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What's going on under your feet?

In the soil of the open-air museum, there is a technical infrastructure, as can be found in many communities or cities. Already in the 1970s, a sophisticated concept for the necessary infrastructure was developed to supply the museum with electricity, gas, and water. In addition, a comprehensive telecommunications network was established. For the operation of the water mill and the museum’s own water cycle with a stream and ponds, a technical system of pumps, deep wells, and high tanks was set up.

When installing the technical facilities, it was and is important for the museum team that they remain hidden or invisible so as not to disturb the historical views and exhibition intentions. The technology fulfils its tasks, so to speak, in the background.

For example, there is a heat supply for some particularly valuable and complexly furnished buildings. The heat is brought to these houses decentrally via a museum-owned district heating line with a total length of over 500 meters. The control and monitoring are carried out via data transmission between the administrative buildings, the technical structures, and the historical buildings via a fibre optic network with a total length of several kilometres, which is continuously being expanded.

For many years, a photovoltaic system on the roof of the construction yard has been generating renewable energy. In addition, since 2023, modern heat pump technology has been used for the first time at a location that is not visible.

There's a lot going on in the soil

The infrastructure of the museum is similar to that of a modern settlement and is an important part of daily operations.

Local heating: In the historical buildings of the Paderborn Village, heat energy is needed. A part of the houses is tempered to protect the building substance and also the entire interior (wallpapers, furniture, textiles, and metal objects) - if not stored out in winter - from too high humidity. In addition, the operational buildings are also used outside the museum season, which is why heating is necessary in winter. The pipeline system for district heating in the Paderborn Village is about 400 meters long and consists of two insulated pipelines laid underground in parallel. The individual houses are connected to this system via heat exchangers. The diameter of the pipes varies between 125 millimetres and 32 millimetre.

Fibre optics: Between the technology in the houses, the workplaces of the museum staff, and the provided WLAN, many data in the form of bits and bytes need to be transmitted. For this, data connections in the form of a fibre optic network connect some houses. Over this network, data can be transmitted over long distances without loss. The individual transmission fibres are partly only a few micrometres thick - that is the thousandth part of a millimetre and thinner than a human hair. Data is transmitted via light pulses in the optical fibres and then converted back into electrical impulses readable by normal computer technology. The longest fibre optic route in the museum is over 3 kilometres long and transmits data securely and without loss, without needing additional amplifiers.