Project 4: The Event Power Plant Plessa

Power Plant under modification

Due to the flat landscape of Lower Lusatia, the two chimneys of the Plessa power plant, both over 100 metres high, can be seen from a great distance. At least 80 years old, this imposing structure is one of the oldest original lignite-fired power plants in Europe. Now this »cathedral of labour« is an event power plant open to visitors – with art events, a restaurant, and commercial uses planned for its future. Today, the old power plant provides a very different source of energy.


Before its rich lignite reserves were discovered, the community of Plessa was a village of farmers and fishermen with a population of approximately 400. Lignite mining in Plessa began in the mid-nineteenth century and in 1924 the first mobile spoil conveyor bridge in the world was put into service at Plessa’s »Agnes« trench. The Plessa power plant was built by the Siemens-Schuckert-Werke in 1926, during the expansion of open-cast mining and the introduction of the »new« spoil conveyor bridge system. The same spirit of innovation can be seen in the power plant’s »Neues Bauen« architecture and its often impressive furnishings – the red terracotta tiles at the administrative tract entrance and the natural stone trimming of the instrument panels and switchboards in the control stations.

The power plant reached its present size in 1942 (it was constructed in three sections), and, apart from a brief interruption during wartime, was in continual operation until 1992, when this megawatt power facility was finally shut down. An effort by the community to reopen it as a combined heat and power station after the reunification failed. As there seemed to be no sensible way of reusing the building, its total demolition was discussed – despite the fact that it had been a listed building since 1985.


Inclusion in the IBA preparation company’s project list in 1998 – and the new Förderverein Kraftwerk Plessa e.V. support association – saved the power plant from demolition. In 2001, the support association and the community of Plessa founded the Industrie- Denkmal- & Industrie-Museum Kraftwerk Plessa gGmbH – the power plant’s present owner.

These partners and the IBA developed a plan for the power plant’s future that would ensure that at least a third of its historic interior and exterior would be preserved in their original state – preserving an authentic record of how lignite was turned into electrical energy here. Other parts of the building were to be renovated and equipped for new commercial uses. The idea was to create a lively sectoral mix that would encourage the visitors to linger and enjoy the displays of how the power station used to work and the restaurant services. The first milestone was reached in 2007, with the restoration of the chimneys and the »Weg der Kohle« or »coal trail« – made possible by money from the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRE) and co-financed by funds for lignite restoration. Visitors can now go on guided tours of the power plant. A wide variety of events take place in the former turbine hall – ranging from classical concerts to techno nights. On the May 1 of each year – Labour Day – the Power Plant Festival is held.

To show the technological and economic links between lignite mining, electricity production, coke and briquette manufacture, and heavy industry in the Lusatia area, the IBA encouraged the Event Power Plant Plessa to become part of a network with other industrial relics – the F60 Visitor’s Mine, the Lauchhammer Bio-Tower, and the Louisebriquette factory in Domsdorf, subsequently marketed as the »ENERGIE Heritage Route of Lusatian Industrial Culture.«


The idea was to make this industrial monument a symbol of structural change by expanding its present-day uses. Over the next few years, parts of buildings will be converted for new commercial users – including a fruit distillery and regional craft operations – while other parts of the building and the power plant’s grounds will be restored. The services for tourists will be expanded step by step, including a restaurant inside the power plant. The »ENERGIE Heritage Route of Lusatian Industrial Culture« – part of the »European Route of Industrial Heritage« (ERIH) – will help the power plant beyond the region and provide starting points for cultural tourism on a large scale.

Opening times

Montag - Freitag 9.00 - 16.00 Uhr
Samstag 10.00 - 18.00 Uhr
Sonn- und Feiertage 10.00 - 17.00 Uhr
Letzter Einlass 1 Stunde vor Ende der Öffnungszeiten


Erwachsene 4 Euro
Kinder bis 14 Jahre 1,50 Euro
Familienticket 6 Euro


Am Kraftwerk 1
04928 Plessa
Phone: +49 (0)3533 - 60 72 0
Fax: +49 (0)3533 - 60 72 72
e-mail: or

Download the flyer: Event Power Plant Plessa (3.0 MB)

Our partners

Industrie-Denkmal & Industrie-Museum Kraftwerk Plessa gGmbH
Amt Plessa


Go by car to Kraftwerk Plessa or by public transportation:

VBB fahrinfo - Link (mit Vorbelegung)
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last update: 1/26/2017 13:13