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Published: September 25th 2014
Duisburg Germany 23 September 2014
We wanted to see more of the Industrial Rout of Germany. The area we were travelling in, from Dusseldorf, to Duisburg, Oberhausen and Essen have been the industrial powerhouse of Germany for centuries. Through its coal mining, power generation, steel making etc, was also the region which manufactured much of the ammunition and war-power for the 2 World Wars.
Since those days, it has been a leader in manufacturing, particularly of items made of different metals, but not limited to this. The innovation coming out from this region has been extraordinary and used by much of the world.
As we know, the industrialisation era has diminished and so this region in Germany has been left with massive infrastructure that is no longer used - smelting works, coal mines and all that goes with it, steel manufacturing plants, power generators. So what does a country do with such infrastructure?
This is where Germany displays to the world, its cleverness and innovation. They have turned this infrastructure into tourist, recreational, environmental and arts facilities.
We visited one such example - Landschaftpark Duisburg-Nord. This is an extraordinary tourist site in the Ruhr Valley and
Germany. A whole smelting plant - once a place of hard work - has been transformed into a space of experience.
One highlight is climbing the 70metre tall blast furnace to get a spectacular view of the region. We followed the green-painted hand rails to get to the top. On the way were interpretive signs telling us what the parts of the old structure used to be used for.
The power station has been modernised and it now a venue for regular fairs, presentations and concert and can host up to 4,200 people.
The old weighbridge for the smelting plant is now an area where old trains are restored and rolled out for people to view.
The old Administrative Building is now a Youth Hostel 140 beds. Some of the concrete structures have been converted into Rock climbing walls and playground. In several of the bunkers, exhibitions and video presentations now occur. The blast furnace has become a stage for the Open-air Cinema where 1000 people fit into the cinema. The transparent and mobile roof protects the people if it rains but allows a free view on a starry night sky in the summer. The Blowing
House is a podium for operas, congresses, stage plays and concerts.
In the old Gasometer, 13 metres below the surface of the water, divers can discover an old ship wreck or can swim through an artificial reef...very different to the storage of blast furnace gas which was its 1st function.
They have also installed a stainless steel strip between 2 buildings. It is laid on springs so when I ran down it (which is about 100m long) I bounced along. it was a fantastic feeling. It made a hell of a noise though!!
There is also a 'forest' that has also taken over some of the areas, but this adds to the green of the park. There are cafes and information centre so the park has it all.
After climbing, viewing, running and drinking throughout the park, we went back to our motor home for dinner and decided to stay the night in the park. There were 4 other motor homes in the car park so all was well. We got to know out Germany neighbours and they gave us a few more hints on what else to see in the region.
next morning we were off to Oberhausen and Essen, both also a part of the Industrial Trail.
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