LWL-Museum Henrichshütte Hattingen

The oldest preserved blast furnace in the Ruhr region is not located in Essen or Oberhausen, but in the tranquil town of Hattingen on the southern edge of the region. Next to the medieval-looking half-timbering of the town, the smelter, which was founded in 1854, looks as if it has come from another planet. Three themed trails tell exciting stories about towering technical colossi, hard-boiled smelter workers and the advance of nature ...

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… The "iron trail" provides visitors with a sweeping panorama from the 50 metre high blast furnace overlooking the foundry, the Möllergraben and the central gas plant with its mighty blowing engine. The "green trail" unfolds the amazing vegetation of the industrial monument – wild marjoram and butterflies included. Children trace the mysterious "rat trail", guided by the museum mascot.

Apart from the region's rich coal and ore deposits, the navigable Ruhr is an important location factor for factory founder Count Henrich zu Stolberg-Wernigerode. Once his charcoal-based iron mills in the Harz Mountains ceased to be profitable, he turnes to the new technology of coke-fired blast furnaces. The success story of his ironworks, henceforth bearing his name, proves him right.

This is also recognised by the Kassel company Henschel & Sohn, which earns a reputation as a major manufacturer of locomotives in the 19th century. It acquires the Henrichshütte in 1904, giving it a major makeover. In the following decades, up to 10,000 people – occasionally including thousands of prisoners of war and forced labourers – produce a wide variety of steel and iron products, ranging from shipbuilding plates to crankshafts. After the Second World War, the plant initially belongs to the Rheinstahl company, which gradually resumes smelting operations in 1950. Barely ten years later, it once again employs more than 10,000 people. In 1974 the site becomes part of the Thyssen Group. When the blast furnaces are finally blown out in 1987 after almost 150 years, this is met with bitter opposition from an entire region. "The criminals have decided!" Rolf Bäcker, then chairman of the works council, is aghast at the Thyssen supervisory board's decision. Shortly afterwards, the Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe (LWL) protects some of the buildings from demolition. The ore bridge and the hot air stove, the steel converter and the tracks, the foundry including the part for demonstrations and, last but not least, the blast furnace itself are now part of the Henrichshütte Museum.


The "Steel Time Travelers" Luise & Alfred: LWL-Museum Henrichshütte Hattingen


Hattingen is magnificent. Black and white half-timbering like at home in the Sauerland - simply romantic!

Full dialog text
Lu: Hattingen is magnificent. Black and white half-timbering like at home in the Sauerland - simply romantic!

Al: That was yesterday, nothing for me! A shiny new star is rising in the east of this time-honored town!

Lu: Glows more like the sun in the evening! Your new star is burning, Al!

Al: Knocked off - one of the blast furnaces of the Henrichshütte is knocked off. You should actually know that - in miniature!

Lu: What a spectacle. I had not expected such a huge ironworks here in the beautiful Ruhr valley!

Al: Nothing could be closer! Ironstone is found here. Hard coal is not far away and a navigable river up to the Father Rhine - the ideal location for the first blast furnace on the Ruhr - "en vogue" even with a Bessemer steel mill ...

Lu: And YOU built all this out of the ground?

Al: It would be nice, but some count from the Harz Mountains beat me to it.

Lu: Better not say anything against nobles or even against the "province"!

Visitor information

Werksstr. 31-33
45527 Hattingen
Tel. 02324/9247140

Opening hours:
Tue-Sun: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

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300 t of custom work. Henrichshütte manufactures a nuclear reactor pressure vessel (1963-1965)

Brief description (film without sound)

Between 1963 and 1965, Rheinstahl Hüttenwerke AG - then owner of the Henrichshütte - manufactures a reactor pressure vessel for the first large-scale nuclear power plant in the Federal Republic of Germany in Grundremmingen an der Donau.

The Henrichshütte Hattingen yesterday and today

LWL-Museum Henrichshütte Hattingen

EisenStahl 15 Henrichshütte Hattingen

The earliest surviving blast furnace in the Ruhr District is not found in Essen or Oberhausen, but in idyllic Hattingen on the region's southern fringes. Compared to the town' s medieval timber frame, the steelworks, dating back to 1854, appears as if from outer space. Three trails provide a fascinating insight into towering giants of technology, hard-boiled ironworkers and the advance of nature …

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Old town Hattingen


Clothiers and flourishing textile businesses made Hattingen flourish even in Hanseatic times. But this pearl on the Ruhr was also rich in mineral resources. A certain Count Heinrich, for example, ensured the arrival of heavy industry and even more hustle and bustle with his "Hütte" (ironworks) at the gates of the town. A beautiful little town! A little stroll would be very close to my heart. Alfred...? Would you still have coal for a few ... let's say ... pearls?

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Burg Blankenstein


Volmarstein, Blankenstein - a region rich in stone here ... But the hard coal is to be located much further north. But this is only mentioned in passing. The honorable Counts of the Mark liked to keep an overview and obviously had an eye for strategically good locations - really likeable these gentlemen from Altena.

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