What are the “Routes of Wolfram in Europe - Memory of Men and Industrial Heritage"

When visiting the mining heritage, a legacy of the exploitation of wolfram, and associating to it all the potential of the collective memory of Men, it is intended to create a single route that will tell the mining history, lived in Portugal and in Europe, during the World War II. The development of “Routes of Wolfram in Europe - Memory of Men and Industrial Heritage" aims to build a distinguishing tourism product.

The internationalization of the “Routes of Wolfram in Europe - Memory of Men and Industrial Heritage" connects an entire identical patrimony in Europe, allowing a single tourist exchange. One single product, one single history, several countries that have clearly influenced Europe forever, through the wolfram, in the first half of the twentieth century.

It is considered that this subject, the wolfram, related to the memories of Men and the Second World War, will trigger a great interest in the tourists. This type of tourist usually belongs to a social class that has a high academic level and that uses free time to travel and increase their knowledge. This type of tourist has frequently been detected on cultural tourism. This kind of tourist shows great perseverance in knowing the destination, participating in all activities related to the main reason for the visit. They usually stay in the destination, until they reach a high degree of expertise. They don’t mind spending in order to achieve their personal satisfaction; therefore, although this is not considered a niche market, it must not be forgotten.

Europe has a strong cultural heritage and tourism industry has been able to use it and to make it profitable. However, it is noticed that tourists are more and more demanding; they are looking for new places, and nowadays they require new relationships with heritage, in search of personal experiences of discovery.

It is clear that the tourist is more and more seeking for an approach to the past. According to Urry’s explanations in his book "The Tourist Gaze," the uncertainty in contemporary life explains this obsessive interest in the past, perceived as being more secure and predictable. According to the same author, here is the concept of nostalgia, that is the key fuel of this search and of the contemplation of old structures, as well as the understanding of the sources that produced them.

It is noticed that more and more tourists travel on their own, by car or by motorbike. They go to the internet to get information about the destinations and they are increasingly demanding and looking for destinations that offer them something innovative, but structured. We also observe that EU citizens still prefer to make their vacations in Europe1.

The “Routes of Wolfram in Europe - Memory of Men and Industrial Heritage" as a tourist product, although it must be innovative, shall also respect the good practices of tourism, promoting a social and responsible tourism, where the endogenous resources of the regions may be developed, considering, however the respect for environmental quality, the development of crafts and local cuisine preserving the environmental, economic and socio-cultural territories and populations involved.

In this context and as a result of the project it is expected that the "Routes of Wolfram in Europe - Memory of Men and Industrial Heritage" may provide input to benefit the economic, social and cultural development of municipalities / regions that join the project, thus guaranteeing its sustainability.


1 – Data obtained from the Euro Barometer of the European Commission.

Category: Wolfram

The tungsten (chemical symbol W) is the chemical element with atomic number 74. It has the highest melting point among all metals (3410 ° C) and that is the reason why it is referenced in the Guinness Book of Records. It also has a very high density (19.3), almost two and a half times heavier than iron. Many people associate it with the war as it was very popular during the two World Wars, particularly in Portugal. Tungsten (Swedish tung = heavy, sten = stone), is one of the few chemical elements with two names, the other name is Wolfram.

This designation results from the German Wolf = wolf rahm = foam - ("wolf soot" or "wolf cream") and it appeared when metalworkers in the Middle Ages, during the metallurgy of tin ore, verified the formation of a foam that seemed to "devour" the tin every time that the ores contained wolframite. Therefore they designated the mineral of wolfram. Although there are 45 minerals with tungsten only two (wolframite and scheelite) have economic value.

The metal has multiple applications. The most important is the manufacture of WC pieces (tungsten carbide) for metal cutting. Other applications include hard steels, lamp filaments, dense alloys used, for example, in airplanes, bimetallic alloys for heat dissipation in computers, and for the manufacture of LCDs, ceramic catalysts for the petrochemical industry, applications for glasses which darken with sunlight, among many others.

Category: Wolfram