The golden age
of the steel industry
Lying in the former Terres Rouges coal field, which takes its name (meaning "red soil") from the ferruginous ore that made its soil so rich, the "Lentille Terres-Rouges" site was home to the Brasseur (Brasseur Schmelz) foundry from 1870 onwards. The factory was renamed Rothe Erde ("red soil") when it was taken over by the German company Aachener HüttenAktien-Verein in 1892. The site was then 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 steelworks as such; its blast furnaces produced molten iron that was then transformed into steel and laminated in the factories at Esch-Belval and Esch-Schifflange. The three sites were linked together by a railway network and formed a gigantic steel-manufacturing complex.
© Schmithüsen (Collection du CNA)
© Bernd Becher
for the site
Production began to fall off in the 1950s, and finally came to a halt in 1977. Though "Lentille Terres-Rouges" was the first steel-manufacturing site in Esch, it was also its first industrial wasteland. After it closed down, the high-potential land was considered for various rehabilitation projects. In September 2018, IKO Real Estate submitted its project for reconverting the site into a new sustainable, innovative, model residential district: an ambitious programme carried out in partnership with the municipality.
You can discover the Rout Lëns district's history and future prospects in this 5-minute documentary.
A unique heritage
The Turbine House
At industrial sites on this scale, turbines generated the power needed for manufacturing steel. Built in 1901, the turbine house was the site's figurehead. Its structure and façades are of immense architectural interest.
The "Magasin TT"
Built in the 20th century, the store provided all kinds of supplies for operating the site and for employees. There was also a brewery. Its three-floor volumetry and façades with pilasters have unquestionable value in terms of architecture, heritage and history.
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.
The signal box
A railway network linked "Lentille Terres-Rouges" with the factories at Esch-Belval and Esch-Schifflange. 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".