Henne Valley Dam 

In the 19th century, 1.75 cubic meters of water were needed to produce one ton of coal. A ton of steel consumed as much as five cubic meters. What does this have to do with the Henne Valley Dam near Meschede? Industry, trade and large cities in the Ruhr area depended and still depend almost entirely on the Ruhr as a source of water. The Hennesee is one of eight reservoirs that reliably regulate the level of the Ruhr ...

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… In times of rain, it stores the water and feeds it into the Ruhr in dry periods. Apart from that, bathing, diving and sailing in and on Lake Henne are excellent, with the surrounding forests attracting hikers and cyclists. A cruise on the "MS Hennesee" offers a fresh breeze, and those who aim high can climb 333 steps on the "Stairway to Heaven" to the top of the dam.

The second dam crest, to be precise. The first dam, completed in 1905, used to run about 200 metres below the present one. However, the porous limestone bedrock, perforated like a Swiss cheese by the carbonated water of the Henne River, causes problems. As a result, so much water is lost that the operation of the first dam is no longer worthwhile and, on top of that, there is a risk of damages to the dam itself. So the water of Lake Henne I is allowed to run off like from a bathtub, but a new reservoir is urgently needed to compensate for low water in the Ruhr and to ensure the water supply of the Ruhr District. Today's barrage is located at a site where the perforated bedrock is cheaper to seal. It enters service in 1955 and, with 38.4 million cubic metres of water, is one of the smaller reservoirs in the Ruhr river basin. The region's combined reservoir capacity is 473 million litres, with Bigge and Möhne lakes accounting for the lion's share (60 percent). This enormous water reserve is an integrated system that is controlled by the Ruhr Association's Reservoir Control Centre in Essen.

Beyond that, the artificial lakes provide South Westphalia with a tourist trademark that is further enhanced by specific projects. In the case of Lake Henne, this includes the renaturation of the river Henne as well as the landscaped Henne Boulevard, which connects the dam with the town centre of Meschede, two kilometres away. A striking highlight is the illuninated "Stairway to Heaven", which leads to a 60-metre-high panoramic platform.


The "Steel Time Travelers" Luise & Alfred: Henne Valley Dam


Uphill again - aren't there any stairs? Here at the splashing hen would be a picnic excellent, Bütterken and a cool blond ...

Full dialog text
Lu: Uphill again - aren't there any stairs? Here at the splashing hen would be a picnic excellent, Bütterken and a cool blond, Alfred? Are you hungry too?

Al: Hmm - speaking of water! Outside the gates of the city such an unruly stream - there must be a dam. Then I'd always have enough water for my factories and at the same time have peace from the Ruhr flood - terrific!

Lu: Oh Al - I really get the pimpernellen with you - you always think only of coal. What about the common people? Drinking water and summer resort - so a shoe becomes from it!

Al: D'accord Lu. But with the steam horse from Essen uphill to Meschede and with the bicycle a round turn or steamboat drive, that would be a profit for the public welfare ...

Lu: Papperlapapp - I'm going to take a bath and then I'm hungry. Will you look away! Tss!

Visitor information

The car park for hikers at the Hennedamm
is a good starting point for exploring the
Henne Valley Dam. 

Am Stadtpark 6
59872 Meschede
Phone: 02924/9022443

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

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The Henne Valley Dam in the past and today

Henne Valley Dam


In the 19th century, 1.75 cubic metres of water are needed to extract one tonne of coal, while one tonne of steel consumes even five cubic metres. How does this relate to the Henne Dam near Meschede? Industry, businesses and large cities in the Ruhr District were and still are almost entirely reliant on the Ruhr water. Lake Henne is one of eight reservoirs reliably regulating the river’s water level …

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DampfLandLeute Museum Eslohe


Listen to that rattling and hissing! You love the sound of steam engines, Alfred. Yes, even here in the countryside, these messengers of progress have made people's lives more carefree, their work easier and their earnings richer. One day, these steel powerhouses will be old iron, but no one will ever want to do without them!

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Hennesee round trip


I would like to stay with you a little longer in the Hennetal. Let's continue to spin the plan of a dam with crystal-clear water and make plans for the future. I imagine a lake so big that it would take two to three hours to go all the way around it - including a cool swim!

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