LWL – Freilichtmuseum Hagen, Germany

The Hagen Westphalian Open-Air Museum (official site, in German) (German: LWL-Freilichtmuseum Hagen – Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Handwerk und Technik; English: “LWL Open-air Museum Hagen – Westphalian State Museum for Craft and Technics”) is a museum at Hagen in the southeastern Ruhr area, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

The open-air museum brings a bit of skilled-trade history into the present, and it takes a hands-on approach. On its grounds stretching for about 42 ha, not only are urban and rural trades simply “displayed” along with their workshops and tools, but in more than twenty of the nearly sixty rebuilt workshops, they are still practiced, and interested visitors can, sometimes by themselves, take part in the production.

Crafts and trades demonstrated at the Westphalian Open-Air Museum include ropemaking, smithing, brewing, baking, tanning, printing, milling, papermaking, etc.

The Hagen Westphalian Open-Air Museum is open from March or April until October.

We went there on the same day when we visited Hohensyburg Ruins, which are only about 15 km away, in the same direction from Dortmund. We arrived on a sunny Sunday at ~13:00, so the parking lot was completely full. Try to arrive earlier, will save you some time.

1. Entry tickets are 7 EUR for adults, free for young children. We were not allowed to enter with a small PUKY bicycle, so keep that in mind. We left it in the gift shop (this building).

2. The first thing you see is this Watermill.

3. We are only getting started.

4. This building is protected by a gated fence, probably not for tourists.

5. There are at least 3 lakes. The first one (this one) is probably used to power the watermill that we saw earlier.

6. There are over 60 crafting shops/buildings here, the biggest portion being dedicated to metal, plenty of blacksmith shops around.

7. Many of the shops have live exhibits, but we arrived on their lunch break.

8. Most buildings are wheelchair-accessible.



11. When we reached this second lake we realized that this place is much larger than we expected.

12. If you want fine dining – check out this restaurant. If you want something simpler – keep walking.

13. Another collection of blacksmith buildings. The second building on the right is a small video room, where a short video explains the importance of using the right nails when building stuff.

14. Here we found out why shipbuilders don’t use nails with a round head. Using the wrong nails will easily sink your ship!


16. The path keeps going on and on.

17. Lunch break ended and the craftsmen returned to their posts.

18. Children can make their own nails here, a practical demonstration.


20. The sign posts were now pointing to a printing press, a bakery, tannery, etc.

21. Papermaking.





26. Nearby you can find a modern papermaking machinery.





31. This was an interesting exhibit. Each tube shows the amount of paper used by an average person during one year of life. Left tube – 215 kg in 2000. Middle tube – 32 kg in ~1970. Right tube – 4kg in ~1920.




35. Ropemaking is demonstrated here.

36. The “final” square, where multiple shops are: a bakery, a tannery, ropemaking, coffee grinder, beekeeper, etc. Some comedy show was ongoing when we arrived, people seemed to have lots of fun.

37. This is the final square on this tour. You can grab a quick bite here and start your journey back.


39. On our way back the restaurant was already empty (at ~17:45).

40. There are multiple playgrounds for children. This one is right at the beginning, after the first lake. Coffee and icecream is served nearby.


42. The gift shop at the entrance/exit.

In Conclusion

We had lots of fun at this beautiful open-air museum. Even though it was scorching hot – we managed to spend almost 5 hours here. I think this is a great place to go to with children that are at least 3 years old.
Very well organized with sufficient WC facilities. Even if you arrive on a busy day – the size of the place makes it almost impossible to feel crowded. Great for a fun day with the family!

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