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The room, no longer in use since 1988, suffered the outrages of time : acts of vandalism, water damage,…European funds have made it possible to protect the machines from the rain. The Forest city council, who was willing to preserve this major technical heritage, launched a call for tenders in order to assess the feasibility of safeguarding the machines.
Guido Vanderhulst, industrial and social heritage expert, great connoisseur of the industrial history of Brussels, won the tender and took on the challenge. A dossier was put together to identify the restoration work required.
These exceptional and unique machines have been thoroughly documented and their value has been assessed. They include a Carels et Frères steam machine, a Sulzer compressor, a De La Vergne compressor built in New York and especially erected for Wielemans-Ceuppens, a travelling crane, two Ingersoll Rand compressors, and an electric board.
A proposal is attached to the technical dossier : it aims to set the machines in motion again, to restore the ones that cannot be set in motion, and to restore the overhead crane.
The project includes a human component. A team of technicians has been put together. They will both restore the machines and be able to tell everything about the machines to visitors. This is an ambitious project that foresees different possibilities : seminars, and business or educational guided tours.
In 2013, this feasibility study received the prestigious European Union - Europa Nostra Award for European Heritage. The Award was handed to Guido Vanderhulst in Athenes 2013 by Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou, and Maestro Placido Domingo. It was the only 'Grand Prix' that went to Belgium that year, and one of the few dedicated to industrial heritage. By awarding the prize to this study, Europa Nostra and the European Union provided it with great visibility.
The project has received the essential support of the Baillet Latour Fund and the Brussels CapitalRegion as well as of the Europa Nostra Industrial and Engineering Heritage Committee chaired byPierre Laconte, and the collaboration of the Forest Commune and the Forest Cultural Centre –BRASS.
The WielemansMachines project
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