Venlo Spring 2006


The tour assembled at the Van der Valk Hotel Venlo, a comfortable hotel with good facilities, close to the Dutch-German border, in the evening on Monday 22nd May.

Jur Kingma, with Fred Versfelt, had assembled a very attractive preliminary programme. On Tuesday, we saw the lock (1926) and weir at Belfeld and the 1899 ship lift at Heinrichenburg, where the restoration since 1984 is impressive.

We made a boat trip on the Wesel-Datteln canal and saw the steam engine, not open to the public, part of a print works now closed, attached to a monastery at Steyl, a very attractive location on the banks of the Maas.

On Wednesday, we visited the stately home of the Krupp family, had lunch at a former blast furnace complex, took in restored early workers’ settlements, and visited the Zollverein complex, once one of Europe’s largest integrated coal mine and coke work complexes and a symbol of Germany’s economic miracle after WW2 and now a world heritage site.  We had our evening meal in the former power station of the coal mine.

On Thursday, a visit to the railway museum at Bochum Dahlhausen was followed by a steam train trip to Witten, where we saw the drift mine "Nightingale", the oldest mine in the Ruhr, and an 1887 steam engine, made originally for a spinning mill but rebuilt in 1912 as a winding engine for a coal mine, now in the museum. After lunch, we visited Zeche Zollern II/IV, a coal mining complex with a beautiful Jugend Stil building and restored electric winding engine. The evening meal was in a former castle at Kessel, where we also visited the post mill.

On Friday, before we dispersed, we visited a water mill and the former royal leatherworks at Oisterwijk, where we were shown round by the architect in charge of the plan for re-using the site and saw a 1922 Carels steam engine. We visited the works at Boxtel where they made the hydraulic part of the restored boat lift at Anderton.