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)


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Elsie Baddeley (8 months ago)
It was a very interesting place to visit. Lots of preserved areas a nice cafe. Very enjoyable day
Awantee. D (10 months ago)
The ironworks are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The factory is a centre for exhibitions, artworks, cultural programs etc. General sections of the factory are open for visitors and contain information about the entire ironworks process, how the factory came to be, the history during the wartime and so on. It makes for an impactful experience.
Tatiana Greshchishin (11 months ago)
A special place! We were lucky to get a guided tour and spent 3.5h there. Highly recommended.
Bram Vertongen (11 months ago)
Abandoned steelworks turned museum, you can spend hours seeing everything. The main focus is on explaining the building's function and history. If you are willing to wear a helmet you can climb the stairs to the top and have a walk around the big blast furnace rooftops, offering nice views of the rusted industrial infrastructure and surroundings.
Birgit Pauli-Haack (11 months ago)
A place for diverse interests: learn all there is to know about industrial steel production, combined.with contemporary art exhibition. The walk up to the ovens is not for the faint of heart, make sure to grab a free helmet before walking up the 123 stairs. The view from the top is spectacular!
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