Bergbaumuseum Kreis Altenkirchen

2,300 years - that's how long the ore wealth has provided the Siegerländer with work, wages and bread! Herdorf alone has several mines in which the Essen-based Krupp Group has been in charge since 1872. The museum in the old village school puts the regional "Iron Age" together like a puzzle. The biggest highlight awaits in the cellar: an exciting exhibition mine with mine locomotives, machines and pneumatic drills ...

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… Original sounds create an authentic mining ambience. The outdoor area with its accurately reproduced pithead gear, the machine house and large-scale equipment from a former steelworks reflect the peak of industrialisation in the Krupp era. High-quality Siegerland siderite remains a long-time essential component for quality steel production.

"A vast accumulation of metals of all kinds is hidden here in the bosom of the wild mountains, and some of them are dug forth by the miner according to ancient customs, and monetised by the metalworker," as Friedrich August Eversmann, a Prussian adviser for geology, puts it in 1804, writing about the then county of Sayn-Altenkirchen. In the early days of industrialisation, most of the mines in the region were owned by individuals. Later on, many of them unite to establish trade unions, but lack the resources to modernise the industry in the long term. This is done by steel companies based in the Ruhr District, who depend on the manganese-rich ores of the Siegerland region, particularly before the invention of the Thomas steelmaking process. In Herdorf, the Krupp company acquires the Wolf mine, among others, which is abandoned in 1925 and reactivated 10 years later in the wake of German rearmament. In 1937 Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, benefiting from Germany's preparations for war, considers the inauguration of the mine to be so significant that he attends in person and afterwards invites the crowd of miners to have a meal delivered by a special train. "People in Herdorf," a contemporary later noted, "would talk about the Krupp Day at the 'Wolf' mine for a long time to come".

To this day, mineral lovers worldwide recognise this particular Siegerland mine because the rhodochrosite and malachite crystals found here, as well as native copper, are a must in any collection. In contrast, mines and smelting works ceased to play a role in the region decades ago. The mining museum in Herdorf-Sassenroth preserves their unique heritage in exciting hands-on exhibits.


The "Steel Time Travelers" Luise & Alfred: Bergbaumuseum Kreis Altenkirchen


Where are you dragging me, Lu? Do you want me to go back to school?...

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Al: Where are you dragging me, Lu? Do you want me to go back to school?

Lu: It wouldn't hurt to add the term "iron country" to your vocabulary ...

Al: You mean the Siegerland? Iron and Siegen fit well to me - and to the country at the Ruhr between Witten and Duisburg ...

Lu: So pay attention, Mr. Oberschlau: Ore was already being mined and smelted here when fox and hare were still saying "good night" to each other in the Ruhr region.

Al: In the village school?

Lu: In the Siegerland! Even before the birth of Christ, lead, silver and copper saw the light of day here. Thousands of miners have their wages and bread - here in the "true" iron country!

Al: Let it be - all this has been known to me for a long time, Lu! And admittedly I have done my homework long ago. Already have an eye on these riches. I will invest here and bring everything again "in shot" ...

Lu: So another hot iron in your blazing forge fire!?

Visitor information

Schulstr. 13
57562 Herdorf-Sassenroth
Phone: 02744/6389

Opening hours:
Tue - Sun: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.

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Picture gallery of the mining museum of the Altenkirchen district

Bergbaumuseum Kreis Altenkirchen

Bergbau 9 Bergbaumuseum Altenkirchen

For 2,300 years, ore has provided jobs and a living for the people of the Siegerland region! At Herdorf alone, there are several mines run by the Essen-based Krupp Group since 1872. The museum in the former local school rebuilds the regional "Iron Age" like a jigsaw puzzle. The major highlight is the exciting mock-up mine in the basement with mine engines, machines and pneumatic drills …

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Archaeological site Gerhardsseifen


You know that I am a representative of the "steel age" and an ardent advocate of a prosperous future for this metal. But did you know that even the ancient Celts were masters in the processing of iron more than two thousand years ago? This is where the largest iron-age smelting furnaces were located. Here the Celts struck and forged on anvil stones. With their products they helped many a warlord to victories and farmers to rich harvests.

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Besucherbergwerk Wodanstolln


This is sooo cute - a little mountain cottage! And the mine train's trolleys look like toys, too! Who would use them to get the ore out of the mountain? Busy dwarves? Let's go in, Alfred! Don't forget your camera!

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