Anonymous designer

Until 1913, in the expanded areas of Amsterdam, only the Singelgracht served as an open sewer. After a great deal of shilly-shallying, the council decided to construct a sewerage system, which comprised a total of seven pumping stations (A to G). The designer of this particular pumping station is unknown, as the architects of the Public Works Department did not usually sign their design drawings.

 

Façade Rioolgemaal F (sewage pumping station F), 1973

Sewage scrapers

In addition to four buildings connected by the surrounding wall, the sewage pumping station also contains three underground cellars. With a depth of almost 6½ metres under sea level, the sewage water would flow into these cellars. The solid waste would be caught here in grates and would be scraped off by so-called ‘gemalenlopers’ (pumping station runners) and carried off in containers with a crane.

 

Rear façade of Rioolgemaal F; cellar entrance in the foreground, 2000

Transfer pumping station

The pumping machinery had a tremendous capacity. In the cellars it was not just the sewage from the surrounding houses and industrial buildings that was collected but also that of the main sewer between Haarlemmerpoort (city gate) and Zeeburg. The distance from the main sewer was so great that a transfer pumping station needed to be installed halfway.

 

View of the sewage pumping station from the Boerenwetering, 1992

New owner

Despite several adjustments and efforts to modernize pumping station F, it was taken out of operation in 1987 due to becoming obsolete. The new owner, Stadsherstel Amsterdam (urban heritage rehabilitation), leases the complex to Stichting Kunst in Openbare Ruimte (Foundation Art and Public Space). The industrial character of the interior has undergone a few changes.