The Styrum water tower is 50 meters high and used to contain around 500,000 liters of water. It was constructed in 1892 on instructions from August Thyssen who wanted it to supply water for his rolling mills. In 1912 ownership passed to the newly created Rhineland-Westphalian Waterworks Company (RWW).
Until it was closed in 1982 it mainly supplied water to the neighbouring industrial plants. In 1992 the RWW redesigned the tower completely and opened the Aquarius Industrial Museum. What used to store water now stores a magnitude of knowledge about the significance of water and is a award winning beautiful architectural construction which drew my attention to the superb object for either night or daylight photography.
The Museum itself is housed inside this listed redbrick water tower. Two separate elevators take you to the top where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the neighboring Styrum castle, the Ruhr Valley and on a clear day, the cities of Duisburg, Oberhausen and Mülheim. Once inside the Museum, you receive a computer-chip card which is your key to a total of over 30 multi-media stations on 14 different floors. The exhibitions contain almost six hours of film and graphic animations all related to water and its fragile but essential meaning to human life.
In addition there are a huge number of simulations like the video sculpture of a water spring or a talking globe, and a multitude of games and quizzes. One primary highlight is a virtual journey along the River Ruhr as it is turned into a realistic encounter with drinking water supplies, power production and ecological themes. At one point you can even slip into the role of a 19th century engineer and build your own ship lock and lift ships from one level of the river to another. Other interesting challenges include taking charge of a real to life control room at a water-treatment plant and process polluted water, a real joy if you enjoy sewage or cesspools, but without the smell of course.
All things considered, the Aquarius Water Museum has but one single theme, which is well linked from each of its 14 floors of information; How extremely precious water is and the need for all of us to protect it.