Do you want to know more about Luxembourg’s industrial history and more particularly the history of the iron mines? Iron ore (called Minett by Luxembourgers) contributed to the prosperity of the Grand Duchy, thanks to its exploitation in the Terres Rouges region in the south of the country . Discover a new idea for a family or friends outing to Luxembourg to have a good time and make a fun, cultural outing for all: visit the Luxembourg iron mines on board historic steam-powered mining trains!
Minett Park, an open-air mining museum
Fond-de-Gras, near Differdange, is a site with many iron mines. Iron ore was extracted and then transported to iron and steel industries in Luxembourg or abroad. The last mine of Luxembourg was closed in 1964 in Fond-de-Gras, thus relegating the entire Luxembourg mining industry to the past.
Today, we can relive some of this mining history by visiting the Minett Park and better understand the daily lives of miners, who go down every day in underground galleries, sometimes at the risk of their lives, to collect iron ore (Minett in Luxembourgish) and feed their families.
Thanks to volunteers, today 2 mining trains still run in Minett Park Fond-de-Gras, a real open air museum presenting the history of iron mines in Luxembourg in the 19th century. The 1900 steam train will drive you between Pétange and the Fond-de-Gras (round trip) on the former Minières railway line that transported the iron ore.
To continue the journey and better discover the reality of mines, take the mining train “Minièresbunn” on the narrow railway line between the old mine of Fond-de-Gras and the working-class village of Lasauvage. Do not forget to take a jumper, the train go through mines! Visit the buildings that witnessed the old industrial activity: the miners’ quarters, the picturesque Victor Binck grocery store, open until 1980, the power station in the Paul Wurth lobby, the rolling mill train, the historical “Bei der Giedel” café and restaurant, the “room of the hanged”, …. The collection of the “Train 1900” association includes a dozen carefully restored steam and diesel trains.
These historical places and trains are accessible by tourists every Sunday and public holiday from May 1st to September 30th. Many events are organised as part of the Minett Park Fond-de-Gras, do not hesitate to consult their website to discover this place before the end of the season!
You can also visit the site of the nature park and walk through the various marked trails on the former open air pit mining site “Giele Botter”.
For Joanna Gizewska, Polish expat in Luxembourg: “The official opening of the season reminded me of a similar tradition in my country, Poland. On Labor Day, May 1, the industrial regions of Poland proudly present their steam trains with the first trips after a long winter. Very nostalgic memory!”
National Museum of Luxembourgish Iron Mines – Rumelange
You will discover at the Musée National des Mines de Fer de Luxembourg the mining past of Luxembourg from the middle of the 19th century until the 1980s.
The Iron Museum allows visitors to discover the very difficult working conditions of miners and the technical evolution of ore extraction in underground and lately open pit mines. The ore was then sent to the blast furnaces for conversion to cast iron or steel.
Visit a historic iron mine, the Langengrund Gallery, which is reached by small train. You will visit on foot the underground galleries and iron extraction sites for 1:30 with a helmet on the head and temperatures of 10 to 12 ° C. Do not forget a warm sweater! These are former miners who make you the guided tour. Exhibition hall with various objects including tools, machines, … and fossils.
Ask about schedules, the museum has different schedules depending on the season.
Possibility of celebrating birthdays in the museum with interactive tours for children from 6 to 14 years old. Children learn the hard work of miners by pushing carts, digging or breaking blocks of ore!