Helmets on, enter the mine train and off it goes into the mountain, 580 metres deep. An extensive network of tracks covering main and secondary galleries indicates how busy the iron ore mines of Rumelange must have been back then. Monumental machines illustrate post World War II mining operations which were far less dangerous and hard than around 1870 when Luxembourg started its mining industries. In those days 70 to 90 miners worked up to 12 hours per shift without any safety precautions and social benefits in the wet and dark “mousetrap” as one of the pits on the mining museum’s site was infamously called. Former employees vividly explain to the visitors how they extracted the iron ore and what kind of tasks were accomplished by pit foremen, regular miners, those in charge of shaft sinking, haulers, waggoners, and mine surveyors. Objects like lamps, small mining tools, measuring equipment, photos, and clothes recount the pit’s everyday life in a former engine shed on the surface. Moreover neighboring rock faces reveal former opencast mines that were operated until 1950 and show different layers of lodes.
For nearly 150 years, from 1824 to 1964, miners digged for iron ore around the ‚Roches Rouges‘ (Red Rocks) of Rumelange. Initially the industry was limited to small opencast mines, operated by local landlords or iron masters from outside the community. In 1870 Luxembourg’s ore mines went underground, thus laying the foundation of a major industrial zone. 25 years later, the country’s mines extracted 3.9 million tons of iron ore, nearly doubling the output to 7.3 million tons in 1913. At that time the Grand Duchy ranked among the ten most important producers of pig iron and iron ore worldwide.
Located in Luxembourg’s most southern parts right at the border of the Lorraine and Saarland iron and steel regions, the premises of the mining museum cover the former mines of Kirchberg, Walert, and Langengrund. Kirchberg, the oldest one, worked from 1880 until 1930, followed by the Walert pit that was inaugurated in 1898 and closed in 1963 due to geolocial conditions that did not allow the further mechanization of ore extraction. The Langengrund mine from 1900 proved to be the most profitable of the three pits and was operated well into the 1970ies. It formed part of a cross-border amalgamated mine and mainly supplied the neighbouring iron works at Differdange.
Visitors start their tour in the engine shed of a former machine shop that once belonged to the Walert mine. The exhibition includes the partly shocking working conditions of the miners who enforced their first collective agreement only in 1936. Following the exciting visit of the underground mine the museum owned restaurant ‚Maschinneschapp‘, located in a building of 1908, offers ‚Bergmannspfannen‘ (miner’s pan) and other refreshments. The establishment of the museum merely results from the initiative of a group of former miners who joined forces with the municipal administration in 1973 to conserve the mines‘ industrial heritage.
|Recommended duration of visit:||1,5 Hours|
|Duration of a guided tour:||90 Minutes|
|Access for persons with disabilities:||Available|
|Infrastructure for children:|
|Visitor centre on site:||yes|
|Gift and book shop on site:||yes|
April to June, September:
Thursday - Sunday 2-6pm
Tuesday - Sunday 2-6pm