This last weekend we flew on a Friday evening into Luxembourg and drove across the landscape to Saarbrücken and the baptism of my new godchild. So far, pretty normal. But along the way, we saw something that’s hard to describe. It looked like something from a book, or a nightmare or an alternate reality. Steel and iron, reaching into the sky like outstretched fingers. And all this, in the middle of a town. We made a note to look it up on Google. And it turns out that this thing, was the last of its kind. A relic from a very recent history. Its name, Völklingen Ironworks.
Völklingen Hütte is a World Heritage Site unlike any other. It’s not the Pyramids, it’s not the Acropolis, it’s not the Taj Mahal. It’s far uglier that all of these. But at the same time it’s equally beautiful. How does that work? Well, I have no idea. You have to see it for yourself. Explore its 6km of walking routes that move through, around and inside its cavernous interior and majestic chimneys. Exploring it feels like you’re right back in the industrial revolution in the heart of Europe. Its scale and complexity are awe-inspiring. And yet it is also a dead thing. Cold, useless and outdated. Left to rust away into oblivion with the smell of a 100 years of melted iron in the air.
Except that hasn’t happened. Thanks to Unesco it is now a powerful historical and cultural location as well as brilliant art space. Hopefully the pictures below can do justice to this magnificent beast.