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World Heritage Site

for World Heritage Travellers

Engelsberg Ironworks

Engelsberg Ironworks

The Engelsberg Ironworks were one of the most important ironworks in Sweden, which was the economic leader in the field of iron for two centuries. It was unique in Europe due to its modern machinery and construction.

Iron mining and smelting in this area started to take on some scale in the 17th century. Production ceased in 1919. Most of the 50 technical and related administrative buildings have been conserved and are open to visitors in summer.

Map of Engelsberg Ironworks

Legend

  • Cultural

Visit July 2012

This is really a small site, in a remote corner of a landscape of lakes and forests, dotted here and there with more early industrial remains. One can enter the site freely, there's no entrance fee. In about 5 minutes I thought I had seen it all. The most impressive sight is the big furnace, that's the large red building that you see on every photo of this WHS.

July 2012

At 10 a.m. the small cafe/shop on site opened, and I went in to pick up an audio guide. This is a service to non-Swedish speakers, as tours are only given in Swedish. You then can tag along with the Swedish guide, which is the only chance to see something of the interior. I was too early for a tour however, and did my walking tour alone.

July 2012

At the other end of the complex lie some other interesting buildings including the smelting house. It's a pleasant walk out there, and I liked that so many parts of the early industrial complex have survived.

July 2012

Community Reviews


Ian Cade England 01.08.14

Engelsberg Ironworks by Ian Cade

As with others my main memory of this site was how idyllic it looks now, this may stand as an obstacle to understanding its industrial past but it does make for a rather enjoyable stop over.

A bit of a navigational glitch (I got us lost) meant we arrived just as the doors to the little museum closed, as such we had to make do with strolling around the well preserved wooden buildings. The main ironworks were impressive but I could only really guess at how it functioned. Initially I thought that this was the limit of the site however it was pretty clear that there was more too it. The immaculately preserved collection of workers houses and storage buildings proved to be a wonderful place to wander around on a bright Northern European night. The babbling water drew us towards the forge and also allowed us to watch the impressive bird life in the abundant trees.

All in all it was a lovely place to visit, it was tough to get a grasp of the industrial importance of the site, but perhaps the museum and guided tours could address this.

Site 4: Experience 6


Frederik Dawson Netherlands 11.05.12

Engelsberg Ironworks by Frederik Dawson

After almost 2 hours on the train from Stockholm, I was in the town of Ängelsberg next to the idyllic Åmänningen Lake, this small town was very pretty with many cute wooden houses, hard to believe that I did not came for summer vacation, but to see industrial site – the Engelsbergs Ironworks. From the train station, it was a really nice 1.5 Kilometers walk to the complex, passed cute sculpture park and a big tree house along the small lake. The complex of former ironwork mill, the World Heritage Sites, was located well in the middle of the forest, so lovely that may misunderstand to typical farming village.

Almost every building was painted in red or black, a great contrast to very bright green forest under the blue sky of spring. The biggest building was the former iron smelting building; from outside it was looked like a big farmhouse for livestock, a good example of early industrial architectural style which still based on agricultural building type. Behind the Smelting building was the large complex of worker village built in the different styles depend on construction periods. The village was lovely with great surroundings, I was not sure that the beauty landscape was an original or not, if it was, this place may be one of the most beautiful factory I’ve see. The complex had everything for workers including brewery! My friend whose great grandfather, migrated from Wallonia, was once worked in Engelsberg even said that he hard to believe the hash life story his father told him about their ancestor when we saw this lovely place.

Then I walked back to Ängelsberg for lunch before back to Stockholm, all in all, a nice half day trip to see this idyllic place. In my opinion, Engelsbergs Ironwork is a fine place to see and very accessible by frequent trains connect to Stockholm. As I mentioned this place is hard to believe to be industrial site, in order to appreciate this place, visitor should make a bit of research to understand its history, but if not, just come to admire the real Swedish rural landscape, lovely lake, and cute Swedish red houses, Ängelsberg is a perfect place, maybe better than spend a whole day in Stockholm’s Skansen for set up cultural village.


Klaus Freisinger Austria 07.08.11

This is a very unusual site - a major ironworks and one of the first industrial production sites in the world, yet it has a pretty idyllic location in the midst of a Swedish forest. Everything here is perfectly preserved, and there are guided tours (with English audioguides) to show you around. The complex of Engelsberg Bruk (also spelled "Ängelsberg" locally) not only includes the industrial buildings used for iron making, but also workers' residences and the manor of the owner's family. Visiting the site by public transport is a bit tricky, but manageable - Ängelsberg is on the regional train line between Västeras and Ludvika (with connections to Falun). From the station it is about a 25-minute walk to the site (the local tourist office is located along the way, and the staff there were friendly enough to let me store my suitcase there).


John booth New Zealand 01.05.10

Engelsberg Ironworks by John Booth

The peaceful shady ambience if this site belies the noise and smells of the site that must have pervaded the area when the ironworks was in operation.

I reached Angelsberg by train from Falun while on the way to Stockholm. The friendly staff at the tourist office (in the station building) gladly looked after my luggage while I walked up the road to the site through an outdoor sculpture park.


Christer Sundberg Sweden 24.09.06

Engelsberg Ironworks by Christer Sundberg

Three hours on a train from Sweden’s capital Stockholm and you find yourself in an area where the iron making traditions goes well back to the Middle Ages. Iron, copper, silver and gold mining together with the forest industry – two industries working closely together - has formed the back-bone of the Swedish economy and rise to power ever since the 16th century. It was back then, when skilled miners came from central Europe to the cold north, seeking their fortunes in the depth of the Scandinavian wilderness. And indeed some of them did.

At Engelsberg it all started with a German immigrant, the miner Englika, who settled here by the end of the 14th century. In 1681 an industrial site for iron works was established and during the 18th and 19th century it developed into the most modern iron works of its time. A mansion was added together with workers homes, offices and other buildings. Engelsberg is also the only ironworks in Sweden that has preserved most of the original equipment. All operation ceased in 1919.

On a small island in lake Åmänningen, just a kilometre away from Engelsbergs Ironworks, you will find another interesting industrial heritage, the Oil Island - the world’s oldest preserved oil refinery. Though it does not belong to the World Heritage Site of Engelsberg – it is still an interesting place to visit. Guided tours are available on both sites during summer months.


Solivagant UK 12.06.05

Engelsberg Ironworks by Solivagant

Engelsberg Ironworks are a very early industrial monument – a WHS category of which there are in my opinion too few representatives. ”. Made primarily of wood they do not give an “industrial impression” being set in green and wooded country in what is now a “country park”. Nearby lies the Manor house. They originally dated from c1680 but the preserved buildings are as at 1870.Unfortunately when we were there on a weekday in early June the buildings were not open – but there was plenty to see just wandering around:- A range of production buildings including a Blast Furnace and a Mill together with offices, shops and workers accommodation. . Perhaps it is all a bit too idyllic now and difficult to capture the atmosphere of smoke, fumes and backbreaking work which must have the case. Nevertheless – well worth a detour! Nearby are the remains of primitive Iron age furnaces and some plants of the contemporary Swedish steel industry providing an interesting example of continuity of human activity based on local natural resources.


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Site Info

Full name: Engelsberg Ironworks

Unesco ID: 556

Inscribed: 1993

Type: Cultural

Criteria: 4  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 1993 - Inscribed 
  • 1991 - Referred Bureau - pending completion of a study by ICOMOS of the industrial heritage

Locations

The site has 1 locations.

  • Engelsberg Ironworks