Ruhr Museum

Cultural Landscape Deilbachtal

The Deilbachtal in the south of Essen is one of the most interesting cultural landscapes of the Ruhr area. It has a five hundred year old history, starting with being used as an agricultural and later an industrial region. As an early industrial listed landscape it describes the origin of the iron and metal industry in the Ruhr area and is comparable to the Muttental in Witten, the birthplace of Ruhr mining. It is the equivalent to the Zeche Zollverein as well, because they describe the industrialisation from its beginnings to the high point on Essen grounds.

The Deilbachtal is also one of the oldest listed landscapes in Germany. In 1917 the Deiler Eisenhammer had already been taken out of service due to financial reasons. It was not destroyed but rebuilt as a project of several organisations, like the Ruhrlandmuseum, in the years 1936/37. It was rebuilt to be able to show it to the public as a “technical cultural listed building”. Together with the Halbachhammer in Nachtigallental, which was relocated to Essen one year earlier, in 1936, the Eisenhammer belongs to the first examples of industrial culture in Europe.

Already in the 80s the listed buildings of the Deilbachtal were connected by a hiking trail and documented in one of the first exhibitions in the Kutschenhaus (carriage house) of the Deilbachtal by the Ruhrlandmuseum of the city Essen. Since then guided tours and educational projects have been offered, also in connection with other branches, like the geological trail next to the Baldeneysee or the Mineral Museum Kupferdreh which are organised by the Ruhr Museum in the south of Essen.

Due to the extraordinary natural resources, an industrial economic system had already developed in Deilbachtal by the 16th century. Exposed hillside seams facilitated early coal mining. Ores, sandstones and clay slates were the basic materials for further industrial sectors. Extensive forests supplied the wood for producing the charcoal which was required for melting and processing metals. The water of the Deilbach stream was used to drive the hammers and mills.

To reawaken those connections and to make sure the Deilbachtal is back in the public memory the Ruhr Museum opened a permanent exhibition about the natural and cultural history of the Deilbachtal on the 16th June 2013 in the Kutschenhaus of the Kupferhammer.

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