In 1986, the last Zollverein coal miners were lowered down into the mine. The biggest industrial mining complex in the world closed its doors in 1994. Since then, culture has replaced coal. In 2001 it joined the ranks of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (for shafts 1/2, shaft 12, and the coking plant). For 2010, the site was designated as a European Capital of Culture.
Stroll the 100 hectares amid the halls of machinery, dumpsites, fireplaces, coke ovens… The place evokes the heyday of black gold: in 1937, 3.6 million tonnes were produced and 6,900 people employed. Admire the Bauhaus style of architecture (especially shaft 12) intermingled with works by leading contemporary architects, including Rem Koolhaas and SANAA. There are several museums, including the Red Dot Design Museum, which exhibits nearly 2,000 contemporary design objects.
You can attend a concert or a dance, or treat yourself in one of the restaurants. At just over an hour from Cologne, near Essen, the Zollverein is definitely worth a detour.
Tel : +49 (0)201 246 810