Ferropolis has been home to the MELT Festival since 1999. The open-air museum is centrally located between Berlin and Leipzig, around 20 km from Dessau in Saxony-Anhalt. The peninsula is also easily accessible via Gräfenhainichen train station, by train from Berlin via Lutherstadt Wittenberg or directly from Leipzig.



For decades, the Golpa-Nord open-cast mine (Tagebau Golpa-Nord) in Gräfenhainichen was a place characterized by untamed industrial forces and environmental damage. At the same time, however, it also stood for secure jobs and the remarkable achievements of miners and engineers in lignite mining. But as the future of lignite in Saxony-Anhalt became increasingly uncertain, a decision had to be made: should the past be erased, the traces covered? Or should we build on the ruins and make a completely new start?

Preparatory work for the Golpa-Nord open-cast mine began in 1957, and seven years later, regular lignite mining began, supplying the Zschornewitz and Vockerode power plants in particular with electricity. Lignite mining already had a long history in Central Germany, dating back to the 17th century. In the 1950s, the previously scattered mining areas were also united into a coherent network that expanded enormously: the result was a network of 20 open-cast mines that produced around 100 million tons of coal every year. Almost 60,000 miners were involved, and the coal was used by numerous power plants, briquette factories and smelters. However, this mining left deep scars in the landscape: the Golpa-Nord open-cast mine was one of the smaller ones, but the effort involved was immense: for one bucket of lignite, six buckets of water had to be pumped out and five buckets of briquettes extracted. The end came in 1991 - the entire lignite industry in Central Germany was on the brink of collapse. The total volume of overburden was 341.3 million cubic meters, and 69.9 million tons of raw lignite were mined on an area of 1,915 hectares.

In Golpa-Nord, however, a new vision began to take shape: Ferropolis. This idea originated at the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and was driven forward by the enthusiasm and perseverance of the local community. Five large pieces of equipment were erected and the conversion of the former day building into an open-air museum was promoted. In 2000, work finally began on flooding the remaining open-cast mine hole. Groundwater and water from the river Mule, 12.5 kilometers away, was used through a pipeline. This created Lake Gremmin with a size of 541 hectares and a volume of approx. 67 million m³. The lake has a shoreline length of 15.9 km and is 33 m deep at its deepest point.

Today, Ferropolis is a museum, an industrial monument, a steel sculpture, an event venue and a theme park all in one. The dominant element is the gigantic excavating machines, which look like remnants of a bygone era. Since its opening, there have been hundreds of concerts and events, including Herbert Grönemeyer, Metallica, Deep Purple, Linkin Park and many more.


There are a total of five excavators in Ferropolis, giving the site and the MELT its unique atmosphere.