The southern part of the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg from the 1860s became one of the principal sources of iron ore in Europe, and because the government dictated that ore could only be mined by companies who smelted it within the Duchy, some large furnace complexes were built in the region.
One was the works at Belval, which is a neighbourhood north-west of Esch-sur-Alzette, 15 km south of Luxemburg city, which in recent decades was part of the Arcelor group. When the smelting of iron in Luxemburg ceased in the 1990s two of the furnaces at Belvale, one of which had been rebuilt in 1965 and the other in 1970, together with their blowing hall of 1912, the casting hall, some cowper stoves, coke and ore bunkers, and a representative range of gas pipes were conserved.
The furnaces form part of a 15-programme of urban regeneration that is intended to create a Cite des Sciences, de la Researche and de l’Innovation in the site of the steelworks. Extensive landscaping creating a setting for the furnaces has already taken place, and some of the projected buildings, including a centre for rock music, have been completed.