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Izegem power station

Izegem power station

Belgium's largest steam engine

Izegem in West Flanders was one of the first Flemish municipalities to develop its own power station in 1900. As a result, the largest preserved steam engine in Belgium is located there.

Bollinckx from Buizingen delivered the first two steam engines of 60 hp each in 1901. Belgian Prince Albert I cut the ribbon on September 22, 1901.

A year later, 15 households and one factory machine were connected to the Izegem electricity grid.

Shoes and brushes

The electricity demand was booming due to the town's famous brush and shoe industry. Two steam engines were soon no longer sufficient.

Explosive growth

New steam engines were added in both 1907 and 1911, but both made way for an even more powerful example (1000 hp) in 1921 from Carels/Van den Kerckhove, a famous constructor from Ghent. In 1927, Carels/Van den Kerckhove delivered a brand new 1500 hp example which produced alternating current (AC) electricity.

1650 hp

The last tandem compound steam engine of 1650 hp was added in 1937. This time, King Leopold III inaugurated the brand-new installation.

Only this steam engine has been preserved at the historical power plant of Izegem. 


Production peaked after the Second World War, in which the power plant was spared. But not for long.

Swan song

In the 1950s, Izegem's electricity company started to purchase high-voltage electricity, causing the steam power plant to lose importance. The power plant was closed in the early 1960s, the oldest machines were dismantled.


The remaining steam engine has been protected since 1978, and the power plant building, with an exceptional chimney, was also protected as a monument in 2015.

On its centenary in 2001, the power station received one last royal visit. This time, it was King Albert II's turn. The steam friends Izegem are now taking care of the machine and bringing it back to life.

Thanks to ETWIE and the Stoomvrienden Izegem, particularly Robin Debo and Eddy Stragier, for the visit and Rudy Brouckaert's history of the power plant and the machines inside.

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