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Minett Mash-Up (22) – Peter Backes & Jörg Pütz x Völklinger Hütte

Visting a UNESCO World Heritage Site

 

For the Minett Mash-Up team, this year is all about industrial culture and the industrial heritage of our region. Minett, the iron ore found in the south of Luxembourg, still links our region to several villages in Belgium, Lorraine and even Saarland.

This is why the Minett UNESCO Biosphere Podcast, produced in collaboration with Industriekultur-CNCI and the Musée vun der Aarbecht, does not visit a site in the Minett-region this time. In search of an answer to the question of what links Saarland to the Minett, we recorded the latest episode of the Minett Mash-Up in Völklingen.

Our “Minett-Location” of the month: UNESCO Weltkulturerbe Völklinger Hütte

In 1986, the Völklinger Hütte ceased operations after more than 100 years. Iron production with the six rather small blast furnaces was simply no longer profitable. From the outset, however, it was decided that the site should be preserved as a monument to the industrial development of the Saarland.

It took only eight years to persuade UNESCO to inscribe the ironworks, which has been preserved in its entirety to this day, on the World Heritage List. 30 years ago, the Völklingen Ironworks was the first industrial site to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Much has happened in Völklingen since then. Under Meinrad Maria Grewenig, who headed the operating company of the UNESCO-site from 1999 to 2020, the former ironworks has developed into a renowned venue for large and unusual exhibitions. An exhibition on the history of German film is currently on show in the blower hall of the ironworks until the end of the summer, but the ironworks itself, with its various production facilities, is also open to the public and well worth a visit.

© Industriekultur-CNCI

Our guests: Peter Backes & Jörg Pütz

Peter Backes has been involved with the Völklinger Hütte since 1986, when he was working for the Saarland Ministry of Culture. He moved relatively quickly to the World Heritage Site’s operating company, where he was responsible for visitor management.

Peter Backes retired in 2019. However, he continues to guide visitors through the ironworks and is also a committed founding member of the ERIH network, which is also the subject of this episode of our podcast.

Jörg Pütz was born in Völklingen and grew up with “his ironworks”. Jörg has been a photographer for over 30 years. He is an archaeological photographer for the University of Saarbrucken and in his private life he photographs architecture, industrial culture and landscapes.

We spoke to Jörg about his childhood and youth with and in the “Hütte”, his profession as a photographer and his surprising connection to the Bauhaus.

Our quiz:

Question 1:

Iron production in Esch-sur-Alzette and Völklingen has a very long history. When was the Völklinger Hütte founded?

  1. 1852
  2. 1873
  3. 1911

 

Question 2:

The towns of Esch-sur-Alzette and Völklingen are characterised by blast furnaces. Iron production in Esch-sur-Alzette ceased in 1997. When were the blast furnaces at the Völklingen ironworks shut down?

  1. 1978
  2. 1986
  3. 1992

 

Question 3:

There are still two huge blast furnaces in Esch-sur-Alzette. How many blast furnaces are left in Völklingen?

  1. Also two blast furnaces
  2. Four blast furnaces
  3. Six blast furnaces

 

Question 4:

Blast furnace B in Belval produced 3,000 tonnes of iron in 24 hours, while blast furnace 6 in Völklingen produced about 1,000 tonnes. Why was the Belval blast furnace able to produce so much more iron?

  1. Workers in Luxembourg were faster
  2. The pauses were longer in Völklingen.
  3. The furnaces are smaller in Völklingen.

 

Question 5:

In 1994 the Völklingen Ironworks was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. What was the main reason for this?

  1. The blast furnaces at Völklingen do not rust.
  2. The blast furnaces at the Völklingen Ironworks are the most modern in the world.
  3. The Völklingen Ironworks is still completely preserved.

 

© Minett UNESCO Biosphere

Links to the topics discussed in this episode:

 

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