For outsiders the Hansa coking plant was a forbidden city for more than 60 years. Its roads and bridges were permeated with the smell of tar, its buildings and towers covered with layers of coal dust, day and night. Every ten minutes the endless batteries of coking ovens had to be emptied and refilled with coal. This was impossible without human intervention. Sweepers had to clean up the charging wagons and the roofs of the coking ovens which were so hot that you could fry sausages on them. Every shift lasted eight hours without a pause – an inferno. The workforce was a tight-knit society. They called themselves the Hansa crew. Nowadays one or two of the old workers take visitors through the plant. The furnaces have been cold for many years now and the black smoke has disappeared. Rusty reds and beech tree greens now dominate the sleeping industrial site interlaced - according to the season - with flowers and plants like fuchsias, rosebay willowherbs, common groundsel, summer lilacs and giant goldenrods. The path which leads from the once forbidden city to the new meadows is called the “Nature and Technology Adventure Trail”. For nature is resolutely re-conquering the old site. A round tour revives memories of both men and machines. The high points are the panorama view from the 40 metre high coal bunker and the engine house with its five huge old gas compressors and their rotating flywheels which have recently been overhauled.
The Hansa Coking Plant went into operation in 1927. At the time similar plants were springing up like mushrooms everywhere in the Ruhrgebiet as a result of the booming steel industry whose blast furnaces consumed huge amounts of coke. Hansa took its coal from the neighbouring collieries, processed it to coke at over 1000 degrees and delivered the finished product to the Dortmund Union iron and steel works. Even the waste gas produced by the coking process found its takers. Some of it went to coal chemical works and the rest was stored in the compressor houses to be fed into the gas network. The Hansa coking plant was closed in 1992. Since 1997 it has been the headquarters of the Foundation for the Preservation of Industrial Monuments and Historical Culture, a body which is responsible for twelve other industrial sites. Of these Hansa represents the period in which heavy industry in the Ruhrgebiet began to integrate its powers along fully-planned lines.
|Recommended duration of visit:||1 Hours|
|Duration of a guided tour:||120 Minutes|
|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 Sunday 10am-6pm
November to March:
Tuesday to Friday 10am-4pm