History of the region of Eisenwurzen

The region of Eisenwurzen is characterised by a more than 800-year-old land use history. Today, the region still is a coherent cultural and economic area. While iron ore mining and manufacture gave the region economic power in former times, tourism and agriculture are the determining factors today.

The region of Eisenwurzen is a prime example of European cultural landscapes looking back on intensive land use over hundreds of years.


Iron ore mining started in the 12th century and reached its peak in the 16th century with a proportion of 15 % of the European iron production. At the time, the whole region was characterised by a complex interaction of mining and transport as well as agriculture and forestry. This was possible despite the challenging conditions thanks to a dense system of well organised services. Extensive deforestation and a high population density prevailed at the time, whereas overgrowth by woodland and depopulation were the most important trends for landscape and society after the decline of the mining industry.


The distinct temporal and spatial land use gradients – embedded in global trends – make this post-mining region an interesting study area within the European context. The region of Eisenwurzen also presents a range of the national challenges that sustainable regional development is faced with.



Putzhuber, Hasenauer, Mirtl (2006): Multifunctional Land Use. The Eisenwurzen region of the Austrian Alps. Landscape tomorrow, Springer.