Poldi steel plant – Kladno

Poldi was a steel plant, founded in 1889 by the Austrian Karl Wittgenstein and named after his wife, Leopoldina. Once the largest regional industry, it is now an abandoned complex covering 500 hectares in Kladno.

In 1920, Poldi employed over 4000 people and as the years passed it became crucial for the armement industry during WWII. The plant also produced the iron and carbon alloy used for the construction of the Thunderbolt speed car with which George Eyston broke 3 speed records, reaching 575km/h.

After 1989, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Soviet Union and the communist regimes of the East, Poldi was suddenly confronted with the advent of a free market economy, that for decades it had not been accustomed to. As a consequence, the company that counted over 20 000 employees at the time started to decline and had to reduce its production to the minimum.

In 1993, Poldi was bought by Bohemian Art company but their lack of experience and funds led to a stop of the production and the steel plant had to close for good. Today the buildings are wrecked: broken windows, fallen roofs, weed and vine growing along the walls, floor covered with dust and detritus… The city of Kladno would like to redevelop the area and has started demolishing some of the buildings but it will take decades to decontaminate the whole area.