The Bocholt Textile Factory

Whirring belts, rattling looms, the smell of oil and work: the Museum replicates the activities in an early 20th century cotton mill. The reconstructed brick buildings follow the historical examples of the region: the boiler house and shed roofs, workshop and office, and the fully furnished working-class house with freshly made beds, and the productive vegetable garden behind the house. The machines, especially the steam engine from 1917, are all originals. During the visit, visitors can learn about the factory and the workers' lives "firsthand". They can follow each step from yarn to the woven end-products, they can look over the shoulders of the museum staff winding, shearing and pulling and can witness how Jacquards looms weave pre-programmed patterns from a confusing number of wires. The towels and tablecloths that are produced are also for sale in the museum shop. A very different experience is given by the historic Herding Spinning Mill, which is part of the museum complexand which provides an accessible space for temporary exhibitions and textile art and a lively cultural forum.

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The Bocholt Textile Factory
Uhlandstraße 50
46397 Bocholt
+49 (0) 2871 - 216110


Who would suspect from looking at the meadows and fields of Westmünsterland that this was once one of the most important locations of the German textile industry? The number of people engaged in weaving, spinning, bleaching, dying and printing was at times up to 10,000. Opened in 1989, Textile Museum Bocholt, as one of the eight locations of the LWL Museums of Industrial Culture, focuses on this historical significance. The replica of the old weaving hall of the Essing brothers in Rhede features original preserved machinery and creates a world that was typical of the region up to the Second World War. The reconstructed complex includes the home of a textile worker, who, after a day of dust, noise and oil, could enjoy the modest comfort of a simple home, equipped with everything he needed including a vegetable garden and stable. Noise and excitement is taken care of by the museum staff: on the rattling looms they show how the relentless pace of the machines not only ruled production, but also the lives of the workers.

In 1870, on the opposite bank of the river Aa, was built the Herding Spinning Mill. In 1907, the confident Bocholt manufacturers commissioned the Swiss architects Sequin and Knobel, who were active across Europe, to design a model mill. Automated looms from the U.S. and 23,000 cotton spindles made this one of the most modern factories in the region. Textile production stopped in 1973 after which the building was used for storage and then left vacancy. Since 2011, the old industrial building has come to life as the second part of the museum, creating an important urban connection between the centre and the leafy Aa promenade. Led by the renowned architectural firm Atelier Brückner from Stuttgart a "Culture Factory" evolved from the spinning mill. Traces of the former use - technical systems, industrial flooring, plaster, coats of paint – are combined with exhibitions, events and gastronomy to create a forum for art, culture and creativity.


Recommended duration of visit:2 Hours
Access for persons with disabilities:Available
Infrastructure for children:
Visitor centre on site:yes
Gift and book shop on site:yes

Tuesday - Sunday 10am-6pm

  • Guided tours optional
  • Tours in other languages
  • Guided tours for children