Pipes, metal tracks, huge silos and mashings of metal are all around. It feels like I’m lost in an industrial jungle. The light breaks through in places but, otherwise, the sun is eclipsed by the constructions in every direction. It looks haphazard but everything is there for a reason. It’s a patchwork of metal in which the visitors seem so insignificant in size.
This is the Völklingen Ironworks – an enormous testament to German industry and the growth of a new age of productivity and expansion across Europe. The ironworks first started operation in 1883 and it was a critical part of the industrial landscape in Germany during the 20th century. At its peak, more than 17,000 people worked here. You can only imagine the noise that must have boomed from every direction, the heat as the machines were all in operation, and the crowds as thousands of people moved around the complex.