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Zollverein Coalminde Industrial Complex in Essen

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    Since December 2001, the Zollverein Coalmine Industrial Complex in Essen is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site (World Heritage Convention (WHC), 2014). The coalmine officially started to run in 1851. Almost one hundred years later, a coking plant was added, which led to the fact that the Zollverein Coalmine became the biggest and most modern coking plant in the entire world (Zollverein, 2014). According to the World Heritage Committee, the Zollverein Coalmine is “a representative example of the development of traditional heavy industries in Europe” (WHC, 2014). On December 23rd 1986 was the last shift of the coalmine Zollverein and in in June 1993, the mine was shutdown for good (Zollverein, 2014).

    By today the entire complex offers great insight into Germany’s, especially the Ruhrgebiets, mining history. Next to this, a focus is set on how industrial architecture developed (WHC, 2014).  Especially the great Bauhaus architecture of the entire complex, which provided a modern influence on the construction, was valued. It is an unique industrial monument due to the fact that its outstanding buildings are examples of Modern Movement in architecture (WHC, 2014).  This includes the entire infrastructure of the coal-mining site.

    After the mine was shutdown, a plan was made how to use the complex by reusing it in a different way (Zollverein, 2014). Even though coalmines surround the entire area, Zollverein was by far the biggest and most famous one. Therefore, it was decided to keep this one while most of the others were demolished. From the beginning on, it was planned to use the mine for cultural purposes. However, parts of it, were supposed to be sold to Chinese companies, which wanted to use the mine constructions in China. This did not happen, which remained in the fact, that the entire complex was renovated and reconstructed. Later on, parts were rented out to artists, who used the big halls for exhibitions (Zollverein, 2014).

    Today, the mine and its complex are used for many purposes. Besides shops and restaurant, the mine hosts different exhibitions and all kind of concerts. Next to this, the guarantors also establish seasonal events, such as a swimming pool in summer or an ice-skating rink in winter (Zollverein, 2014).



    Heldt Cassel, S., Pashkevich, A. (2013) World heritage and Tourism Innovation: Institutional Frameworks and Local Adaptation. European Planning Studies. (Online) Available from: [Accessed 14/11/15].

    Rüther, A. (2014) Personal experiences during visits and work at the Zeche Zollverein Essen. Contact info:

    Stiftung Zollverein (2014). (Online) Available from: {Accessed 14.11.11}.

    World Heritage Convention (2014) Zeche Zollverein. (Online) Available from:{Accessed 14.11.11}.

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    Hej! I just wanted to know if you think UNESCO may have a problem with the place not really being able to take care of its original heritage, why it was appearing on the list the reason for it, was the industrial past, most of the events have nothing to do with any of the information that may connect us to the past of the area or? You have presented us with rather uncritical picture, it would be interesting to know your opinion, does this place has a future? Best regards, Albina
    Posted 22:37, 21 Nov 2014
    Thanks for your comment Albina!
    I think UNESCO is not completely satisfied with the fact, that the entire place is reused for a different purpose. From my point of view, it is one of the best things, they could have done as this is a great opportunity for the city of Essen and the entire "Ruhrgebiet" as the area gets more and more attention and not only places like Berlin or Hamburg.
    Posted 17:21, 6 Dec 2014
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