De Meelfabriek in Leiden is an industrial complex consisting of several large buildings. In the past, flour was processed and different types of grain were transported by boat over the adjacent canals. The steam driven flour mill was founded in 1884 and had to close down due to economic reasons in 1988.
The factory was at the time a state of the art steam driven flower mill. The owners took advantage of the latest technologies such as pneumatic unloading grain and installed electric lighting as one of the first companies in Leiden. After World War II the factory entered a period of great prosperity. In the late fifties the factory produced 420 tons of flour daily, accounting for 750.000 loaves of bread. This production accounted for approximately twenty percent of the demand of the Dutch population.
The buildings are a bastion which is part of the historic fortifications of Leiden. Originally it was an open stretch of land which was built around the city. During the 19th and 20th century this area developed into an industrial belt. At the end of the 20th century most of the buildings were dismantled in accordance with the desire of the city council to create a green belt of parks around historic downtown.
Property developer, Ab van der Wiel purchased De Meelfabriek in 1998. He wanted to preserve the factory and redevelop the site. The complex has now become one of the most important relics of the rich industrial past of Leiden. It is a historical landmark in the city and is part of the Dutch industrial heritage.