The golden age of the steel industry
In the former mining area, named “Terres Rouges” because of the iron ore that made its rich soil so red, the "Lentille Terres Rouges" site became home to the Brasseur foundry (Brasseur Schmelz) in 1870. The factory was renamed Rothe Erde (red earth) when it was taken over by the German company Aachener HüttenAktien-Verein in 1892. After that, the site was operated by Arbed, now incorporated into ArcelorMittal.
At the peak of the steel industry, "Lentille Terres-Rouges" teemed with life, like a little town within a town. It was not a steel plant per se; in fact its blast furnaces produced liquid iron, which was then transformed into steel and rolled in the plants at Esch-Belval and Esch-Schifflange. The three sites were linked together by a railway network, and formed a gigantic steel complex.
A site in step with the times
Production began to decline in the 1950s, and finally stopped in 1977. Though "Lentille Terres-Rouges" was the first steel-manufacturing site in Esch, it also became its first industrial wasteland. After it closed down, the high-potential land was considered for various rehabilitation projects, but they all came to nothing because the site was so polluted. In September 2018, IKO Real Estate submitted its project for converting the site into a new sustainable, innovative, model district: an ambitious programme carried out in collaboration with the local authorities and all the Luxembourg administrative departments, as well as on the basis if the participatory process that was introduced.
Discover the history and future of the Rout Lëns district in this five-minute documentary.
The Blast Engine Room
A blast engine is a machine in a blast furnace that provides the combustion air required to operate it. The highly characteristic architecture of the blast engine room, built in the 20th century, makes it a powerful symbol of the site. A railway network linked "Lentille Terres-Rouges" with the factories at Esch-Belval and Esch-Schifflange.
The signal box
The trains serving the site were directed from the signal box set up in the 20th century. Its remarkable form earned it nicknames like the "U-boot" (submarine) and the "mushroom".