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Power plant Ermen & Engels

Exhibition hall with memorial path

Engelskirchen. At first sight, it seems as if the time has stopped: the massive greywacke-buildings of the former power plant Ermen & Engels are still lining the old factory yard. The chimney of the steam engine house is still there, as well. A goods train could soon be entering the yard on the old rails, coming from the near train station, loaded with cotton for the old cotton storehouse. But in these building no twines were spun for a long time. Today, the whole area of the old cotton spinning and the hydroelectric power station Ermen & Engels is classified as a historical monument. The LVR-Industriemuseum has transformed the former twisting building into an exhibition hall with a memorial path.

Water as the driving force

In the centre of the permanent presentation of the memorial path is the well preserved hydroelectric power station of the cotton spinning Ermen & Engels. During the descent into the turbine cellar, mystical blue light and sounds of running water welcome the visitors and give the impression as if water is still running through the halls with their massive walls. After the eyes have adjusted themselves to the darkness, the huge turbines, which drove the machines in the factory over a complicated transmission system made of numbers of wheels and cogs, come in sight. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the turbines were combined with generators, which now produced the power for the at this time electric machines.

Power for work and everyday life

In the floors above the turbine cellar, the huge control panel shows how the power was distributed in the factory. Already in 1903, the home of the factory owner and the town Engelskirchen gained profit from the local generation of electricity. Thanks to the power plant in the factory, electric street lamps shone much earlier here, than in many other cities. The impressive steam engine at the entrance of the museum floor is reminiscent of the available water power which wasn´t always enough to drive the machines. Due to this, the steam power was used early as an additional energy.

The old factory is revived

From its founding in 1873 to its end in 1970, the cotton spinning Ermen & Engels dominated work and life in the area around Engelskirchen. After its shutdown, the old factory was supposed to be torn down to make space for new modern buildings. But thanks to a prizewinning concept of reuse, the industrial-historical important plant was preserved. The LVR-Industriemuseum residents here since 1987 and made the area around the former cotton spinning, with the mansion, factory buildings and the buildings for using the water power of the river Agger, accessible for the visitors.

Exhibitions and events (from April to October)

On about 500 square meters in the former twisting building, big exhibitions about industrial- and cultural-historical topics can be seen from April to October. An extensive education programme with attractive activities completes the offers of the museum. Guided tours for groups can be booked for different groups of ages and subject areas. Every fourth Sunday in the month, guided tours through the power plant take place. On the FamilienForscherTour, which is offered every third Sunday a month, children and their parents can go on an historical expedition. A highlight event is the annual held ”Transport- and Vintage-Car Festival” on the first Sunday in October.

The Oelchenshammer

The Oelchenshammer in the Engelskirchen Bickenbach is also a part of the LVR-Industriemuseum Engelskirchen. It is one of the last functioning water-processed forging hammers in the Oberbergische Land. The 200 year old plant projects a vivid image of how steel was produced under the usage of water and fire. From April till October, visitors have the chance of getting to know that old trade and are allowed to take a look when the museum´s smith provides an insight. Besides, the beautiful atmosphere is used by the registry office of Engelskirchen for weddings. The plant next to the forest and close by the stream Leppe can also be booked for professional or private events.

Seven sites, one museum

The power plant Ermen & Engels, together with the Oelchenshammer, is one of a total of seven exhibition sites of the LVR-Industriemuseum, which combined, create a unique museum. In historical factories, of which some are listed for preservation, the history of the industry in the Rhineland and its workers is told in an interesting and illustrative way. The focus is put on metal, fabrics, paper and electricity, as the local branches. Apart from the power plant Ermen & Engels the other museums are waiting to be explored: the Papiermühle Alte Dombach in Bergisch Gladbach, the Gesenkschmiede Hendrichs in Solingen, the Tuchfabrik Müller in Euskirchen, the Textilfabrik Cromford in Ratingen, the Zinkfabrik Altenberg as well as the St. Antony-Hütte in Oberhausen. Furthermore, the museum’s headquarter with management, administration, depositories, library, photo archive and garages is placed in Oberhausen. Founder and bearer of the LVR-Industriemuseum is the Landschaftsverband Rheinland (LVR).

Important information



Kraftwerk Ermen & Engels

Engels-Platz 2

51766 Engelskirchen




51766 Engelskirchen

For bookings and further service information contact the

kulturinfo rheinland

Tel.: 02234 / 9921-555 (Mon-Fri 8 am – 6 pm; Sat, Sun 10 am – 3 pm)

Fax: 02234/9921300

Mail: info@kulturinfo-rheinland.de

Opening Hours of the power plant Ermen & Engels

April to October:

Tuesday to Friday 10 am – 5 pm

Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 6 pm

Mondays closed

November to March:

A visit of the memorial path in the power plant Ermen & Engels is only possible for groups (with previous notice).

Opening hours of the Oelchenshammer

April to October:

Sunday 2 pm – 6 pm

Entrance fee for the power plant Ermen & Engels

Regular entrance: 3,50 €, reduced 3 €

Children and adolescent up to 18 years get free admission to the museum!

Entrance fee for the Oelchenshammer

Regular entrance: 3 €, reduced 2,50 €

Children and adolescent up to 18 years get free admission to the museum!

Press Photos

The following photographs are only to be used for editorial purposes in the context of coverage about the LVR-Industriemuseum and have to be marked with the copyright “©LVR-Industriemuseum”. Their printing is free of charge, but we would like to receive a specimen copy. The usage outside of this context is prohibited.

Power plant Ermen & Engels

exterior view on the cotton spinning Ermen & Engels

The building of the doubling mill is part of the cotton spinning Ermen & Engels, which is listed for preservation. It was founded in 1837 by Friedrich Engels senior. Nowadays, the LVR-Industriemuseum can be found here.

© LVR-Industriemuseum

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look inside the power plant

The centre of the exhibition marks the mostly preserved hydroelectric power station of the factory. In the former water-filled factory cellar visitors will encounter the huge turbines, which had an output of over 324 hp and transformed the power of the stream Agger into electricity.

© LVR-Industriemuseum

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View at the Oelchenshammer with the lake

The Oelchenshammer was founded at the brook Leppe in 1783. The oldest part of the plant is the hammer building made of angular rock from 1795, in which nowadays the bellows are moving. The former home of the smith was built in 1816 and also built in the 19th century was the bigger hammer building with half-timbering.

© LVR-Industriemuseum

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smith and his assistant at work at the forging hammer

Together with the smith an assistant worked at the forging hammer. He had to regulate the water supply to the hammer shaft with a flap. This way, the frequency of hits by the hammer could be regulated. By a nod, the smith showed his assistant how fast the forging should be done.

© LVR-Industriemuseum

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