Energy Factory Knappenrode

The coal dust has long since disappeared, to be replaced by an ensemble of shining redbrick buildings on a site resembling a park. The old Knappenrode briquetting plant near Hoyerswerda is the heart of the Lausitz Mining Museum. Its buildings contain row on row of historical engines from 1918 onwards. The same goes for the steam turbines in the central power station: they date from the late 19th century down to the 1950s and serve as a stylish setting for summer concerts. Diagonally opposite in the miners’ washroom there are rock crystals, agates and more – glittering treasures which have been found by chance during brown coal mining operations. Other factory buildings display old colliery fire-engines, measuring instruments used in mining, an exhibition on brown coal and the environment and Europe´s biggest collection of historic ovens and fireplaces. The old goods station is a palpable legacy of railway history and the pithead tower, complete with show galleries, demonstrates the draining technology used in brown-coal mining. Now water is more coveted than ever. The best example of this is the heron lake directly adjacent to the museum. It used to be a yawning pit. Now it is the home of German’s largest colony of herons.

Energy Factory Knappenrode
Ernst-Thälmann-Straße 8
02977 Hoyerswerda
+49 (0) 3571 - 604267


Marshland, heathland, pine forests: that was the Lausitz in 1850. The arrival of brown coal mining changed all that completely – railway lines, open-cast mines and briquetting plants began to spread all over the plain. One of the state-of-the-art plants was set up in 1914 near Hoyerswerda by the "Eintracht Werke", managed by an industrial magnate named Joseph Werminghoff. Production began in October 1918, and two other plants followed a few years later. The workers dwelt in a specially-erected housing estate right next to the factory gates. They had access to a store, a guest house, a community centre and a railway station. The company determined the content and rhythm of life. Even the graves into which the workers were lowered at the end of their lives belonged to the factory. After the Second World War the technical equipment and the machines fell victim to Russian demands for reparations. That said the first briquette presses were back in operation by May 1948. The plant was now called “Glückauf” and the growing housing estate next door was later christened “Knappenrode”. In 1965 the plant turned out more than one and a half million tons of briquettes, a new annual record. But the management failed to implement the necessary modernisation measures, the plant began to age visibly and permanent bottlenecks in the supply of spare parts as good as turned the factory into a museum during its own lifetime. When the last shift left the works in 1993 the workers not only left behind the smell of freshly pressed briquettes but also – and this is unique in the whole Europe – an almost uninterrupted succession of briquette-making techniques. Now the carefully reconstructed group of factory buildings is an imposing, multifaceted industrial museum. The fact that up until a few years ago the older inhabitants of Knappenrode were still coming to wash in the miner’s washrooms on Saturdays – a custom from the time when none of the factory houses contained a bath - shows how much its history is rooted in the minds of the local inhabitants. This is living industrial heritage.

Recommended duration of visit: 2-3 Hours
Duration of a guided Tour: 60 Minutes
Admission: Charge
Access for persons with disabilities: For details see website
Infrastructure for Children:
Visitor centre on site: yes
Gift and book shop on Site: yes

April to October:
Tuesday to Friday 9am-5pm
Saturday, Sunday, public holiday 10am-5pm

November to March:
Tueday to Friday 10am-3pm
Saturday, Sunday, public holiday 10am-5pm

Guided tours: 11am, 2pm and 3.30pm

  • Guided tours optional
  • Guided tours for children