Landschaftspark-Duisburg-Nord, GermanyMay 7 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C
Age worn industrial infrastructure dominates the skyline. Rusted railway tracks lie disused infront of us, small shrubs growing between their sleepers. A utilitarian network of latticed metal transport and loading frames tower tens of metres above our chosen spot in a large gravel car park.
We left Belgium this afternoon, made our way through The Netherlands and arrived at Landschaftspark (landscape park) in the Ruhr valley, Germany's industrial heartland. The park was created on the site of an old iron works, leaving the vast majority of machinery and buildings intact. The public has free access and the hundreds of cars here show how much it is appreciated.
After a cuppa we began our exploration, heading first towards a viewpoint atop a mound at the northern end of the site. Older teenagers hung around in goups of 5 or 6 with their 'boy racer' cars and old black BMWs, bass beats blasting from the stereo systems. A corrugated roof covered rows of concrete walls, providing a wonderful canvas for graffiti artists. The hard sand skate and bmx track beside it meant it was a popular hangout for younger teenagers, but later a large mixed age group came with equipment to use the climbing wall here.
Crossing back over the vast parking area we headed to the south end of the park where the main infrastructure lay. Several large warehouses here are venues for performances, art exhibitions and events (we were disappointed to miss the upcoming street food festival)! What really drew our eyes though were the enormous metal furnaces and brick towers. We hadn't researched the park before arriving so we were in awe that these structures had been left open to the public. Wandering towards a marked viewpoint, we felt a thrill of excitement when we realised there was a staircase leading up the side of Blast Furnace 5. When we began climbing we didn't realise quite how far it reached, but countless steps later we were standing 70m up on a viewing platform, surveying the other furnaces, coal bunkers and chimneys from a completely different perspective. The climb allowed you to get up close and personal with the rusted steel shell of the furnace and information boards described the purposes of various pipes and hoppers, but we didn't linger at these, preferring to look around with wonder and imagine what it must have been like when the plant was fully operational. Will used to work in a foundry, so has some idea of how hot, noisy and dangerous it would have been.
The Landschaftspark had so much to offer, there were wild meadows, gardens inside old bunkers and each weekend sees a lightshow illuminating the loading bridges, buildings, chimneys and furnaces. There was even a motorhome service point! We'd definitely choose to stay at this unique and intriguing site again, but we'd arrived late in the afternoon and our heads felt full from taking in the scale of it all and the following day we felt the need to travel a little further towards Lithuania.Read more