Oude IJsselstreek (Netherlands)

Geographical position:
Oude IJsselstreek is located in the eastern part of the Netherlands, a border municipality (Germany) about 60 km south-east from Arnhem

Regio Achterhoek, the Netherlands

Size: 138 km²

Number of inhabitants: 39.500

Altitude: 0-40 m


Gemeente Oude IJsselstreek
Staringstraat 25
7081 BN Gendringen
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 315 292 428
E-mail: info@oude-ijsselstreek.nl

Iron in Oude IJsselstreek

The name Oude IJsselstreek refers to the Oude IJssel river that flows through the municipality. The river has played a major part in the history and the layout of a number of large residential areas in the municipality. Iron and metal play an important part in Oude IJsselstreek. This is reflected in the many iron and bronze pieces of art that can be found in the municipality, especially in and around Ulft.

The industrial activity in the municipality has its roots in the (former) iron foundries (Huts) along the Oude IJssel river. The later iron industry provided many people with jobs for a long period of time. Nowadays, employment is more diverse. In addition to the iron industry, the inhabitants now work in the wood industry, agriculture and in the field of recreation and tourism. There are a total of 2,290 companies in the municipality, providing 16,510 jobs.

Of importance to the development of especially places such as Ulft and Gendringen is the presence of the Oude IJssel river and bog ore. There was plenty of bog ore and it was easy to dig. The iron pans underneath the farmlands are very harmful to the crops and the bog ore posed a problem to the farmers. In 1753 the plan arose to start an iron foundry. The ore became profitable and the farmers’ problems were solved.

In 1754 iron foundry ‘Olde Hut’ was established in Ulft. This was the second blast-furnace company in the Netherlands. The Ulft iron foundry was remarkably a noble initiative, namely of the Count of Bergh. He founded the iron foundry “Olde Hut” with some other wealthy gentlemen in 1754. After a couple of years this ‘iron hut’ was taken over by Diepenbrock en Reigers. They came from the German Bocholt where they already owned an iron foundry. In 1831 the two families became the owner of the factory and the name was renamed Diepenbrock and Reigers in Ulft (DRU). In the 18th century the factory mainly made firebacks and cannonballs, but the range was gradually expanded with grilles, bathtubs, enamel pans, car parts, gas fires and stoves. The DRU was the largest employer in the region and of such importance that the Oude IJssel was diverted for it.

In 1999, the DRU left Ulft. Where the DRU used to be a symbol for the iron industry, it is now one of the most successful examples of recycling industrial heritage in the Netherlands. The porter building has been transformed into a cultural factory with an theater hall, a library, catering, meeting rooms, school of music and a concert hall. The Emailleerfabriek has been transformed into houses and the office of a housing association, the Ketelhuis is still under construction and the Afbramerij offers ICER, an innovative centre that intends to make young people enthusiastic about technology, and also the Dutch Iron Museum.


The community Oude IJsselstreek has a lot to offer its visitors. Nature is one of its biggest trumps. There are many natural and recreational areas. In this wonderful nature you can truly relax. There are also numerous opportunities on a sporting level such as cycling- and walking routes, canoeing, skating, swimming, horse riding or go on a survival trip.

Lots of visitors come to Oude IJsselstreek for special events like Huntenpop, Huntenkunst, Festivaart, Hippisch Festijn, Achterhoek Spektakeltoer and many other more smaller cultural events.

There are also possibilities to stay overnight in a hotel, on many camping sites, farms or bed-and-breakfast and guesthouses. More information about accommodation, activities and events can be obtained at the tourist information office (www.vvvoude-ijsselstreek.nl)

The Ring

The municipality of Oude IJsselstreek has been a member of the Ring since June 2005 and has proudly hosted the annual assembly in 2010. In 2017, the municipality started a working group for local embedding of the Ring of the European Cities of iron Works. This group aims to make residents (and visitors) more familiar with the Ring by organizing activities and events.


Additional Presentation at General Assembly 2018 in Stolberg.

More Members

© Ring of European Cities of Iron Work ~ official website of the association "Ring der Europäischen Schmiedestädte" ~ http://www.ironcities.net/ ~ http://ironcities.eu/ ~ 2019