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We study the compact open clusters Westerlund 1 (BH 197) and Westerlund 2. We present CCD integrated spectroscopy for both clusters, and CCD imaging in the V and I bands for the former one. So far, Westerlund 1 is possibly the most reddened open cluster studied in detail (A v ≈ 13.0). It has an age of 8 ± 3 Myr and a distance from the Sun of d ≈ 1.0 ± 0.4 kpc. For Westerlund 2 we derive a visual absorption A V ≈ 5.0 mag, an age of 2 − 3 Myr, and d = 5.7 ± 0.3 kpc. From luminosity and structuraldoi:10.1051/aas:1998111 fatcat:66uxtteykncvrcy3c3zqtlloyi