Where was the first factory in the world? Where was the biggest steam engine built? And where was the most modern colliery of its time? Industrialisation has changed the face of Europe. It has left us with a rich industrial heritage. A vast network of sites spread across Europe. It just needs to be brought back to life - and that is what the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH) is doing. Join us on an exciting journey of discovery through the most important sites of Europe's industrial history.

Read more about ERIH and it's (virtual) route system of Anchor Points, Regional Routes and European Theme Routes:


Sites are the basis of the ERIH route system   

We present over 2,300 sites from all European countries. Our database is constantly growing. A site is included in it if it

  • is significant for industrial history and is explained by means of signs or new media, or
  • presents industrial history and/or its products, and
  • is open to visitors at least two days a week during the normal tourist season.

Please contact our webmaster if you know of any other sites that meet these criteria.


Anchor Points form ERIH's virtual main route  

The name says it all. Many features are anchored here. Primarily the overall route framework. Anchor Points cover the complete range of European industrial history. After that, they tell tourists what they can see at a local level. Visitors of all ages can relive their industrial heritage through fascinating guided tours, exciting multi-media presentations and outstanding special events.

Anchor Points are sites of exceptional historical importance in terms of industrial heritage which also offer a high quality visitor experience. They are the milestones of European Industrial Heritage. Acceptance as an Anchor Point - which is reserved to ERIH members - is a seal of quality and it offers visitors the promise of an enjoyable and interesting visit.

Information about the selection criteria and the selection procedure

The Anchor Points (I want to go there! | Anchor Points)


Regional Routes open up the industrial history of a region

Each region has its own specialisms and in this respect European industrial heritage is just like food. Its strength lies in the fact that it unites many different traditions within a single idea.

Regional Routes or networks link landscapes and sites which have left their mark on European industrial history. The region's industrial heritage is worth a visit for residents and tourists. Germany's Ruhrgebiet, for example. Or South Wales, a key region in the "world's first industrial nation". Both these areas comprise a number of less significant industrial monuments - the small cogs in the large machine.

The Regional Routes


Theme Routes illustrate the European connections

Such as "The treasures of the Earth": what, where, when and how were they extracted from the ground? Or "Textile manufacturing": what were the milestones along the way from fibre to factory?

Theme Routes focus on specific questions relating to European industrial history and reveal - offen in connection with the biographies - potential links between radically different industrial monuments all over Europe. The result is a "circuit diagram" showing the connections between the main themes of European industrial heritage.

The European Theme Routes
History of selected industries