Iserlohn entrepreneur Hermann Diedrich Piepenstock could hardly have dreamed of such a thing: for 160 years, the Hermannshütte he founded dominated the Hörde district of Dortmund, and then, in just under six years, the once huge steel mill was transformed into a local recreation area with an artificial lake, noble townhouses and chic restaurants. The only reminder of the "steel era" is a Thomas pear ...

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… Medieval Hörde Castle is another relic, featuring a number of extensions as the company's administrative headquarters since the 19th century. The "Fiery Elias" train, once carrying molten pig iron from the neighbouring steelworks right through the heart of Hörde, is now a biking lane. Cleared of its underground canal, the rehabilitated Emscher ripples along the northern shore of the Phoenix lake.

"Baby Jesus is baking cookies" is the saying in the old days when the slag ladle is dumped and paints the dark skies over Hörde red – a feature that is particularly common in winter. At that time Hörde is literally wedged between two industrial complexes. The cornerstone is laid by the Iserlohn entrepreneur Hermann Diedrich Piepenstock (1782–1843). He gains professional experience in his father's pin factory, later establishes the first tinplate factory in Westphalia and, in 1840, acquires the Hörder Castle to build the Hermannshütte to the east of Hörde as a puddling and rolling mill based on the English model. Upon his death, a blast furnace plant is built close to the west of Hörde. In 1852 the two companies merge to form the first public limited company in the Ruhr steel industry. The names Phoenix-East and Phoenix-West date back to the merger with Phoenix AG in 1906. In the years that followed, the companies merged again and again before the plants were taken over by Hoesch plc in 1966 and finally became part of ThyssenKrupp Stahl plc in 1997.

On the site of the steelworks, which was closed down in 1998, an extensive technology and business park is under construction. To the east of Hörde, Dortmund opts for one of the most spectacular redevelopment projects in the Ruhr region, the Lake Phoenix. Construction starts four years after the shutdown of the steelworks: from 2005 to 2010, more than 2.5 million cubic metres of soil and around 420,000 cubic metres of demolished reinforced concrete are being shifted. The success is impressive, even if some of the old residents feel left behind by the dizzying pace of change.

The "Steel Time Travelers" Luise & Alfred: Lake Phoenix


My Iserlohn friend Hermann Piepenstock has really done a great job here!

Full dialog text
Lu: Here, my Iserlohn friend Hermann Piepenstock has really done a great job!

Al: Hear, hear! So he's from Sauerland!? Another imported pioneer from the province ...

Lu: That's just around the corner. Iserlohn has always been an iron and a forest town! In any case, he has appeared like the "Phoenix from the ashes" with his "Hermannshütte" and is cooking steel here.

Al: Here? Right next to the castle of the Lords of Hörde? And right next to the little river Emscher?

Lu: Gigantic - isn't it!? There is even a metallurgical joint stock company! One day I or my descendants will surely participate in it ...

Al: Who knows. Maybe in the future the steel will be cooked in China or India, and here you stroll in silent memory of the time of the red-hot furnaces, which were simply flogged ...

Lu: That's clear. So you really think that all this will go down the drain - uh - the Emscher? Then you might as well flood it and build beautiful mansions for Dortmund's heroes on the banks of this "Phoenix Lake" ...

Visitor information

44263 Dortmund

Opening hours:
The area is accessible 24 hours a day.

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Short description (film without sound)

"The filming baker's wife", as Elisabeth Wilms (1905-1981) was called in Dortmund, made more than 150 films. The Phoenix area can be seen from the air, a Thomas pear of the Phoenix East steelworks, where steel is made from iron, as well as steel ingots being rolled into sheets in several stages in the rolling mill.

Dortmund Hörde in the past and today


EisenStahl 16 Phoenixsee

Hermann Diedrich Piepenstock, an entrepreneur from Iserlohn, would hardly have dreamed of this: the Hermannshütte he founded dominates the Dortmund district of Hörde for 160 years, and then, in just six years, the giant steelworks is transformed into a local recreation area with an artificial lake, noble town houses and fancy restaurants. The only reminder of the "steel era" is a basic converter …

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Welcome to the realm of the Hoeschians in Dortmund. You Westphalians have always known how to make an impression and turn a hut into a palace! So be it. These Eifel Hoeschs really do want to get a foothold in the Ruhr region. Let's see who comes out on top in the end.

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Botanical Garden Rombergpark


The von Romberg family is well known to me. Their Brünninghausen Palace
is inseparably linked with the highly regarded landscape garden created here by the Düsseldorf court gardener Weyhe. A truly idyllic garden with linden avenues and winding paths. There's even something for you, Alfred: rust-red ferruginous springs spring up here, partly from old coal mines.

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