Archive for the ‘Luxembourg’ Category

When I started this cute little blog almost four years ago I thought its name would say it all: Abandoned Kansai. Abandoned places in Kansai, nothing else. Soon I went to Chubu, then Kyushu – later to Shikoku, Chugoku, Okinawa and Hokkaido. I still manage to stay away from wacky Japanese stuff that make other blogs so popular, but I started to stray with Chernobyl and then this year with North Korea – the “urbex only” blog turned into a “dark tourism” blog, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

Given that I am located in Japan, I did my first “foreign” exploration in the summer of 2010, much to my own surprise not in my home country Germany, but in the lovely Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Back then Abandoned Kansai was a really small blog with about 2000 views per month (which is less than now per day in average!), urbex in general was a lot less popular, and even most of my friends weren’t interested in what I was doing… except for my old neighborhood friend Alexandra, one of the most amazing people I know. (When I visit family and friends now, three years later, I go on explorations with half a dozen different people…)
Alexandra and I planned to go to Luxembourg the day after I returned from *Pripyat and Chernobyl* – and upon departure I felt sick like hardly ever before. I’ll spare you the details, but even a single sip of water rushed through my body at the speed of light, finding exits I didn’t know existed! It was too short notice to cancel, especially since there was no alternative date available, so we went anyway – and my first German exploration partner was absolutely lovely about it. Goal of our day trip: Esch-sur-Alzette, all over Europe known for two abandoned places called Terres Rouge and Centrale Thermique. (In case you wonder: Luxembourg is trilingual – French, German and Luxembourgish.)
Upon arrival Alexandra and I realized that the area wasn’t that abandoned, so we parked at one of the many active companies still around. Right to our left we found a gorgeous red brick building, so we decided to have a closer look. With most of its windows and concrete guttering smashed to pieces, this former production facility was clearly abandoned. I took a couple of photos from the outside and through the broken windows, when Alexandra grabbed a door handle and asked “Why don’t we go inside?” – I hadn’t even seen that entrance and was so happy she took over and kept this exploration going! Mostly empty inside, there were just a few hints what the building was used for. There were tons of switches and plugs, the halls were equipped with cranes, circuit schedules indicated the former installation of baths for tech stuff. Some equipment was labelled “Klöckner Moeller”, though I still wasn’t sure until last week whether the place was run by that company or just used their equipment – my guess was that it indeed was a subsidiary of Klöckner-Moeller as the company is known to have had subsidiaries in several countries. Founded by an engineer named Franz Klöckner 1899 in Cologne, Germany, the company started to produce electrical switching apparati. In 1911 Hein Moeller joined the company and after proofing himself for more than 30 years it was renamed Klöckner-Moeller in 1942. Renamed Moeller GmbH in 1999 the business was bought by the Eaton Corporation in 2008 and again renamed to Eaton Industries GmbH in 2010. Guess what! I was wrong.
Upon having a closer look at the photographical evidence while writing this article I am pretty sure that the factory building in Esch-sur-Alzette actually belonged to a company called Ateliers Francois Frieseisen, still in business just a couple of kilometers away from their previous location under its shortened name Ateliers Frieseisen after being “revived” by Roger Serafini in 2007. Founded by Francois Frieseisen in 1970 the Ateliers Frieseisen was and is a metalworking company – and therefore in need of Klöckner-Moeller equipment. While the company’s website is available in French only, the equipment in the now abandoned workshop was bilingual, French and German. Well, most of it either in French or in German, which kind of implies that the building had different owners over the course of time; not really a surprise given its assumed age of about 100 years plus / minus a couple of decades.
To reach certain areas of the factory building we had to leave and enter again through a huge door on the other side, where we ran into some fellow photographers. After a quick converstion lead by Alexandra (who is fluent in French, while I chose Latin back in 6th grade with a lot less success) we explored the rest of the building before we finally moved on to the gigantic thermal power plant widely known under the simple French term Centrale Thermique…

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Looking at my urban exploration log I realized that I had a pretty good run lately.

It all started when I met Michael of Gakuranman fame in late July – he was in Kansai and suggested to take on the famous Maya Hotel together. Since I already scouted the surrounding, but never went in, it was a fun exploration of an impressive location; followed by a revisit of the Takada Ranch Ruin. Two weeks later I started my summer vacation to Europe which included a side trip to the Zone of Alienation with its famous cities Chernobyl and Pripyat. Back to Germany I went to Luxembourg for two more explorations with a kindergarden friend of mine.

Soon after I got back to Japan I received an e-mail from Michael John Grist who planned to come to Kansai to tackle my haikyo nemesis, Nara Dreamland. I wanted to meet the guy more than I wanted to avoid the Dreamland, so we went there on a warm late summer night and for the first time I got in and out without spotting security… And finally I went on a little trip myself again to visit the Gakuranman in the Nagoya area to take pictures of the mysterious Doctor’s Shack, one of the few haikyo that are kept a real secret in Japan – even if it appears somewhere on the net or in a book there are barely any hints about its location and I’m really grateful Michael took me there; another awesome exploration, punished with about 30 mosquito bites!

Maya Hotel, Pripyat, Luxembourg, Nara Dreamland and the Doctor’s Shack in a row… it’s hard to do better than that! Now it’s time to write up the stories and show you some really, really interesting pictures!

(You can find all the articles related to Chernobyl and Pripyat by *clicking here* – the picture was taken *here*.)

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