World Cultural Heritage Site Völklinger Hütte
Initially founded in 1873 by a smelting engineer in the town of Völklingen/Saarland, the Völklinger Hütte (Völklingen Ironworks) was in operation for more than a century. As the world´s only preserved iron smelting plant from the heyday of the iron and steel industry, it was placed on the UNESCO´s list of World Heritage Sites in 1994. Often referred to as a cathedral of work and an icon of industrial culture, the Völklingen Ironworks can indeed be considered the principal headquarters of industrial culture in Europe today, as it is an anchor point on the prestigious European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH - a network of major industrial heritage visitor attractions across the UK, Germany and the Netherlands). The Völklingen Ironworks is also renowned as a fascinating interactive theme park which offers its visitors the unique opportunity to retrace all the different phases of pig iron production at authentic sites. In 2004, the Ferrodrom® opened to the public. As the first Science Centre in the SaarLorLux region, the Ferrodrom® is an exciting multimedia experience dealing with everything concerning iron and steel. Visitors can find exhibits on the cultural history of iron, living iron, educational films and talks with contemporary witnesses, and tours expertly guided by former steelworkers, who give a wonderful 3-dimensional account of their work on the blast furnace. The Völklingen Ironworks is also a prestigious venue for cultural happenings of all kinds. It attracts more than 200,000 guests each year to such events as open-air rock concerts, chamber music evenings, or special exhibitions on man, nature, technology, etc.