Made in/With Luxembourg


Ken Rischard
Documentaries Short Films 16 min Luxembourg


A sound immerse journey through the once so flourishing steel industry in the heart of Europe.

The steel industry once put Luxembourg’s economy on its feet. After the industry died out, what remained of it was deserted, colossal buildings and lives scarred by unsafe working conditions. However, for many, these hazardous jobs still represented a daily beacon of hope and financial security. This monumental film stands in the memory of the labor that went on behind four factory walls, documenting in “memento mori” fashion the vanishing world of industrial workers.L’industrie sidérurgique a autrefois remis sur pied l’économie luxembourgeoise.

Growing up in the south of Luxembourg, the steel industry was something very familiar to me. Whenever I looked at these factory buildings scarred by the wear and tear of time, I wonder how it must have felt to stand inside of one of these behemoths. I wonder what it meant to work under such hellish conditions for countless hours exposed to fire, dust and heat.The steel industry had an enormous socio-economic impact on Luxembourg during the 20th century. Back then, the south was literally on fire as more and more blast furnaces were erected with ever-increasing capacities, resulting in a dramatic change in the Southern landscapes. In other words, nature was pushed aside in order to make way for an upcoming industrial era.At its peak, ARBED provided 25.000 jobs and generated one third of the gross domestic product. Phosphate, a side-product of the steel industry, was used to fertilize the dead soil in the North of the country, which transformed Luxembourg from a former peasant country into one of the most influential and richest countries in the world.At the end of the 20th century, most of the factories were downsized, outsourced or torn down due to the economic restructuring during the steel and oil crisis. However, thanks tomeasures taken by the government and ARBED, the workers didn’t lose their jobs. When the industry left, nature reclaimed its territory, and the South of Luxembourg was left with an exceptional and unique heritage.My childhood vision of the ARBED might be naive and romantic, but I can still vividly remember the sometimes ferocious sounds coming from the “Schmelz”. Even from a distance, I could hear the machines clashing and clanging, like giants struggling in an enormous fight. And whenever the sky suddenly turned reddish when they poured out the cinder (Schlaacken), we were told that Santa Claus was baking cookies. Over time, the stories about this world somehow became a collective memory: the memory of the South.The omnipresence of the steel industry triggered all your senses: you could constantly see it, smell it and hear it. The effects ranged from minor inconveniences all the way to life-changing situations. Cars, for example, used to be covered in dust from time to time. Accidents were common, and sometimes, people lost someone dear to them. In fact, from the end of the 19th century to the 1980s, approximately 14.000 miners lost their lives in the mines. The exact number is still unknown, and this estimate does not include the many workers who suffered comparatively minor injuries like losing a finger.Nowadays, most of the factories have fallen silent. Their raison d’être was rendered obsolete by progress, and thus they are now forgotten giants, relics from the past.
Propos du réalisateur - Ken Rischard


  • Ken Rischard


  • Simone Hart


  • Angel Vassilev

Ken Rischard

Ken Rischard
Ken Rischard

Born and raised to a musical family Ken was drawn to music at an early age. Beginning with piano and guitar, he soon enrolled at the music conservatory in Luxembourg. After graduating from high school, he started his studies at the “Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst” in Vienna where he graduated with his documentary film “Glimmer” in which he processes his memories from his childhood upbringing in the industrial south of the Greater Region.

More movies