ESSEN. Hundreds of coal mines produced coal in the Ruhr area, but only one was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. For good reason: the Zollverein Coal Mine is a masterpiece of mining architecture, created by the visionaries Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer. The symmetrical arrangement of buildings is still impressive today: The facilities, which were designed to the last detail, are a completely preserved synthesis of the arts.
Until 1986, the coal mine had produced a total of 240 million tons of coal, up to 8,000 miners worked around the clock above and below ground. Today, the industrial monument is a lively cultural location with museums for industrial history and design, numerous recreational offers and events. The famous twin pithead frame impressively represents the change of a whole region. About 1.5 million guests from all over the world meanwhile visit the site every year (2011–2017) to experience the exceptional industrial architecture, participate in guided tours, visit exhibitions, celebrate festivals or relax in the Zollverein Park.
Denkmalpfad ZOLLVEREIN®: Daily guided tours of the Coal Mine and Coking Plant
Denkmalpfad ZOLLVEREIN® (Monument Path ZOLLVEREIN®) vividly conveys industrial history. On guided tours through the originally preserved above-ground facilities, visitors experience what it meant to work at the once most efficient coal mine in the world and the largest coking plant in Europe. The participants follow the “Path of Coal” above ground, thereby gaining exciting insights into both the work and life of miners and coking plant workers. Furthermore, the tour guide descriptively explains details about architecture, industrial nature and the change of the Zollverein World Heritage Site into a modern cultural location. Anyone who wants to comfortably and quickly explore the entire World Heritage Site simply books the e-bus! During the one- respectively two-hour ZOLLVEREIN® round trips, a Denkmalpfad ZOLLVEREIN® tour guide imparts interesting information on the history and architecture of the facilities. During the bus trip the participants get to know all important buildings of Shaft XII, Shaft 1/2/8 and the Zollverein Coking Plant.
On the occasion of the final coal phase-out at the end of 2018, a special guided tour at the coal mine and a short tour of the coking plant including the special exhibition “The Age of Coal” are on offer.
Denkmalpfad ZOLLVEREIN® offers more than 30 different guided tour formats in up to eight languages for all age groups. The duration and the thematic priority of the guided tours are individually adaptable. The basic price for the two-hour tours starts from 120 €, the group price for ZOLLVEREIN® round trips starts from 195 € (extra charge for foreign languages and tours starting after 7:00 p.m.).
Detailed information: www.denkmalpfad-zollverein.de (German only).
Information and booking:
Besucherdienst Denkmalpfad ZOLLVEREIN® (Visitor Service)
Hotline +49 201 2 4 6 8 10 (Mon–Sat 8 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun and holidays 10 a.m.–6 p.m.)
Ruhr Museum: The regional museum of the Ruhr area
Fascination of the Ruhr Metropolis: featuring more than 6,000 exhibits, the Ruhr Museum in the former Coal Washery present the exciting natural and cultural history of the Ruhr region. On three spectacular levels, the permanent exhibition illustrates the present of the Ruhr Metropolis, the pre-industrial memory as well as the dramatic history of industrialisation and structural change in the Ruhr area.
The year 2018 will be characterised by the final phase-out of German coal mining. From 22 January to 2 September 2018, the Ruhr Museum presents the special exhibition “Josef Stoffels. Coal Mines – Photographs from the Ruhr Area” and from 27 April to 11 November 2018, together with the German Mining Museum in Bochum, the large public exhibition “The Age of Coal. A European History” in the Mixing Plant at the Zollverein Coking Plant. A varied supporting programme accompanies the themed year.
Further information: www.ruhrmuseum.de.
Opening hours Ruhr Museum: daily 10 a.m.–6 p.m. / closed on 24., 25. and 31.12.
Guided tours: duration 90 min. / 70 € plus admission fee (guided tours in foreign languages 80 € plus admission fee), school and student groups 50 € with free admission / max. 20 participants
Admission fee: permanent exhibition Ruhr Museum + Portal of Industrial Heritage 8 €, reduced 5 €, groups 6 € / special conditions for temporary exhibitions
Information and booking:
Besucherdienst Ruhr Museum (Visitor Service)
Fon +49 201 24681-444 (Mon–Fri 9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
Art, culture, leisure, gastronomy
The magic of change: Where the noise of machines once dictated the rhythm, art and culture now set the tone. When during the “ExtraSchicht”, the Night of Industrial Culture, the whole Ruhr area shines and hundreds of thousands turn night into day once a year, the Zollverein World Heritage Site is always right in the middle of music, dance, theatre, guided tours, and light installations. Twice a year, the art fair contemporary art ruhr (C.A.R.) gives new impetus to the artistic landscape, and the international cultural festival Ruhrtriennale brings spectacular cultural experiences as well as inspiring premieres to the World Heritage Site every summer. On a guided tour of the Red Dot Design Museum, visitors discover excellent design and visionary ideas.
