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Posts Tagged ‘Voelklingen’

Völklinger Hütte

Our next stop on our tour along the Saar river is the UNESCO World Heritage Site Völklinger Hütte, an anchor point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage denoting its historical importance and attractiveness to visitors. The guided tour will explain in detail the workings of the ironworks and the relevance to local and national economics.

But for those of you who cannot wait for the tour, I can highly recommend the web site which gives detailed information about the history of the ironworks, the founding family and its conversion into a modern learning and entertainment space.1200px-VH_außen_pano

Völklingen

One aspect that might not be obvious to the uninitiated is the fact that the area around Völklingen has been an important trading and industry site as early as the 6th century.

The fertile meadows between the rivers Rossel and Köllerbach flowing into the Saar have meant that the area had been populated since Celtic times. As the villages grew and trade along the Saar flourished, its relevance for local and regional administrations increased as well.

In the 16th century iron and coal finds in the area led to the construction of the oldest and largest ironworks of the Saarland in Geislautern in 1572. Geislautern is now part of Völklingen and right opposite the famous ironworks on the other side of the Saar.

Even though the works in Geislautern were closed in 1884, new technology developments and innovative thinking were influential in the establishment and success of the Völklinger Hütte, the “Röchling’schen Eisen- und Stahlwerke” by Carl Röchling in the late 1880’s. The works were active until the 1970’s when the world wide steel crisis required major restructuring of the industry which ultimately led to its closure in 1986.

A walk through time1280px-Völklingen_Ironworks_by_night

To understand the importance of the industry and this particular steel works, one has to remember that the guided tour and public area covers ‘only’ 7.46 hectare of the original area of the Saarstahl AG (260 hectares), which officially originated after the steel crisis in 1986, but through its individual components goes back to the beginnings of the steel industry in the region. Be amazed by the sheer size of the site and enjoy the various cultural exhibitions during your visit here.

Author: Petra Alsbach-Stevens

 

 

 

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