Last week witnessed in Chania, on the Greek island of Crete, the unveiling of the regional EuChemS Historical Landmarks Award plaque, awarded to the industrial complex of ABEA. The site was to become in the 19th century, through the spectacular contribution chemistry, a major player in the regional development of the island through the making of soaps derived from olive oil.
The unveiling ceremony took place by the old factory (ABEA, which is still active 130 years later has relocated to more modern facilities), the site of which is dominated by its old brick chimneys. Over 100 people attended the ceremony, many of which were chemists and ABEA staff. Representatives from EuChemS, including Vice-President David Cole-Hamilton and Secretary General Nineta Hrastelj attended the event, as well as representatives from the Association of Greek Chemists, ABEA, and local officials. Alongside several speakers, Nasos Papadopoulos, President of the Association of Greek Chemists’ President and Past President Triantafyllia Sideri welcomed guests and presented the site and the rich history tied to it. David Cole-Hamilton in turn presented the Awards’ goals and aims.
Local community representatives expressed their desire to see the old factory side turned into a park, allowing the general public to step closer and better understand the vital role the soap-making industry had on local industrialisation and development, as well as the central role that chemistry and chemists played.
The industrial complex was awarded the 2018 EuChemS Historical Landmarks Award at the regional level following the recommendations of the Landmark Selection Committee and the decision of the EuChemS Executive Board.
EuChemS put in place a Historical Landmarks Award programme in order to recognise and celebrate European sites that have a central role in the history of chemistry, whether at a European level or regionally. The first awardee of the programme, Ytterby mine in Sweden, was presented with the EuChemS plaque in April 2019.