Waltrop was founded nearly 1000 years ago, as a small church community surrounding St. Peter’s church. Erected sometime in the 9th/10th century, the church is still a major part of the community, hosting annual summer festivals.
Visiting the church you can see a mix of architectural styles as the church got updates and repairs over the years, as well as some old carvings whose mysterious symbolism has never been figured out. The survival of the old architecture at the church isn’t the only thing that will uplift your spirits in Waltrop, though.
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The town is also home to a unique museum celebrating boat lifts. Boat lifts are used in canals to literally carry ships between areas of the canals that have different heights. You usually never see them up close, much less get a chance to touch and play with them. Waltop has the very unique and once world’s-largest lift, the Henrichenburg lift, on display along with many others.
Even having seen this unique museum, you still won’t have gotten the full uplifting effects of a trip to Waltrop. You also have to check out the hydraulic pumps and lifts in the coal mining museum. A coal mine operated in Waltrop from 1905 – 1979, and now that it is closed many relics from the mining days are used in demonstrations and displays at the city museum. The staff are all local volunteers, so they tell great stories from the days when the mine dominated the local industry.
Yet even the museum leaves you with one more uplifting trip to make. You need to go and climb the Track Plant Tower. Artist Jan Bormann decided it was a shame that the timbers from the mine tunnels weren’t going to be used after the mine closed, and so repurposed them to build a tower above ground.
The old mine beams now make a 12 meter high tower where you can get a great view over the community and surrounding areas. It’s perfect for pictures and a great place to watch the sun go down on a day of ups! :-)