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Economic decline

After the second world war the economic decline began. During the war the North Sea had nearly been denuded of fish.  Consequently catching herring moved  northwards towards  Norway.  This increased  its  price  but at the same time, demand kept on decreasing. During the war people had eaten a great deal more of herring than they wished for, but after the war alternatives such as  beefsteak  became available and affordable. In addition, the  increasing  use of  refrigerators  offered  a  simpler method of keeping food and smoke boxes replaced the dirty and dangerous manual work in the smoking chimneys. 

Closing down

The  factory  roof had been replaced by a concrete flat roof with roof lights after a first big fire, but  a  second big fire of 1965 caused more significant damage.  This time the entire left wing was destroyed and the construction of the shelving  in the chimneys was severely fire damaged. This wing was not restored and in 1968 there was a last and final smoking of herring in the Kronenburgstraat. The company Vanden Bemden moved to the nearby Riemstraat but was dissolved in 1979.


A port authority bought the whole site with a view to building new offices near to the ‘World Trade Center’ that was planned on the closed docks in the southern part of the city. The oil crisis in 1972 stopped these plans from being implemented. The site was put on the market again for sale. Demolition seemed inevitable.