Saline Gottesgabe salt works

For hundreds of years salt, the ‘white gold’ from Bentlage, was a prized trading commodity that was transported along the “Salzstrasse” (salt road) to the “Salzhof” (salt yard) in the episcopal town of Münster. From here it was traded further afield.

The history of salt extraction in Bentlage goes far back into the Middle Ages. In the time of the Crosier monastery, the salt was originally extracted for use by the monastery itself. In 1742 Prince-Bishop Clemens August created a salt extraction company, leading to a thorough modernization of the salt works under the management of the court architect Johann Conrad Schlaun and the well-known salt extraction specialist Joachim Friedrich von Beust. The present, extensive salt works originates from the heyday of salt extraction; with a “Gradierwerk” or ‘thorn house’ almost 300 metres in length, it was the first installation of its kind in Westphalia. In 1890 the existing salt extraction plant was augmented by the medical baths and spa department, while became the second pillar of Saline Gottesgabe. The salt extraction plant itself was operated until 1952 and brine baths were administered even as late as 1975.

In the period between the extensive modernization and the end of the salt extraction, the central point of power generation and distribution was the “Radstube” (Wheel Chamber) – later the Turbine House – by the salt canal. As salt extraction lost its importance, the technology here remained at the level of the start of the previous century. Following refurbishment by the Association of German Engineers (VDI) in 2011, the old transmission, a pump and the drilling machine are once again in working order and can be demonstrated.

The buildings of Saline Gottesgabe, preserved to the present day and carefully renovated, form an ensemble that is unique throughout the region. Next to this it is one of the oldest industrial cultural monuments from the pre-industrial period in Westphalia.

The grounds of Saline Gottesgabe – today the Salinenpark – can be visit at any time. The “Salzsiedehaus” (salt boiling house) with its historical boiling pans, heating facilities and salt stores is accessible only as part of a guided tour or an educational museum programme.

Booking guided tours on the Salt Trail:
Verkehrsverein Rheine
tel. 05971-54055

or Infozentrum Dreigiebelhaus,
Salinenstraße 105,
tel. 05971-9127894 or using the online form.

Booking educational museum programmes and guided tours
in the Josef Winckler House and the Salzwerkstatt:
Städtische Museen Rheine (Rheine Municipal Museums),
Tel. 05971-920610 or using the online form.