The history of the former ARBED Esch-Schifflange steelworks, also known as the Metzeschmelz, began 150 years ago. The plant, which came into operation in 1871, made a major contribution to the development and prosperity of the town of Esch-sur-Alzette and the municipality of Schifflange. This shifted the economic centre of gravity from the centre to the south of the country.
Former site Esch-Schifflange © Romain Girtgen
Due to their very typical architecture, these buildings and infrastructures which partly date from the 19th century, are authentic witnesses of our industrial past and the rise of the Esch steel industry. The former industrial site will be transformed into a future QuartierAlzette, a 62-hectare urban and landscape project managed by Agora s.à r.l.
Seeing that major changes are expected to happen very soon on the site, we have carried out a detailed audit of the buildings and infrastructures worth protecting, in addition to those already suggested by the National Sites and Monuments Service. Regular exchanges with this Service as well as visits to the site will allow us to determine which entities are worth protecting and can be re-purposed in a creative way for the new neighbourhood.
Industrial hall in Esch-Schifflange © Henri Georgen
Jacques Maas and Michel Feinen, members of our board, who led the detailed audit of the site emphasise that instead of protecting individual elements it makes more sense from historical a future urban cohesion point of view to protect different entities. In their research, they considered the different periods of construction or expansion of the site.
Industrial hall on the former Esch-Schifflange site © Romain Girtgen
We distinguish between three phases:
1871: The Metzeschmelz, the remains of which were fully put forward for protection by the National Sites and Monuments Service.
Between 1913 and 1960: the remains of the new, modernised factory.
The 1930s and 1950s: Installations and extensions.
A fourth section is devoted to structures with additional potential.
The Handwierkergaass of the former Esch-Schifflange site © Romain Girtgen