Völklingen Ironworks

Völklingen, Germany

The Völklingen Ironworks in western Germany close to the border with France cover 6 ha and are a unique monument to pig-iron production in Western Europe. No other historic blast-furnace complex has survived that demonstrates the entire process of pig-iron production in the same way, with the same degree of authenticity and completeness, and is underlined by such a series of technological milestones in innovative engineering. The Völklingen monument illustrates the industrial history of the 19th century in general and also the transnational Saar-Lorraine-Luxembourg industrial region in the heart of Europe in particular. The Ironworks are a synonym for and a symbol of human achievement during the First and Second Industrial Revolutions in the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.

The iron-making complex dominates the townscape of Völklingen. It contains installations covering every stage in the pig-iron production process, from raw materials handling and processing equipment for coal and iron ore to blast-furnace iron production, with all the ancillary equipment, such as gas purification and blowing equipment.

The installations are exactly as they were when production ceased in 1986. The overall appearance is that of an ironworks from the 1930s, since no new installations were added after the rebuilding of the coking plant in 1935. There is considerable evidence of the history of the works in the form of individual items that have preserved substantial elements of their original form. Large sections of the frames and platforms of the blast furnaces, for example, have not been altered since their installation at the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries. Much of the original coking plant survives, despite the 1935 reconstruction, notably the coal tower of 1898. Six of the gas-blowing engines, built between 1905 and 1914, are preserved, as are the suspended conveyer system of 1911 and the dry gas purification plant of the same time. In addition, remains of Buch´s puddle ironworks of 1873 are preserved in the power station below the blast furnaces.

Völklingen Ironworks was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 1994.



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Founded: 1881
Category: Industrial sites in Germany
Historical period: German Empire (Germany)


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

MN GT (8 months ago)
Interesting place to see. Lots of art. Lots of walking. Lots of history. This place is not 100% accessible in a lot of parts of it. Some of the displays feel eerie. I would not recommend it for children since there are a lot of high areas and seems dangerous.
Peter Sprot (8 months ago)
If you are not sure about visiting a steel works as a historic landmark think no more and go. It is incredible, huge, and just try to imagine what life must have been like while it was a working mill. I would visit again if I'm in the area. We loved it. We did get a bit lost at times so the signage could be improved.
Lia Chafak (8 months ago)
Steelworks Museum. Very old foundry transformed into a museum visited. But I think it’s better to go there during the Street Art if you are more into art …
Manu Moreau (8 months ago)
This was a very cool experience, so glad we stopped here. It seems like they are currently working on a new exhibition/renewing the signs. We did read the same information a couple of times and got a bit lost with the order of things. The day we went it was incredibly hot, but luckily there’s lots of shade. It was fun to wear the helmets and there were lots and lots of stairs to climb with an amazing view of the entire site (this was optional). We were very glad we stopped here. It’s amazing something like that had been preserved!!
Gary Busby (8 months ago)
Fabulous place, very atmospheric, particularly liked the areas where nature is reclaiming and the contemporary art installations.
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