Völklingen Ironworks (1994)
Germany

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The ironworks, which cover some 6 ha, dominate the city of Völklingen. Although they have recently gone out of production, they are the only intact example, in the whole of western Europe and North America, of an integrated ironworks that was built and equipped in the 19th and 20th centuries and has remained intact. 

The world heritage site "Völklinger Hütte" (Völklingen Ironworks) is located close to Saarbrücken, directly on the River Saar, in one of the most densely wooded areas of the Saarland. 

Covering an area of 600,000 m2, the huge ironworks is one of UNESCO's more unusual world heritage sites and is considered an insider tip for all those looking to experience something a little out of the ordinary. The Völklingen Ironworks stands today on an equal footing with the Cheops Pyramid in Egypt, the Great Wall of China, the Acropolis in Athens and Cologne Cathedral. 

On a minimum of space, it brings together milestones of high-technology and masterly technical achievements from the beginning of the 20th century

  • Germany 1996. Völklingen Ironworks. 

As a monument to industrial history, it is a symbol of a fading era that was stamped by the element iron and its revolutionary technical possibilities. At the same time, it is an industrial monument to the economic prosperity of Germany and Europe which especially following World War II was shaped by the coal and steel industry. In the context of the European Coal and Steel Community founded after World War II, it continues to be a symbol for the economic nucleus of today's Europe and its political evolution.

Acquired in 1881 by Herrmann Röchling, the Völklingen Ironworks quickly became one of the most innovative and productive iron and steelworks in Europe. The innovative spirit of the Röchling family (who to this day hold the most patents for iron and steel production) is still reflected today in the closed-down plants of the Völklingen Ironworks. Visitors can't help but be fascinated by the giant machines and plants covering an area of 600,000 m2, which often prompt comparisons with Fritz Lang's "Metropolis". Closed in 1986, the Völklingen Ironworks was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994 as the first industrial monument from the heyday of industrialisation. More recently, a number of new areas, buildings and walkways have been made accessible to the public.

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in Germany (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section Germany for further information about such sites. 

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Revised 03 aug 2006  
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