Historisches Kuperbergwerk Düppenweiler

Historic Copper Mine Düppenweiler

Useful Information

Location: Düppenweiler, Piesbacher Straße 67, 66701 Beckingen.
A8 exit 12 Nalbach, B269 towards Lebach/Nalbach 7.7 km, turn left Piesbach, Hauptstraße, from the centre Litermontstraße 3.5 km.
A8 exit 6 Merzig, direction Merzig 250 m, after the bridge turn left onto L174 direction Beckingen 8 km, turn left to Beckingen 1 km, at the roundabout turn left to Düppenweiler, turn left to Piesbach.
(49.4116871, 6.7839207)
Open: APR to JAN Sat, Sun, Hol 14-18, tours 14, 16.
Huthaus: All year Wed-Sat 16-22, Sun 11-22.
Closed 25-DEC, 31-DEC.
Fee: Adults EUR 8, Children (6-18) EUR 6, Children (0-5) free, Students EUR 6.
Groups (10+): Adults EUR 7, Children (6-18) EUR 5.
Classification: MineCopper Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System LightSon et Lumière
Guided tours: D=90 min, L=600 m, Max=15.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Werner Kockler (2023): Das Historische Kupferbergwerk in Düppenweiler, in: St. Barbara, Saarbrücken, Vereinigung Saarländischer Bergingenieure e.V., Funk, 1961, Bd. 73 (2023), S. 32-39. Deutsch - German
Werner Kockler (2023): Das historische Kupferbergwerk in Düppenweiler : Touristenattraktion und außerschulischer Lernort Lehrer und Schule heute, Bd. 74 (2023), 3/4, S. 14-17, ISSN 2190-5878. Deutsch - German
Address: Historisches Kupferbergwerk, Piesbacher Straße 67, 66701 Beckingen, Tel: +49-6832-800011.
Verein für Geschichte und Kultur e. V., Auf den Spitzenfeldern 4, 66701 Beckingen-Düppenweiler.
Huthaus Düppenweiler, Eva Eck-Stücker, Piesbacher Straße 67, 66701 Beckingen, Tel: +49-6832-808370. E-mail:
Gemeindeverwaltung Beckingen, Patricia Pitzius, Bergstraße 48, 66701 Beckingen, Tel: +49-6835-550. E-mail:
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.


1723 copper deposits discovered on the Weltersberg by a farmer named Junkmann while ploughing.
~1725 start of mining by Remacle Renard Joseph des Hauzeur from Wallonia.
1735 mine closed down due to a legal dispute between the Elector of Trier and the Lords of Hagen.
1757 fief of the Lords of Hagen.
1769 taken over by Baron Franz Georg von Zandt and his partner de Gersonne.
1772-1778 Marquis de Gerin attempts to install an atmospheric steam engine for the pumps but goes bankrupt beforehand.
1786-1788 F. J. Odelin briefly operates the mine on behalf of a Parisian company.
1799 Couturier and Thirion unsuccessfully apply for a licence for the mine.
1800 Soller, a partner in Dillinger Hütte, applies for the licence.
1803 Prefect of the Saar Department grants a provisional licence to Dillinger Hütte.
1806 Dillinger Hütte receives the concession together with other companies for a period of 50 years by order of Napoleon.
1814 mine closed due to the turmoil of war.
1818 Dillinger Hütte reapplies for a licence to operate the copper mine and coal seam.
1825 Resumption of mining operations including a steam engine by Dillinger Hütte.
1828 abandoned due to lack of mineable ore.
1915 reopened due to high demand for raw materials during the First World War by the Dillinger Hütte.
1916 closed down for good because it was no longer profitable.
08-OCT-1986 application for reopening as a show mine.
1992 the Förderverein Historisches Bergwerk Düppenweiler e.V. (Düppenweiler Historic Mine Association) is founded, takes over sponsorship and begins to excavate the mine.
1993 Dillinger Hütte's concession expires, operating licence granted to the association.
1995 Show mine opened.
1999 Extension of the show mine including the "New Barbara Shaft".
2004 Huthaus erected.
2005 "Mystallica" light and sound installation installed.
2011 construction of the miners' Christmas pyramid.
2010 reconstruction of the copper smelter with stamp mill and smelter completed.


The Litermont is a 414 m high elevation north-east of Dillingen/Saar, between the villages of Düppenweiler, Nalbach and Hüttersdorf. It is evidence of Permian volcanism in the area of today's Saar-Nahe highlands. The hill forms an elevation because it consists of weather-resistant rhyolite. It was formed during the Saalian phase of mountain formation around 275 million years ago. This "small" mountain formation phase was postulated by Hans Stille in 1924 and separates the Lower and Upper Rotliegend, which is why Rotliegend is also named Dyas, the "two parted". Nevertheless, the distinction of the two layers is very difficult. In any case, tectonic movements occurred, and magma penetrated between older rock layers and cooled relatively slowly.


