From Boom to Bust: the History of Industrial Regions (1870-1970 and beyond)

Thu 09 June 2022
to Fri 10 June 2022
- 15:00
Maison du Savoir, Room 3.350

International conference organised by the “Remixing Industrial Pasts” team.

The conference will address the continuous and complex transformation of European industrial regions from industrialization to de- and post-industrialization, from the 1870s to the 1970s and beyond. The geographical scope ranges from the industrial regions of Western Europe in Portugal, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Great Britain to the far north of Norway and Central and Eastern Europe (former GDR and Poland). The comparative long-term perspective will shed light on the different conditions of regional development and the cycles of boom and bust in the European context. The focus will be on four main topics: the housing situation of workers and their families, the decline of mining regions, the socio-political resistance of industrial workers, and the journalistic and visual representation of everyday life and industry using the example of the Minett – the industrial region in southern Luxembourg.

The international conference also marks the conclusion of the research project “Remixing Industrial Pasts in the Digital Age,” funded by the European Capital of Culture Esch2022 and based at the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH). The team members will present the scientific results of the project on the industrial history of the Minett and the virtual exhibition “Minett Stories”.

The event will be held on-site only. If you want to participate please send an email to:


Thursday, 9 June 2022

09.00    Arrival of participants

09.15     Welcome by Stefan Krebs (University of Luxembourg, PI Remixing Industrial Pasts)

09.30     Keynote by Denis Scuto (University of Luxembourg)
“From boom to bust?”: Historiographical reflections on the industrial region of the Minett

10.30     Coffee break

11.00     Section 1: Workers’ housing policies and conditions

Chair: Christoph Brüll

Zdeněk Nebřenský (German Historical Institute, Prague)
State Authorities and Workers’ Housing Policy in Eastern Europe, 1866–1976

Daniel Richter (University of Luxembourg)
Microstudies of worker streets in Esch at the beginning of the 20th century

Beata Piecha-van Schagen (Museum Upper Silesian Ethnographic Park, Chorzów)
The Upper Silesian Borsigwerk – cultural and religious interactions in industrialising communities in the late 19th century

Ulrich Schildberg (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)
Development of Company Towns – Longyearbyen/Svalbard as a Case Study

13.00     Lunch break

14.00     Visit Blast Furnace A

15.00     Section 2: Mining areas in decline

Chair: Karin Priem

Lena Ferriday (University of Bristol/University of Exeter)
Mine-beaten miners’? Representing the Sensing Body in the Industrial Landscapes of Cornwall, c. 1850-1910

Laura Höss (TU Darmstadt)
From Bust to Boomtown? Post-socialist urban transformation and neoliberal city management in the context of the deindustrialisation of the central german lignite area after the “Wende”: The case of Leipzig 1980 – 2000

16.00     Coffee break

16.30     Section 2 (continued): Mining areas in decline

Afra de Mars (Maastricht University)
The formation of a no-mine’s-land? The effect of spatial planning practises on the Limburg landscape after the Dutch mine closure (1965 – present)

Maxime Derian (University of Luxembourg)
The Minett: landscapes of a region in transformation

18.30     Conference dinner


Friday, 10 June 2022

09.00     Section 3: The socio-political resistance of industrial workers

Chair: Valérie Schafer

Irene Portas (University of Luxembourg)
Communist networks in the Minett during the interwar years

Julia Harnoncourt (University of Luxembourg)
Resistance without identifiable purpose: spontaneous protests and petty crime (from World War I to the 1930s)

10.00     Coffee break

10.30     Section 3 (continued): Workers’ resistance

Miguel Pérez Suárez (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
When Workers liberated themselves and caught their own Path: A Workers Self-Management in Red South Bank Lisbon

Paolo Jorge (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
Industrialization and resistance in Almada during the Estado Novo (1933-1974)

11.30     Presentation of the virtual exhibition “Minett Stories”

12.15     Lunch break

13.15     Section 4: Representations of the Minett

Chair: Werner Tschacher

Anne-Marie Millim (University of Luxembourg)
The Representation of the Minette Region in Batty Weber’s Feuilleton Series Abreisskalender (1913-1940)

Jens Van de Maele (University of Luxembourg)
The Minett: Dirty or Beautiful? Clashing Discourses on Environmental Pollution and Natural Beauty, 1920s-1960s

Viktoria Boretska (University of Luxembourg)
Photography and identity negotiation in the Minett during industrial decline of the 1980s

14.45     Closing remarks Stefan Krebs

Images copyrights
Source: Archives Esch-sur-Alzette