Wiesmoor is a town in Lower Saxony that now has a population of more than 30,000. It lies 30 km south-west of Wilhelmshaven, not far from the border with the Netherlands. It stands within an expanse of wetlands where some colonisation took place from the 1780s. The town itself originated with the building of the Nordgeorgfehn Canal which was opened in 1906, and drained the wetlands as well as providing transport facilities. The purpose of the town was to enable the exploitation of peat reserves on an industrial scale, particularly to be used as fuel in a power station planned by Carl Friedrich von Siemens (1872-1941), which began generating in 1909. Waste heat from the power station warmed glasshouses in which flowers and vegetables were cultivated, and the town became known as the ‘flower city’. During the Second World War there was a forced labour camp in the area whose inmates were forced to labour in the peat workings. After 1945 flower growing expanded with the construction of more glasshouses, and in 1952 the first Blütenfest (flower festival) was organised in Wiesmoor. It was one of the factors, with the building of baths, a health centre and an open-air theatre, that made the area attractive to holiday makers, and tourism is now one of its principal industries. The peat-fired power station was dismantled in 1966 and replaced by a gas turbine power station which itself was demolished in 1995.
The open air museum shows some of the original buildings constructed in Wiesmoor, including a bakehouse, a smithy and a village school, as well as one of the ships that carried peat to distant markets. Visitors to the museum are also able to ride on the former Torfbahn railway