Luisenhütte Wocklum

Forest and meadow as far as the eye can see. In addition, half-timbered houses and a mill pond. Idyllic! And inside the Luisenhütte? Visitors suddenly find themselves standing in front of a ten-meter-high charcoal blast furnace from 1758, and see "molten iron" flowing from the tapping - as a light show. And learn: This ironworks - the oldest completely preserved in Germany - was once the blueprint for the early ironworks of the Ruhr region ...

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… Using videos, lights and radiant heaters, the Museum recounts the back-breaking work at the blast furnace. Next door, in the cupola-type furnaces of the foundry, the pig iron was turned into cogwheels and cannonballs. Two operable piston blowers ran on either water or steam power. This is exactly what the St. Anthony ironworks in Oberhausen, of which hardly anything remains, might have looked like.

But why Luisenhütte? Because women were in charge there. To be precise: noble women from the von Landsberg-Velen family, who founded the factory in 1748 and launched it ten years later. The driving force behind this was the enterprising Anna Maria Theresia (1710–1765). After her husband's death, she took over the business and ensured that her son inherited an iron mine" ... brought to perfection".

About a century later, another woman came to the fore: Ludovika (Louise) Friederike, who gave her name to the ironworks. The blast furnace was expanded, the foundry was built and a steam engine puffed in the blower house. In the meantime, the Luisenhütte obtained part of its ores from the Helle mine in the Hemer Felsenmeer. Only one thing remained the same: the firing of the blast furnace with charcoal – a circumstance that eventually sealed the site's fate. This was not only because the extensive forests of the Barons of Landsberg were running out, but also because the competitors in the Ruhr District had long since been heating with coke, which was by far superior to charcoal in terms of energy value. In addition, the construction of the Lennetal railway abandoned the Luisenhütte. Technically and geographically sidelined, it ceased operations in 1865. After that it remained untouched for about 80 years and celebrated its comeback in the middle of the 20th century as a largely intact testimony to early industrialisation. Its former machinery is brought back to life in an interactive computer simulation. The annual highlight is the FERROMONE cultural festival – formerly "Live in den Fabrikskes" – with a colourful programme for all ages.

The annual highlight is the "Luise heizt ein" event as part of the FERROMONE Industry and Culture in South Westphalia festival series (formerly "Live in den Fabrikskes") with a colorful program for young and old.

Steel Time Travel Destinations Nearby

The "Steel Time Travelers" Luise & Alfred: Luisenhütte Wocklum


We'll take the next turn! Along the Borkebach, Alfred! Straight ahead we go to our little water castle ...

Full dialog text
Lu: We take the next turn! Along the Borkebach, Alfred! Straight ahead is our water castle.

Al: Hurry up! I finally want to see your blast furnace. We can go for a ride on horseback later. You are horse crazy, aren't you?

Lu: Of course - on our lands and in the woods still the best means of transportation. A railroad line through the narrow Hönne gorge is probably a dream of the future. There's the hut! - Well hidden!

Al: That's all? That's supposed to be a blast furnace? Looks like a messed up farm.

Lu: Just you wait, you old knot-head! Without our expertise and the pioneering spirit of the Sauerland families, you still wouldn't be cooking steel in Essen. Small but mighty - and the ore is right next door in the Felsenmeer.

Al: It's all right, Lu! Apparently we can only work together. Your stove is in great shape - and there's no end to the water power ...

Visitor information

Wocklum 10
58802 Balve-Wocklum
Phone. 02352/9667034 >Kultur & Tourismus >Luisenhütte

Opening hours:
1 May - 31 Oct: Tue-Fri: 9.30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
and Sat/Sun/Holidays: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

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At the fire stream of iron (1952)

Short description (film without sound)

In the style of a documentary film, a steelworker shows his colleagues pictures of his visit to the historic Luisenhütte: "Last Sunday, I saw another ironworks, probably several centuries older than ours here."

The Luisenhütte Wocklum through the ages

Luisenhütte Wocklum

EisenStahl 22 Luisenhuette

Woods and meadows everywhere. Plus timber-framed buildings and a mill's pond. Idyllic! And inside the Luisenhütte? Visitors find themselves facing ten metre charcoal blast furnace built in 1758, and see "molten iron" flowing from the tapping – as a light staging imitation of light. And they find out: This ironworks – the oldest fully preserved in Germany – was once the blueprint for the early Ruhr ironworks …

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Lake Sorpe


If I were responsible for these dams - waterwoman of the service, so to speak - I would build such a mighty dam here. The valley of the Sorpe is blessed with springs and richly forested. And then I would build a wonderful promenade around the Sorpe Lake, for strolling, cycling and bathing and diving into the depths of quiet bays!

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Geschichtspark Balve


Now let's explore the neighborhood of your cabin a little, Luise. Tell us a few stories of home! Where does your ore come from? Where do you mine lime? Is it really true that there's a cavity under the mountain here that could hold an entire shooting match or even shaggy prehistoric monsters?

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