In the former steelworks 'Forge Lunaire' in Northern France, scrap metal was melted back into steel, until competition became too strong and it was forced to close its doors. In Forge Lunaire, also known as the "Cathedral of Steel", up to 3000 tons of steel was produced daily until 2009. There are a total of three halls that were used for the various production parts of the steel. Many of the original production parts and machines can still be found. It seems as if everything was suddenly abandoned after the catastrophe of the end of steel production. The factory inspired Bert to make several paintings, such as 'Tell Me' and 'Don't walk away'.
Maas Silo Rotterdam Netherlands
The construction of the site started in 1906 and quickly became the biggest grain storage silo in Europe, able to store 20.000 tons of grain. Somewhere in the 90s it was decided to store the grain elsewhere but the building stayed. Now the grain is gone but loads of the pipelines, concrete walls, floors and hallways are still there. De silo is one of the sources of inspiration for the paintings of Industrial heritage of Bert Hermans.
As in many other Dutch towns, Tilburg’s railway zone (Spoorzone) is currently being redeveloped.
The railway zone in Tilburg is a large, elongated area of 55 hectares running through the city centre. It is not uniform but has three distinct subsections, of which the NS (Dutch Railways) workshop section to the immediate north of Central Station is the most interesting, since this subsection will eventually become a dynamic extension of the current city centre.
Exactly one hundred and fifty years after construction of this workshop area began, Dutch Railways have moved out and returned the site to the city. Redevelopment of the NS workshop section, with its monumental buildings, will reinvigorate Tilburg’s cultural heritage. These historic structures – along with other railway elements such as rails and signals – imbue the area with a unique quality and energy, making the railway zone a fascinating combination of urban renewal and industrial heritage.
The railway zone has a history, a past in the form of vacant buildings from different periods that represent a considerable range of late-nineteenth and twentiethcentury industrial architecture, and the area is also profoundly marked by remnants that evoke the theme of passage. These vestiges of the past include not only the workshops once used for train maintenance, but also the extant infrastructural elements, such as rails, switches and signals, which relate directly to transport and travel, concepts that are inseparable from the notion of time. The past can clearly be felt in this place, and yet the entire redevelopment zone is oriented towards the future.
After a visit to the Railway Zone on July 11, 2015, Bert has painted eight small oil paintings of the main halls of the former railway complex. Four of them were exposed during the exposition 'Little Treasures' that was held in Bologna (Italy) from November 28 until December 11, 2015.
The other four paintings were exposed in the Marziart International Gallery in Hamburg, Germany. The exposition was held from April 22 until May 18, 2016.
The Royal Leather Factories Oisterwijk
The Royal Leather Factories Oisterwijk was a company that existed from 1916 to 2000 in Oisterwijk in the southern province North Brabant near the town Tilburg.
The place Oisterwijk was known for many years beacause of its tanneries. In this context, the Leather Factory Oisterwijk was founded by Mr. O.J. van der Aa. In 1920 the company was taken over by the leather group of family Adler and Oppenheimer. They had factories throughout Europe and the company specialized in calf leather.
In 1932 the Royal designation was granted and the company became known as Royal Leather Factories Oisterwijk.
The period of mergings and acquisitions began in 1966. The company was taken over by the conglomerate Hagemeyer In 1970. Hagemeyer also acquired the Royal Chrome Leather Factory Amstel Waalwijk. The two companies merged in 1974 and became known as Royal United Leather. Meanwhile it started getting worse in the leather industry, and in the 90s of the 20th century losses piled up and the company was closed in 2000. In 2004 the Royal United Leather was declared bankrupt.
In 2009, the township and county jointly became the owner of the premises. The project called 'My beautiful Brabant' has started the renovation of the boiler room and engine room. Diederendirrix architects started in 2010 with making plans for the restructuring of the whole area, including approximately 26 000 m of industrial heritage and national monuments.
Bert visited the site and made several Sketches and photographs that he used for his paintings. The video provides an overview of the whole complex including some particular sites which can be discovered in the paintings sometimes in another shape.
Solo exhibition on youtube first price contest Light Space & Time Online Gallery
On this youtube film some of the paintings of Bert are shown.