Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord

The crazy heat - 1,500 degrees at the blast furnace tapping - has gone, but the rest of the former Thyssen smelter is still standing, only in a different way: The gasometer is now a diving pool, the ore bunker a climbing garden, and from blast furnace 5 visitors look out over the western Ruhr region. It's hard to believe that ores from all over the world - including some from the Siegerland region - were once smelted here on a grand scale ...

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… In 82 years of operation, the plant's output totalled 37 million tonnes of pig iron, and as late as 1982, the Thyssen group invests millions in the refurbishment of blast furnace 5. Three years later, the plant is shut down, followed by an experiment: the creation of a new type of landscaped park that turns the 200-hectare industrial wasteland into a cultural heritage site with a strong identity.

In the evenings only, it seems as if the blaze of the blast furnaces is shining again. Then the remaining three blast furnaces are covered in glowing red, set against cool shades of blue and green. The creator of this spectacle is the English artist Jonathan Park, whose impressive light installation illuminates the industrial plant since 1996.

Former ironworker Jürgen D. describes the hard work at the blast furnace: "The iron and slag reached temperatures of up to 1,500 degrees, and standing next to the chute for more than a minute would burn off the legs of your trousers, simply from the heat radiation. We nailed planks under the clogs, three centimetres strong, and they had to be replaced every three days."

At times, five blast furnaces operate non-stop. A neighbouring colliery and coking plant, also founded by August Thyssen (1842–1926), ensures a constant supply of coke. Ores or aggregates are shipped via the river Rhine and then by rail to the ore bunkers. Most of the ores originate from Brazil, South Africa and North America; the share of German ores, such as from the Siegerland region, only increases during the Nazi forced economy. Yet their iron content is lower, which means a decline in production. After World War II, the steel mill undergoes two major periods of refurbishment. That is why the end on 4 April 1985 catches the 300 employees by surprise. Public protests prevent the plant from being dismantled. The Emscher Park International Building Exhibition (IBA) promotes the development of today's landscaped park, which has since become the epitome of industrial culture.


The "Steel Time Travelers" Luise & Alfred: Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord


Here in Duisburg, pig iron will still be produced and steel will still be boiled when elsewhere the furnace has long since gone out! ...

Full dialog text
Al: Here in Duisburg, pig iron will still be produced and steel will still be cooked when elsewhere the furnace has long since gone out!

Lu: You don't say - fortune teller Alfred! You probably always paint the future in the most dazzling colors and the most beautiful tones!

Al: Blooming landscapes as far as the eye can see: plunging into the depths of steely mountains, climbing up to lofty heights. What could be more beautiful than a symphony of iron and steel - beacons of progress!

Lu: Monstrous thrills. Against all nature! One day you will be surprised!

Al: Wonder, Lu! Don't be surprised! We bring prosperity to the Rhineland and Westphalia, growth to the coalfield and goods to the whole world!

Lu: W-W-W. Oh dear! Where will this rampant madness lead? Steel and concrete, fire and ash - sometimes I wish for the lovely green nature back.

Al: But first comes my prime! Let's harvest the precious fruits of this vibrant landscape!

Visitor information

Emscherstr. 71
47137 Duisburg
Phone: 0203/4291919

Opening hours:
Visitor Centre Mon - Fri: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sat/Sun/Holidays: 11a.m. - 6 p.m.

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Old and new facilities of the Meiderich-Nord blast furnace plant (1953)

Brief description (film without sound)

Until the 1950s, much of the work is manual, such as filling the blast furnace with iron ore, etc., or preparing the sand bed into which the molten iron flows after tapping. Blast furnaces 5 and 1 are rebuilt in 1954 and 1956. The new blast furnaces are filled automatically and the molten pig iron flows into special rail cars.

The Duisburg-Nord Landscape Park through the ages

Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord

EisenStahl 11 Landschaftspark Duisburg

The insane heat – 1,500 degrees at the blast furnace tapping – has gone, but the rest of the former Thyssen steelworks is still there, albeit different: the gasometer is now a pool for divers, the ore bunker is a climbing park, and the view from blast furnace 5 overlooks the western Ruhr District. Hard to believe that ores from all over the world – including some from the Siegerland – were once smelted here on a grand scale …

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Tiger & Turtle – Magic Mountain


Here, too, the Father Rhine is not far. From a greater height, you could certainly see as far as Düsseldorf or Essen. One would simply have to pile the rubble and the slag of the works on top of each other and there would be a magical mountain with a panoramic view. Dizzying - I think my imagination is going on a merry-go-round with me!

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Alsumer Berg


Do you have anything to do with Al-sum, Alfred? Hardly. After all, the bustling village is located right at the mouth of the Emscher River in one of those sweeping bends in the Rhine. Perfect for a port, isn't it? I'd love to know if the place has a future ... or if one day "grass will grow over it" and only mighty chimneys will rise into the sky here, too.

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