Stahlberger Erbstollen

Bergbaumuseum Müsen - Stahlbergmuseum Müsen

Useful Information

Location: Auf der Stollenhalde 4, 57271 Hilchenbach.
Turn into Kirchgasse at the church, turn left into Glück-Auf-Straße, on the left side.
(50.988825, 8.043660)
Open: MAR to NOV 2nd Sun in month 14:30-16:30.
Fee: Adults EUR 4,50, Children (5-15) EUR 3,50.
Classification: MineIron Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: D=90 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: F. M. Simmersbach (1881): Geschichte des Siegerländer Bergbaues, GLASERS ANNALEN für Gewerbe & Bauwesen. 1881, Bd. VIII, Heft 2 u. 4. pdf Deutsch - German
Address: Bergbaumuseum Müsen, Altenberg und Stahlberg e.V., Auf der Stollenhalde 4, 57271 Hilchenbach-Müsen, Tel: +49-2732-25589.
Rolf Golze, Tel: +49-170-4114260.
Gerhard Klein, Tel: +49-2733-128340.
Martin Krause, Tel: +49-2732-12732.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


04-MAY-1313 "Stenberg zu Muzen" first mentioned in a customs agreement.
1611 eleven small mines join together to form the Gewerkschaft Stahlberg (Stahlberg union).
18th century invention of Etagenbau.
1740 construction of the Erbstollen (adit) begins.
1780 the Erbstollen is completed.
16-SEP-1789 visit by King William I of the Netherlands.
02-SEP-1802 visit by Prince Wilhelm V of Nassau-Siegen.
02-SEP-1819 visit by the later Kaiser Wilhelm I.
16-OCT-1833 visit by Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm IV.
~1860 heyday of the iron mining.
1924 Stahlbergmuseum (Steel Mining Museum) set up by mine director Fuhr in the prayer house.
1929 reaches 660 m level, end of mining.
31-MAR-1931 mine closed.
1963 Hubert Cadel discovers ruined walls on the pass between the villages of Müsen and Littfeld.
1970-1984 excavations of the Altenberg mining settlement.
2008 reconstruction of a Wasserkunst (water wheel) made of oak wood.
2021 Gestellsteinbruch renovated.


The ore deposit of the Stahlberg was the Stahlberger Stock, a thick deposit of Spateisenstein (siderite). It was 12 to 55 m thick and 200 m long. The ore was called spateisenstein or steelstone, hence the name Stahlberg. The iron ore from Stahlberg has an exceptionally high content of manganese, about 14 %, which made it possible to produce steel from it as early as the Middle Ages. For this reason, this ore was more valuable than other iron ore. These are ore-bearing veins in slate, greywacke slate and greywacke. In contrast to the rest of the Siegerland region, the Müsen mining area has polymetallic ores with a high metal content. In addition to the siderite, the veins also contained sulphide copper ores known as pale ores, and lead ores.


The Stahlbergmuseum Müsen is run by the Altenberg & Stahlberg e.V. association. It consists of a museum, a show mine and an archaeological excavation of the Altenberg mining settlement. The museum complex consists of two buildings, the museum and a workshop which also serves as the association's home.

The Stahlberg Museum is located in a building named Verläs, and was established in 1924, when the Stahlberg mine was still in operation. The mine director at the time, Fuhr, wanted the history of Müsen mining and the work and life of the miners to be shown. The building was constructed in 1729 as a company building on the site of the old shaft (St. Friedrich) of the Stahlberg mine. In 1845, it was dismantled and rebuilt on the mine dump next to the mouth of the Stahlberg mine adit and fitted with a bell tower. Until 1910 it served as a Bethaus (prayer house), where the miners gathered before and after their shift for a prayer. This is where the name Verläß comes from, their names were read out (verlesen in German) and everyone received their ration of lamp oil.

The museum extends over two floors, and the main theme is mining in Müsen. On the upper floor there are mine maps and minerals from the Siegerland region. Tools and equipment for underground and surface work, as well as those used in mine surveying and metallurgy, are also on display. The basement contains finds from the excavation campaign on the Altenberg site. Pottery, leather parts, hair remains and much more provide a glimpse of daily life in a mining settlement. After the excavation, the finds were taken away for scientific study and documentation. Some restored finds are also on display in the German Mining Museum in Bochum. A large part is stored there in the archives and at the LWL Archaeology, Olpe branch.

The area was originally called "Stenberg zu Muzen" (stone mountain near Müsen), but was then called Müsener Berg, Müsener Stahlbergwerk, and finally Grube Stahlberg from the beginning of the 18th century. For centuries, the Stahlberg was the workplace for miners living in Müsen, Ferndorf, Kredenbach and Kreuztal. They walked to and from work every day along the old miners' paths. The steel mountain formed the economic backbone of the region, creating jobs for generations of craftsmen, charcoal burners and carters. The ore was smelted in the smelters of the northern Siegerland.

The Stahlberger Erbstollen (steel mountain adit), as the name suggests, was excavated between 1740 and 1780 to drain off the mine water. It has a total length of 1,144.5 m. As in all mines, dewatering was a steadily increasing problem. As the depth of mining increased, the water also had to be pumped out from increasing depths. To divert the water, an adit was driven into the mountain from the village of Müsen. This is an almost horizontal gallery, which with its slight gradient diverts water from the mine to the valley.

From 1832 onwards, the gallery was also used to extract ore, but it had to be enlarged for this purpose. The first 380 m are visited during the guided tour. It also gives access to the Gestellsteinbruch quarry where stone blocks were quarried. Because of its heat resistance, this stone was used both for the walling of blast furnaces and for the lining of the tunnel. Various quarrying and mining techniques are shown here. This area was revised and expanded in 2021. Access is via an iron staircase at gallery metre 320. The replica of a Wasserkunst (water wheel) made of oak wood on a scale of about 1:3 was opened in 2008 at gallery metre 380. It is fully functional.

There are several mines in the Müsen area, for example Brüche, Wildermann, Altenberg, Heinrichssegen and Viktoria. The Stahlberg mine, however, became particularly famous because of its massive iron ore vein. This orebody was exposed on the surface and was mined there early on. In the Middle Ages, there were several mines in this area, until in 1611 eleven small mines joined together to form the Gewerkschaft Stahlberg (Stahlberg union). Today the term Gewerkschaft is used for workers unions, but at that time it was the miners term for a mine merger. In the 18th century, the Etagenbau mining method, a sort of drift mining, was developed here and became very popular. The mine was divided into 10 levels, which were mined at the same time. Ore pillars were left in place to provide stability for the mining. Collapses and the associated injuries and deaths were an absolute rarity in this mine.

The Corona pandemic made it very difficult for the association to maintain operation due to constant lockdowns and constantly changing measures. So the show mine was closed and urgently needed renovation work and various improvements were carried out. The Gestellsteinbruch (rock quarry) was also redesigned. Among other things, a functional reel was set up with which a trolley can be moved up and down on rails in the shaft.