Special seasonal offers are the works swimming pool in summer and the ZOLLVEREIN® ice rink (8 December 2018 to 6 January 2019) in the cold time of the year. Every winter, a water basin at the coking plant is turned into the 150-metre long ice rink – according to the Marco Polo travel magazine “the most fascinating ice-skating location in Germany“. In the 2017/2018 season, 22,000 visitors took advantage of the fascinating outdoor winter special. The additional ice-covered surface set up for curling was almost booked out before its opening.
Industrial culture meets wild nature: The Zollverein World Heritage Site can be perfectly explored and enjoyed outdoors, e.g. when strolling through the densely overgrown Zollverein Park. Several organisers provide guided cycle tours at and around the 100-hectare grounds.
Whether visitors take a bite of typical dishes like a curried sausage or feel an appetite for the sublime pleasures of the New World Cuisine – there is the right gastronomic treat for every taste. In spring and summer, gourmet miles and food festivals at the track boulevard attract guests with exquisite delights from the region and from all over the world.
An overview of the offers is available at: www.zollverein.de/service/english-page.
Development of the number of visitors
As the first and so far only World Heritage Site in the Ruhr area, the industrial monument of Zollverein is with about 1.5 million visitors every year (2011–2017) the second most visited culture-historical sight in North Rhine-Westphalia after the Cologne Cathedral.
61% of visitors arrive from outside the Ruhr metropolis, making the Zollverein World Heritage Site a premium destination of the region. Since the first guided tours were offered in the early 1990s, the number of people visiting the Denkmalpfad ZOLLVEREIN® has increased almost forty-fold. The share of international visitors is continuously growing, too. For 62% of all international guests, the UNESCO title plays a crucial role when making the decision to visit Zollverein.
RUHR.VISITORCENTER Essen and Portal of Industrial Heritage
First contact point for all visitors to the Zollverein World Heritage Site and starting point of many guided tours is the RUHR.VISITORCENTER Essen in the former Coal Washery. In the central visitor centre, visitors can get admission and guided tour tickets and obtain comprehensive information on the World Heritage Site as well as the entire Ruhr area.
The “Portal der Industrial Heritage” presents the industrial-cultural panorama of the Ruhr area and North Rhine-Westphalia. Multimedia presentations and innovative information points portray 18 anchor points of the Route of Industrial Heritage: former heavy industry locations, which are now, among other things, used as museums, event halls or commercial and office properties. The panorama film RUHR 360° is a moving introduction to the Ruhr area. A viewing platform on the rooftop of the Coal Washery affords an all-round panorama.
Local agencies and providers like the “Bürger- und Verkehrsverein im Stadtbezirk VI – Zollverein” (BVV) offer package deals for groups and compile individual programmes for a visit to the World Heritage Site.
Impressive event location
The UNESCO World Heritage Site Zollverein provides impressive interiors for exceptional events. The building ensemble of the disused coal mine and coking plant with a total event area 14,000 square metres provides appropriate locations for all types of events. On the 100-hectare area, more than 40 rooms and buildings, ranging from small studio equipped with conference technology to large trade fair and exhibition hall, are available. The broad spectrum of all providers impresses with flexible solutions for very different events such as congresses, meetings, company events, product presentations or private celebrations. Since the beginning of 2017, the newly opened Grand Hall ZOLLVEREIN® in the former Extraction and Compression Hall at the Coking Plant complements the available offer. The ultramodern special event location provides a 4,000-square metre event area with a capacity of up to 2,500 people. The Zollverein World Heritage Site repeatedly won the Conga Award as “Best Event Location in Germany“. The SANAA Building and the “Oktogon“ won the coveted Location Award as best event location in 2014, while the Grand Hall ZOLLVEREIN® came second in the 2016 Location Award.
Further information is available at: www.zollverein.de/service/english-page