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The European Route of Industrial Heritage

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The European Route of Industrial Heritage

An industrial heritage is exactly what it sounds like – it is the actual buildings, factories, quarries, and other aspects and relics of industry that tell us something about an area’s industrial past. For instance, in the United States, the American Rail System is part of America’s industrial heritage that is still being used today.

In Europe, the European Route of Industrial Heritage is a scenic route through many parts of Europe that shows the industrial history of the cities and towns it goes through. Not only does it highlight the industrial history of a particular region, but when studied altogether gives the person experiencing or studying it a greater overall understanding regarding the industrial history of Europe. This not only educates, but it also promotes tourism in many of the towns and cities of some of the European Countries.

The European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH) has about 845 total sites in almost thirty of the European countries, and sixty-six Anchor Points – places that are considered the most historically significant, and most tourist-friendly. In conjunction with the ERIH, there are also ten European Theme Routes for those interested in a particular aspect of Europe’s industrial heritage. The ten Theme Routes are: industrial landscapes, service & leisure industry, housing & architecture, transport & communication, iron & steel, water, mining, textiles, production, and energy.

The majority of the Anchor Points are in Great Britain and Germany, with a few in France and the Netherlands. Some of the Anchor Points fall into the Theme Route of mining, while others fall into the textile category and even others fit into more than one category.

For instance, the Kew Bridge Steam Museum falls into both the energy and water categories. Located in Brentford (west London, England) on the River Thames, the museum resides on the site of the Kew Bridge Pumping Station, a pumping station that opened in 1838. In 1944 the station expanded, and although the site adopted diesel and electric pumping methods, they kept on the steam pumps because they knew they would be historically important.

Another Anchor Point that is a popular stop along the route is the National Slate Museum, locaed in Llanberis, Wales. The museum resides in what used to be workshops used for the production of slate in the nineteenth century. The workshops were associated with the Dinorwic slate quarry, so while the National Slate Museum falls into the Theme Route of production and manufacturing, it surely wouldn’t exist without the industrial heritage of mining, as well.

The slate would be brought from the Dinorwic quarry, and exported from the workshops via railroad, eventually. The National Slate Museum has the largest working waterwheel in all of mainland Great Britain, which can be explored from many angles. The National Slate Museum is situated on a picturesque bit of land, overlooking a glacial lake and surrounded by many aspects of the natural beauty of Wales.

One extremely popular tourist attraction on the ERIH is the Heineken Experience – Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam. The original brewery was built in 1867, and it is the actual Anchor Point. In 1991 the original brewery was converted into a visitor center, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Amsterdam. That’s probably because you can sample the product.

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February 7, 2011 |  by  |  History  |  Comments Off