The original starch company HH was founded in the 19th century, producing wheat starch, wheat starch powder and starch adhesive. In the early 20th century (around World War II) the factory moved to this location in the North-western part of Germany as their former site did not allow for an expansion of the factory. In 1991, HH factory closed its doors.
What started as a small iron works, built by Köln-based engineer Julius Buch in 1873, later became one of Europe’s largest steelworks after it was acquired by the Rüchling family in 1882. The first blast furnace was built in 1883, and four more were added in the course of the next 10 years. By 1903, when the sixth furnace was built, a giant coking plant had arisen on the site. In the 1930s, the iron works further expanded, when a large ore sintering plant was added. The steelworks played an important role in the field of research and development as many new techniques were first implemented in Hütte V. The plant thus functioned as a model for many other steelworks around the globe until it had to shut down in 1986.
Around 1850, this brand new textile factory was built next to the river in this quaint little village in the German rural hinterland. After a few years, it changed hands and was transformed into a paper factory. As the years passed by, the factory became the focal point of the village and an industrial catalyst for the region’s econmy. Complete production lines were built and the company gradually specialized in innovative types of paper – from crepe and textile woven paper to aluminium foil. Today, the two full-blown steam engines of this once pounding heart of Germany’s paper industry whistle no more – the factory is torn down.
Abandoned brewery in Berlin dating back to the late 1880s. Over the years, the brewery expanded substantially, producing a wide assortment of beers. When in 1994 the brewery had to close, it soon became the preferred purlieu for vandalizing youth and graffiti sprayers.
This Reichsbahnausbesserungswerk (RAW), a large workshop where locomotives were repaired and serviced, dates back to the 1890s. The impressive maintenance hall with no less than 45 tracks makes it one of Germany’s largest RAW’s. The workshop even had its own small power station. Nowadays the offices, the repair- and maintenance halls and the power station are left to rot.
Industrial textile washing and painting plant. The company was founded in the 1830s. For a period of time, it was the biggest industrial textile washing group in Germany, which furthermore played a leading role in the field of chemical washing technology. Around the 1920s, the group became a VEB (Volkseigener Betrieb) – a company owned by the people.
The Officers’ Quarter was built in the 1860s and throughout the course of the following century experienced a tumultuous (political) history. In the beginning, the theatre and concert hall not only featured numerous concerts by renowned philharmonic orchestras but also showcased the crème de la crème of the German acting gild in well-known theatre productions. During this time, the hall was frequently remodeled to comply with ‘modern’ demands – each time involving some of the most talented contemporary architects of the époque. During the Second World War, the Officers’ Quarter hosted many NSDAP (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)-events and even became the official ‘Kraft durch Freude Concert Hall’. After the war, the Soviets claimed the hall and dubbed it ‘Red Army Hall’; later on, they renamed it to: ‘Soviets’ Officers Club’. In those days, the club featured a cinema, library, restaurant and a discotheque. To symbolize the German-Soviet-friendship, they even placed a giant statue of Lenin in front of the buildings. After the Red Army hed left, the place became abandoned… Lenin’s statue disappeared. Nowadays, this (once) majestic theatre hall is in an advanced state of decay.
This psychiatric hospital dates back to the 1880s. Throughout the years, it has served many purposes. During both the First – and the Second World War, it was used as a hospital. Later on, it became a refuge for (male) mental patients. By the end of the 1990s, the hospital closed its doors. Even though the hospital was sold a mere two years after it shut down, the new owner never reinstated it and left the building to decay.
Even though the roots of the steel manufacturing industry in this region date back to the second half of the nineteenth century, this particular company was only established around the mid twentieth century – in the 1960s. Similar to many other companies in Germany, the manufacturing plant at a certain point became a VEB (Volkseigener Betrieb), a people-owned-company which – in its heydays – employed more than 10,000 workers. The factory specialized in steel parts for heavy industrial purposes – from whole steel rolling installations to cranes. After the company was privatized, it was split into different branches, each with their own ‘speciality’. Although this particular plant has been abandoned, the company still thrives as it moved its production to more modern facilities.