The NRW’s strong industrial heritage means that many of the remaining buildings are memorialized in someway. One of the biggest, in size and popularity, is the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex. It was founded in 1847 and closed operations in 1986. Instead of allowing it to decay, the government in the NRW declared it a heritage site. It was inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage in 2001 and is one of five sites on that list within the NRW.
It is also part of the European Route of Industrial Heritage. As part of that route, the Portal of Industrial Heritage includes anchor points showing the history and current status. There are footbridges leading guests through the property, with the result of seeing panoramic views of the region. Along with the Portal there are several memorials, exhibitions, and guided tours to teach visitors more about the importance coal mining and coking had in this region.
More than just an industrial site
Along with the industrial culture, the Zollverein is the iconic image of the Ruhrgebiet. That makes it the perfect location to house the Ruhr Museum. This museum examines the Ruhrgebiet’s history. There are guided tours available taking visitors from the beginning of time to today.
Keep in mind that the Zollverein is a large complex. While the industrial and local culture are a vital part of its story, it’s constantly reinventing ways to be even more relevant today. With so much space, the Zollverein has been able to have a little fun.
For example, The Red Dot Museum is the largest museum devoted to contemporary design in the world. La Primavera allows only one guest in at a time. It is a completely dark room except for the single light source of outside light shining through a narrow slit. At Ergahrungsfeld try one of the 80 fun experiments to test your senses.
This is only a sample of the permanent displays at the Zollverein.
In the summer, there’s a pool. In the winter, a skating rink. There are also art workshops, fairs, and festivals throughout the year. And there are several restaurants and cafes for when you get hungry.
Know before you go
Before heading to the Zollverein, check out their website for information about specific exhibits’ and museums’ opening times and prices.
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