The copper deposit on the Weltersberg was discovered in 1723 by a farmer named Junkmann while ploughing. Copper mining in Düppenweiler began two years later with the Walloon Remacle Renard Joseph des Hauzeur, who recruited experienced miners from the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains). He was so successful that a rumour claimed that he had also found a vein of gold. After a while, however, the mine water became so abundant that he had to install pumps. A horse engine was installed to drive the pumps. Disputes arose, as a result of which the mine was forced to shut down. The Imperial Baron Johann Wilhelm Ludwig von Hagen zur Motten filed a lawsuit against the Elector of Trier at the Imperial Court of Justice in Vienna over the copper mine. Following a ruling by the courts of Koblenz and Trier, the mine was shut down until the matter was resolved. As a result, Hauzeur probably left Düppenweiler between 1730 and 1735. The legal dispute continued, and it was only over 20 years later that it was ended with a settlement before the Imperial Court of Justice in Vienna in 1757. The baronial von Hagen family received the copper mine as a fief from the Elector of Trier and reopened it. Soon afterwards, they leased it to Jean Helle de Doffinée, who soon had it shut down.

A decade later, in 1769, Franz Georg von Zandt and his partner de Gersonne put the plant back into operation. They discovered further rich copper ore deposits. However, they also had problems with the large amount of mine water, which ultimately caused them to fail. The operators changed several more times, and all of them failed due to the ingress of water. As early as 1776, the then operator Marquis de Gerin had the idea of using an atmospheric steam engine to lift the water. Unfortunately, his company went bankrupt before the steam engine was ready for operation. Finally, Dillinger Hütte took over during Napoleon's occupation, interrupted by the turmoil of war and hampered by changing regulations. Finally, Napoleon himself granted a concession for 50 years, but the turmoil of war with the fall of Napoleon ended this mining phase. From 1824 to 1828, the Dillinger Hütte mined again, but was also unable to reach the lower levels with its ore, despite the use of a steam engine. It therefore gave up mining due to a lack of mineable ore and closed the mine in 1828. Further attempts to reopen the mine were rejected. The last resumption of mining, which was probably due to the lack of raw materials caused by the First World War, was also unsuccessful and short-lived. Dillinger Hütte finally closed the mine for good in 1916. For some reason, they repeatedly extended the licence until 1993.

The idea of turning the mine into a show mine emerged in the 1980s. On 08-OCT-1986, the then head of the village submitted the first application to reopen the old mine workings for this purpose. The tunnel was reopened in this year by the municipality. The Förderverein Historisches Bergwerk Düppenweiler e.V. (copper mine development association) took over the responsibility in 1992. After the concession of the Dillinger Hütte finally expired in 1993, they were granted an operating licence for the show cave. First the Hüttenschacht, then the Selloschacht and Hauzeurschacht and the associated tunnels were made accessible. A miners chapel, the Barbara Chapel, shaft roofs and the shaft house of the Hauzeurschacht were built above ground. The show mine was finally opened in 1995 and has been extended several times since then.

The complex consists of the Huthaus, which houses a restaurant and a small mining museum, the entrance shaft to the copper mine, the copper smelter, the foundations of the steam engine and the chapel of St Barbara. There are several car parks and a Kneipp facility at the Huthaus. Guided tours of the mine site and the copper smelter are available by appointment, but only on Sundays. Of course, the open-air site can also be visited without a guided tour, information boards provide visitors with information about the facilities. An unguided tour of the stamping plant is also possible, a turnstile allows access after inserting a coin. A so-called media terminal explains the copper smelter and the further processing of the ore. Three films are also shown.

The landmark of the mine is probably the miner's Christmas pyramid or mine pyramid. This is a larger-than-life replica of a pyramid from the Ore Mountains. This wooden Christmas decoration rotates as warm air rises from four candles and drives a propeller. This is probably a not so subtle reference to the fact that the first miners came from the Ore Mountains, both from Saxony and Bohemia. Both customs and the miners' language have survived to this day.

Guided tours of the mine take place on weekends during the summer months, while the restaurant is open all year round. The show mine consists of 600 m of tunnels, mostly 80 cm wide and up to 2 m high, and four shafts with depths ranging from 10 m to 19 m. You enter through the Barbaraschacht and reach the dome where ore mining is shown. In the machine shaft, dewatering is thematised. The geology of the mine is explained at the underground lake. During the tour, the hardworking daily life of the miners is presented, as are the legends surrounding copper mining at Litermont.

In addition to irregular events, the Düppenweiler Schmelzertage (Düppenweiler smelter days) take place every year on the weekend after Ascension Day. The historic copper smelting plant with a stamp mill and smelter is fully functional and is demonstrated on these days. You can see the bellows, all three smelting furnaces and the cooking furnace in operation. The entire smelting process is demonstrated, just as it was in the 18th century.