ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting Voelklingen, Saarland, Germany: wooded locality formerly known for heavy industry

Updated on October 17, 2012
Flag of Germany
Flag of Germany | Source
Slag Heaps of the former Röchling’schen Iron- and Steelworks, Völklingen
Slag Heaps of the former Röchling’schen Iron- and Steelworks, Völklingen | Source
Voelklingen Steelworks, taken circa 1948-1955
Voelklingen Steelworks, taken circa 1948-1955 | Source
The former "Grube Velsen" mine, Völklingen
The former "Grube Velsen" mine, Völklingen | Source
Map location of Voelklingen, Germany
Map location of Voelklingen, Germany | Source

Trees hiding a dynamic past

As the main photo, above, bears out, there is a lot of woodland in Voelklingen, in Germany's Saarland. It was not always so. Formerly known more for its heavy industry, scenes from the past, captured on film, seem to exemplify William Blake's 'dark, Satanic mills'. But today, what were once slag heaps from the former Röchling’schen Iron- and Steelworks now look like artificial hills that have been greened over.

Actually, I am not here to knock heavy industry, which, when its activities locally were economic to pursue, played a very positive role for the Saarland and Germany. Indeed, the former Voelklingen Ironworks (German: Voelklinger Huette ) has even been declared a World Heritage Site (Weltkulturerbe ) (1), and participates in the network known as the European Route of Insdustrial Heritage (German: Europäische Route der Industriekultur ). Coal mining, also, was formerly important locally.

Voelklingen is situated on the Saar River, and thus its past status as the Saarland's leading steelmaking centre was linked to the ready availability of water, when the industry was first developed in the 19th century (2). The city is also situated near the French border; and given that the Saarland was detached for a few years from Germany after World War Two, and the Federal German Republic in the first years of its history, did not actually control the city's heavy industry.

But my memories of my visit to Voelklingen are of pleasing, quiet woodland, some of it so thoroughly mature that in places it is as if the former heavy industry had never existed (although some industry remains).

October 15, 2012


(1) Pioneered by Julius Buch and, later, Carl Roechling in the late 19th century, the ironworks was active until 1986. A blast furnace has been preserved; the site of the former Voelklingen Ironworks is now a museum.

(2) Similar comments could be made about the proximity of the Ruhr River to the industrial complexes of North Rhine/Westphalia (German: Nordrhein-Westfalen), the Rouge River to the development of the Detroit motor industry, etc.

Also worth seeing

In Voelklingen itself, towered former City Hall (German: Rathaus ) is an ornate building. The St. Eligius church is an unusual, imposing structure. A Wildlife Park (German: Wildapark ) exists, containing 11 hectares of parkland.

Saarbruecken (distance: 12 kilometres) visitor attractions include: the Baroque St Johann's Basilica and Stengel's Peace Church (German: Friedenskirche ); the 16th century Old Bridge (German: Alte Bruecke ); the neo-Gothic St Johann's City Hall (German: Rathaus St. Johann ); Saarbruecken Castle and the Castle Wall; and many others.

Saarlouis (distance 16 kilometres) has the birthplace of Marshal Ney.

Nennig , Saarland (distance: 60 kilometres) has a well preserved mosaic at the ruins of a Roman villa.


How to get there: Lufthansa flies to Frankfurt-am-Main (distance from Voelklingen : 199 kilometres), from where car hire is available. The railroad company DB maintains a service between Frankfurt-am-Main and Voelklingen . Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

For your visit, these items may be of interest


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • MJFenn profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      suzettenaples: Yes, Germany's Saarland deserves to be better known than it is; from its Roman remains, to its interesting cities and landscapes. Thank-you for your comment.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Interesting article on a part of Germany I have never visited. Thanks for an explanation of this area and the photos are beautiful. Very interesting history in this part of Germany. Voted up and shared!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)