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Gräfenhainichen, Golpa-Nord opencast mine: for decades a site of uncontrolled industrial power and environmental damage, but also of secure jobs and great achievements in mining carried out by workers and engineers. But eventually brown coal had scarcely any future left in Saxony Anhalt. What to do? Demolish, dismantle, eradicate the traces? Or build on the past and put faith in a new beginning?

In 1957 the preparatory work for the Golpa-Nord opencast mine began. Seven years later mining of brown coal was put into operation according to plan. This had a long tradition in central Germany, with roots reaching back into the 17th century. In the 1950s, the once scattered mining sites were amalgamated into a whole. Mining reached a massive scale. Result: 20 opencast mines with an ultimate yearly output of about 100 million tons of coal mined by almost 60,000 miners, which was utilised by numerous power plants, briquette factories and charcoal plants. But yet another result: deep gashes in the earth. Among these, Golpa-Nord belonged more to the smaller ones. The effort expended was truly enormous: for one bucket of brown coal 6 buckets of water had to be pumped out and 5 buckets of waste dumped. 1991 was the end – almost the entire brown coal industry of central Germany was on the verge of collapse.

In Golpa-Nord a vision then began to take shape: FERROPOLIS. The idea for it came from the Bauhaus in Dessau, its realisation is due in large part to the enthusiasm and determination of the people in the area. Today, FERROPOLIS is a museum, industrial monument, steel sculpture, event location and theme park all at the same time. Towering over everything: the gigantic excavation machines, which look like dinosaurs from a lost age.

Yet the future has long since begun. This is shown by the initial locating of small businesses here, as well many new projects: cultural festivals, powered with electricity from the solar installation, Ferrosolar. In FERROPOLIS the history of the future is visible.

And the present is celebrated: international festivals as well as huge concerts. Performers from Herbert Grönemeyer to Metallica have given FERROPOLIS a Europe-wide reputation as a unique setting for artists and their audiences: a cool tradition!


The beginning of preparatory work

The beginning of raw coal mining

End of mining
Total volume excavated: 341.3 million cubic metres
Raw brown coal mined: 69.9 million tons
Primary clients: Zschornewitz and Vockerode power plants, Berlin-Leipzig region
Area during active period: 1,915 hectares

In the 1970s the village of Gremmin, from which the lake in FERROPOLIS today takes its name, had to give way to mining and its inhabitants were resettled.

Official beginning of the restoration of the mining site within the framework of the workshop project, ‘Industrial Garden Reich’, in the Bauhaus in Dessau, from which the idea and concept for FERROPOLIS originated.

FERROPOLIS becomes an EXPO 2000 project
‘FERROPOLIS – The City of Iron’, was founded on the 14th of December.

The beginning of the flooding of the leftover opencast mining pit with groundwater and water from the Mulde River 12.5 kilometres away via conduit. Dedication of the 25,000 spectator arena with a concert by Mikis Theodorakis and a light installation by Gerd Hof.

Guest performances: Melt! festival, Böhse Onkelz, Puhdys, André Rieu and others.

Guest performances: Melt! festival, Peter Maffay, Modern Talking, Nabucco, Deep Purple and others.

Guest performances: Herbert Grönemeyer, Metallica, Nena, Böhse Onkelz, Jethro Tull and others.

Restoration of the large-scale opencast mining equipment.
Expansion of the infrastructure: the 2.5 kilometre long peninsula road is renewed, widened and given a separate pedestrian path, more parking spaces created and sanitary facilities expanded.
Guest performances: Udo Lindenberg, Pur, Nabucco, Magic of the Dance and others.

Spreader 1022 is accessible to visitors.
FERROPOLIS is incorporated into the European Route of Industrial Heritage.
Guest performances: Melt! festival, Die Toten Hosen, Peter Maffay, Nabucco and others.

FERROPOLIS wins the LIVE ENTERTAINMENT AWARD in the category: ‘Outstanding Event Location’.
Guest performances: Pet Shop Boys, Art Brut, Mia, Top Dog Brass Band, McKinsey and others.

In FERROPOLIS the Culture Café in the Orangery was opened on Miners’ Day 2007!
In the 30 kV station in addition to the control centre, the bones of the forest elephant and traces of brown coal mining, now an exhibition on surveying techniques (mine surveying) may be seen.
Guest performances: Carmina Burana, Melt! festival 10th Anniversary, Kelis, Jan Delay, Deichkind, Tocotronic – and fantastic weather!
Record number of visitors!

On Whitsun a large scout meeting took place. Ca. 3,000 scouts from all over Germany took part.
Guest performances: DIE ÄRTZE, Björk and others.

FERROPOLIS becomes an anchor point in the regional ERIH-Route in Saxony Anhalt.
About 120,000 visitors at events in FERROPOLIS, meaning one of the most successful event seasons yet. With the Splash! Festival the largest hip hop festival in Germany moves to FERROPOLIS.
Guest performances: Linkin Park, Die Toten Hosen, Oasis and others.

FERROPOLIS together with its partners wins a prize in the competition held by dena (German Energy Agency), for ‘innovative concepts in mobility management’ for large events.
The experimental workshop ‘Renewable Energies’ is inaugurated.
Guest performances: Unheilig, Aura Dione, Skunk Anansie and others.

A collaborative contract with the firm ‘Metropolis’ is agreed on.
In future they will be responsible for recruiting events for the Ferropolis location. At the same time, construction of the Ferropolis event location begins, with funding from Saxony Anhalt, the German Federal Government and the EU. Solar energy equipment is installed on the roof of the halls.
Guest performances: Peter Maffay, Tristhlon, Stereo City and others.

In the summer, filming for the series, ‘Police Emergency Call 110’.
Guest performances: Paul Kalkbrenner and others.

Once again more huge concerts in Ferropolis: Helen Fischer, DIE ÄRTZE, Die Toten Hosen, MDR Jump Party.

With the project, ‘Creative Waves,’ an innovative process for the development of Gremminer Lake begins. At the same time, a regional overall touristic concept for the central German landscape of lakes is presented. Within this concept, Ferropolis is named the ‘lighthouse’.
The graffiti artist Hendrik Beikirch memorialises the people who worked here in the opencast mine, through large-scale mural portraits in the halls of Ferropolis.
With the ‘Fisherman’s Friend Strong Man Run’, another sporting event takes place on the peninsula.
Guest performances: SEED and others.

With the dedication of the Backstage Building, construction work begun in 2011 is concluded.
Ferropolis celebrates its 20th anniversary with the Minister President of the State of Saxony Anhalt as honoured guest.

Ferropolis gets a new festival!
The metal festival ‘With Full Force’ moves from Roitzschora to Ferropolis in 2017.