Völklingen Ironworks: an industrial behemoth

As part of our tour of Germany's UNESCO World Heritage sites, we clamber around the breathtakingly industrial Völklingen Ironworks.

Völklingen Ironworks: an industrial behemoth
Photo: DPA

The Völklingen Ironworks, which closed on July 4th, 1986, was the first works from the heyday of heavy industrialization to become a UNESCO world cultural heritage site in 1994. They are now the most significant surviving ironworks from the 19th and 20th centuries in the world, and the site has been named the European Centre for Art and Industrial Heritage.

Since opening to the public in 2000, the 600,000 square-metre Völklingen Ironworks site has attracted well over a million visitors, making it the most popular cultural attraction in the Saar-Lor-Lux region.

Its 6,000 square-metre blasting hall with colossal machines, the smelting works with six huge blast furnaces and an amazing sloping lift are regarded as some of the finest feats of engineering from the early 20th century.

The 30-metre tall charging platform, where the coke and the ore were poured into the blast furnaces, is now a gigantic viewing platform, surpassed in height only by the hot-blast stoves that reach up 45 metres. It has been a UNESCO-World Heritage site since 1994.

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