Begin: 25.04.2021 10:00 hour End: 28.11.2021 19:00 hour

Photographs by Michael Kerstgens

1986: In January the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded during lift-off. In April, Chernobyl was the site of a nuclear catastrophe. In November, the water used to extinguish a large fire at the Sandoz chemical factory in Switzerland wiped out wildlife in the Rhine, leaving a trail of destruction deep into Germany. An annus horribilis? Perhaps. It was certainly a year that caused many to question space travel and the nuclear and chemical industries as key drivers of human progress. But the photographs of Michael Kerstgens demonstrate that there was more to 1986 than an apocalyptic farewell to modernity. These images of everyday life, sport and leisure reveal that 1986 was a year of surreal normality somewhere between Orwell’s 1984 and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In this annus horribilis, industrial production ceased at Völklinger Hütte; the historic ironworks had served its purpose. What is now the Völklinger Hütte World Cultural Heritage Site exemplifies the transformation from an industrial society to a service and leisure society, a transformation that could be witnessed throughout Germany. In capturing these changes, Kerstgens has enabled us to take a remarkable journey back in time to 1986.

Curator: Ralf Beil


Christian Boltanski: Die Zwangsarbeiter - Erinnerungsort in der Völklinger Hütte

Begin: 01.11.2018 10:00 hour End: 31.12.2028

This major installation by Christian Boltanski in the Völklinger Hütte sintering plant engages with the issue of forced labour in a new and deeply moving way. Over the course of the Second World War, 11,974 men, women and children from twenty countries were registered as forced labourers at Völklinger Hütte. Of these, 261 lost their lives, sixty of them children and infants. These people can be encountered between the claustrophobic walls of this archive of memories, with its seemingly endless stacks of archive boxes. Here and there, visitors catch a glimpse of a number, or of black trousers and jackets piled into a mountain of clothes. Meanwhile, the names of the forced labourers are whispered from all corners of the installation, sending shivers down the spine. Boltanski’s installation instantly transports visitors to another world.


The Röchlings and the Völklingen Ironworks | Permanent Exhibition

Begin: 28.06.2019 10:00 hour End: 31.12.2030 19:00 hour

The history of the Völklinger Hütte is linked to one family: the Röchlings. For decades representatives of this family shaped the fate of the Völklingen Iron and Steelworks. The permanent exhibition "The Röchlings and the Völklinger Hütte" in the sintering plant of the World Cultural Heritage Site Völklinger Hütte tells the more than 100-year history of the Völklinger Hütte in the mirror of the acting persons from the founding and owning family Röchling. Following the temporary exhibition "The Röchling Ironworks and the Völklinger Hütte" (2014 - 2016) and the scientific conference of the same name in 2015, the subject is now being given a permanent place in the sintering plant on the visitors' path to the World Cultural Heritage Site at the Völklinger Hütte. The exhibition opens up new visitor areas in the sintering plant.

The exhibition "Die Röchlings und die Völklinger Hütte" forms a thematic unity with the UNESCO Visitor Centre, the installation "The Forced Labourers - Place of Remembrance at the Völklinger Hütte" and the presentation of historical research on the forced labourers at the Völklinger Hütte. 


Christian Boltanski: Erinnerungen / Souvenirs / Memories

Begin: 28.08.2020 10:00 hour End: 31.12.2030 19:00 hour

At the Völklingen Ironworks, Christian Boltanski had erected a large installation in memory of the forced labourers next to the memorial, which was on display as a temporary installation until the end of 2019. Today, with the artist's consent, the same installation, "Memories | Memories", has found its permanent place in the Möllerhalle in a modified form.

Numerous lockers from different areas of the site have been grouped together. Records of eyewitness accounts of work at the Völklingen Ironworks escape from the lockers. These lockers are the crystallisation point of the entire site. Their private interior, the exterior of the ironworks, impressively conveys a special form of remembrance and appreciation of the work done there.


Review on the major exhibitions

The Celts Druids. Princes. Warriors. | 196.043 visitors | 2010
IncaGold - 3000 years' advanced civilisations - Masterpieces from Larco Museum Peru |193.073 visitors | 2004
The Incas - Gold. Power. God. | 186.545 visitors
Egypt - Gods. Humans. Pharaohs. | 178.012 visitors | 2014
4. UrbanArt Biennale® 2017 | 151.813 visitors
State gifts - 60 years Germany | 132.676 visitors | 2009
Leonardo da Vinci – man machine | 123.732 visitors | 2002
The Legend Queen Elizabeth II. Luciano Pelizzari Collection | 115.959 visitors
UrbanArt Biennale® 2015 | 111.345 visitors | 2015
Buddha | 107.837 visitors | 2016
Genius I. The mission: discover explore invent | 104.785 visitors | 2007
UrbanArt Biennale 2013 | 104.732 visitors | 2013
Nicolas Dhervillers. Behind the Future | 101.595 visitors| 2012
Power&Magnificence. The splendour of Europe in the 19th century | 98.384 visitors | 2006
Otmar Alt - The Raven at the Centre of World History | 97.173 visitors | 2009
Generation Pop | 87.999 vsitors | 2013

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