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This 9.5 hectare site, on the right bank of the Scheldt in Hemiksem, was part of a former brickworks site, whose clay pits were partially filled with household and industrial waste following their working life. Owing to its location on the water, the site was also used as a shipyard. In 2010, project developer Vooruitzicht had its eye on this attractive location overlooking the Scheldt and a nature reserve. Following comprehensive remediation, it developed a housing project with an ecological park.


― Integrated remediation strategy

Living on the water with a view of nature has a special appeal. This brownfield site had attraction for potential developers. However, there was also a significant challenge: the sale would only go ahead if the buyer assumed the remediation obligation. DEME knew it could offer a successful, financially viable remediation approach, by devising an integrated strategy at a fixed price that gave the project developer the necessary guarantees.

― In-depth remediation

DEME created a remediation concept tailored to the planned development. Our experts looked for the best way to remediate the soil contamination. A feasibility study in cooperation with a certified soil expert and a landscape architect resulted in an integrated remediation and master plan including taking into account the valuable trees on the site, which are now part of the ecological park.

‘The design by landscape agency 'Fris in het Landschap' included strong participation from local residents.’

― Ecological park area

A fresh, creative approach was needed to clean up the pollution, while preserving a large expanse of the wooded areas. DEME therefore divided the site into zones, each with its own specific remediation programme. At the site of the future residential development, all the soil to be remediated was completely excavated for cleaning in an external soil recycling centre.

The industrial landfill was completely isolated by soilmix walls half a meter thick, anchored in the clay layer, up to 6 meters below ground level. A watertight top seal was installed in HDPE with associated drainage infrastructure. This area was constructed as an ecological park.

Another ecological park, including a few recreation zones, has been built in the former domestic waste area. This area has a high ecological value, with many valuable trees growing there. Where necessary, an additional organic layer was added to ensure that any contact with the underlying soil, which is high in heavy metal concentrations, was avoided.

― Follow-up care plan

A follow-up plan has been approved by OVAM for both zones. The quality of the ground water around the isolated zone is being monitored through regular sampling.

Together, DEME and Vooruitzicht transformed a former industrial site into a residential development with a view on the Scheldt and an ecological park with a pond and housing.


The existing pond had good water quality. The slope around the pond was softened to prevent failure and enhance the experiential value. The base was hermetically sealed and covered with an organic layer.


Due to the sophisticated preliminary investigation of the complete site, the contamination could be effectively mapped out. This made it possible to perform the remediation works with minimum soil disturbance and maximum preservation of the natural valuable forest that had developed there.


The Scheldt side to the south of Antwerp was a productive industrial environment until the end of the 20th century, when former branches of industry fell into decline. A renewed interest in this unique environment is now leading to a general regeneration.

― Sustainable development:

Urbanisation is a global phenomenon. Flanders is also urbanising at a rapid pace. By 2030, Antwerp will have 70,000 more inhabitants and will be one of the fastest growing cities in Flanders.
The sustainable redevelopment of brownfield sites can contribute greatly to the liveability and quality of life.

This combination of regional and project development fits perfectly into the DNA of developer Vooruitzicht. For the architecture, they engaged Poponcini & Lootens (POLO Architects). These renowned Belgian architects are increasingly focused on urban planning issues at home and abroad, with a strategic reflection on spatial planning. With sustainable spatial strategies, they aim to create high-quality living environments for the future of our cities, towns and open spaces.

This is with a special focus on process development and implementation, in close cooperation and dialogue with the client and the authorities. A vision that fits in perfectly with that of DEME.


Vooruitzicht dedicates a lot of care and attention to sustainability and future orientation. They make smart choices in the field of waste management, energy and earth moving. Forest compensation and the construction of wadis and green roofs are also part of their approach.


‘Vooruitzicht has always been committed to two main pillars in its 115 years of existence. Firstly, regional urban planning : ‘attention for how people want to live’ and secondly, project development: ‘attention for how people want to reside’. It comes down to mixing these two complementary but sometimes contradictory terms in the right proportion. We call this project development with the wishes of the end user in mind. Of course, this process starts with creating a healthy and safe living environment for the future residents. DEME was the perfect partner in this regard, and successfully aligned the remediation works with these core values from the outset.’