The re-greening of post-industrial sites creates distinct landscapes, perhaps a new form of idyllic retreat. For example, Duisburg Nord Landscape Park in the Ruhr, Germany, is a 230-hectare site on which redundant industrial structures have been preserved and in some cases given new leisure uses, surrounded by a decontaminated landscape combining natural (succession) regrowth with new planting. The outcome is a landscape which reconciles a past of exploitation and pollution (but also of work) with a greener future; but this seemingly happy state masks the site’s histories and conflicting contexts. And while the re-greening of such sites denotes the end of Europe’s industrial era, the beginning of that era – in England in the eighteenth century – was also marked by what was then a new kind of landscape: the landscaped park. In both cases, natural growth is shaped by human artifice to produce vistas and views. In one, focal points are provided by statues and fake ruins; in the other, by the relics of an industrial past. A series of paradoxes emerges: the past in the present (or the present reconfigured as a past); nature reconfigured as culture (or culture in the form of natural growth); and a narrative of time and place which is not exactly what it seems. But do wastelands transformed into post-modern idylls reconcile or merely erase the industrial past? Does the glimpse of arcadia they offer represent escapism, or a better post-industrial world?