While researching old maps of this area, the Loobeek Foundation discovered that there was a right angle branch in Loobeek between Overloonseweg and the A73. This indicated that the brook was dammed at that spot to power a watermill. It turned out to be the fulling mill of the medieval weavers' guild the Neeje Meule.
Research in old sources has not made us any wiser as to what the mills looked like. To gain knowledge a study trip to Romania was made. There are still some working fulling mills. The foundation has rebuilt this fulling mill with that information. The special Field Mill is the only one with rapids in the Loobeek. This is necessary to be able to turn the wheel.
What smells so bad there?
There have been many fulling mills, in the Netherlands but they are all gone. Fulling mills were also called stink mills. Here sheep wool was woven into cloth. The fulling made the fabric denser and firmer and turned it into felt. For this purpose the fabric had to be kneaded for days in a tub filled with earth, urine and soap. At first this was done with feet, later this work was done by fulling mills. In this mill the fabric was pounded with wooden pestles. By working with urine it stank enormously in and around the mills. Very soon these mills had to be built outside the city because of the smell.