The Metzeschmelz

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. 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.

Metzeschmelz © Henri Goergen

Major changes are expected to happen soon on this site, which is why we carried out a detailed audit of the buildings and infrastructures worth protecting, in addition to those already suggested by the Institut national pour le patrimoine architectural (INPA). Regular exchanges with the INPA as well as visits to the site allowed us to determine which entities are worth protecting and can be re-purposed in a creative way for the new neighbourhood.

Instead of protecting individual elements, we suggested to protect different entities and take into consideration the different periods of construction or expansion of the site, which makes more sense from historical a future urban cohesion point of view.

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.

This illustrated audit of the “Metzeschmelz” was finalised early 2021, sent to INPA in January 2021 and presented to Agora, the site developer, in August 2021. Our recommendations and those of INPA were presented to the Commission for Cultural Heritage (COPAC) in July 2021. The COPAC gave a favourable opinion and all recommendations were included in a final paper and sent to the concerned municipalities of Esch/Alzette and Schifflange for their opinion. Since 24 June 2022, there is an official intention to classify the various buildings and objects of the “Metzeschmelz” site and with the ministerial decree still in progress.

© Romain Girtgen

© Romain Girtgen

© Romain Girtgen

© Romain Girtgen

© Romain Girtgen

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