the Dutch water board in the province of Friesland). In addition, the building and the steam engines are attractions for architectural or steam enthusiasts.

UNESCO on the Woudagemaal:


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