Belval is a neighbourhood in the south west of Luxembourg and was once the site of a large steelworks. The steel works was founded in 1909, modernised significantly in the late 1970’s with 6 old blast furnaces being replaced by 3 much larger ones. In 1995 one of these blast furnaces was sold to a Chinese steel manufacturers and deconstructed by 1000 Chinese workers before being shipped abroad. In 1997 the last of the remaining 2 furnaces was switched off for the last time and the site became abandoned, but not for long! In 2001 plans began for a huge regeneration project in the area which saw a €450m investment for large scientific and cultural centres including the science department of the University of Luxembourg.
Due to its significance in the history of the area the 2 old blast furnaces and various other parts of the old steelworks were kept and made into features which the new thriving city is being built around. Its amazing to see how fast the works are progressing with a massive concert venue already opened across the road, various apartment blocks and hotels. The shopping centre and university are also now fully functional as more and more building spring up around the old furnaces.
The furnaces themselves along with some silos and parts of the factory have been preserved in an extraordinary way being fully refurbished and varnished from what I could tell into a pristinely clean condition. There was literally not a spec of dust or rust that flaked on these things it was amazing. Lights have been installed to illuminate the furnaces day and night and there is a walkway up the top which I expect may become part of a tourist attraction with suggestions of a museum opening around the bases of them.
Visited with Darbian, Matt and Andy K of Behind Closed Doors. After spotting the furnaces as we pulled up at our hotel for the night we couldn’t resist having a little look. Not expecting to find any access we got lucky and after quickly nipping back to the car for camera gear we were in and up the top in no time :). After about 30 minutes or so trying to hide from the spotlights trying to not make ourselves too visible as the concert hall kicked out a huge crowd we suddenly became aware of a torch light shining up in our general direction! We rapidly made our way back down to the building site below and made our exit, I’m still not sure if we were seen or if the security person was just doing rounds but I’m glad they were not waiting for us at the bottom 😀
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