After its commissioning in 1932, the Zeche Zollverein, which was influenced by the Bauhaus style, was the largest and most modern hard coal mining system in the world. After half a century, it was shut down in 1986 and then extensively renovated. Today the coking plant and shaft XII form a unique industrial complex with a cultural and economic center.
Zeche Zollverein in Essen: facts
|Official title:||Industrial complex Zeche Zollverein in Essen|
|Cultural monument:||“Zeche Zollverein” industrial complex with mine 12; Architecture influenced by the Bauhaus style for decades is a prime example of modern industrial construction|
|Meaning:||Representative example of the development of heavy industry in Europe|
Zeche Zollverein in Essen: history
|1847||Construction of the first Zollverein shaft|
|1851||Start of promotion with 256 employees|
|1881-89||Expansion of the shaft systems|
|1920||Zollverein as a smelter in the steel group Phönix AG|
|1926||Merger of Zollverein Phönix, Thyssen, Rheinelbe-Union and Rheinische Stahlwerke to form the United Steelworks AG|
|1928||Construction of the daytime facilities at shaft 12|
|1.2.1932||Start of production from shaft 12|
|1935||Zollverein with 6,057 employees|
|1986||Closure of the colliery, the mine is a listed building|
|1989||Establishment of the Zeche Zollverein construction works, shaft 12, which plans and carries out the renovation of the facility|
|1993||Closure of the Zollverein coking plant|
|1998||Establishment of the Zollverein Foundation for the preservation of the industrial monument|
|2006/2007||Opening of the new RuhrMuseum in the coal washing plant|
Imposing industrial monument and lively cultural center
Coal, Krupp and steel – these three central terms were inseparably linked with the city of Essen 50 years ago. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Ruhr metropolis was one of the most important industrial locations in Germany according to ethnicityology. Mining, especially coal mining, made a significant contribution to this development. With the Zeche Zollverein, Essen even had the largest, most modern and most efficient hard coal mining system in the world. The development of German heavy industry can be seen in an impressive and exemplary manner. Today Essen is best known as a service and administrative center – and as a cultural center and European capital of culture in 2010. The Zeche Zollverein, today an art and culture center itself, makes an important contribution to this.
The main building of the Zeche Zollverein with coking plant and the systems shaft XII and shaft 1/2/8 is located in the northeast of the Ruhr area city in the districts of Stoppenberg, Katernberg and Schonnebeck. Production began in 1851. In the following decades the production volume grew considerably and by 1914 an overall complex with four independent shaft systems and a total of ten shafts was created. In order to be able to pool and thus optimize the extraction and processing of all Zollverein coal and to be able to increase the capacity many times over, the new central shaft system XII was planned at the end of the 1920s. It was built in 1932 by the architects Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer, who based their designs on the Bauhaus style. In doing so, they gave the industrial complex an architecture “Which has been exemplary for modern industrial construction for decades,” said UNESCO in 2001 when the colliery was added to the list of world cultural heritage. Schupp and Kremmer wanted to create a “cathedral of work” with this model plant, and in fact hard coal was mined here for over 50 years until the Zollverein colliery was finally shut down in 1986 as the last mine in Essen. In 1993, the neighboring Zollverein coking plant, built in the same functional and functional architectural style, was closed, in which coke and raw gas had been produced from coal since 1961. It is also part of the Zollverein UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The story of what was once the “most beautiful colliery in the world” was far from over. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia bought the mine, placed it under monument protection and began to renovate it fundamentally. “Preservation through conversion” was the motto, and so the entire industrial complex was given new uses. The Ruhr Museum is housed in the former coal washing plant. As the “Portal of the Ruhr Area”, it would like to bring the entire natural and cultural history of this area closer and provide clear and comprehensive information about the working and living conditions in the Ruhr area in the 19th and 20th centuries. On the ZOLLVEREIN® monument trail, visitors can trace the development of heavy industry and the extraction and processing of “black gold”, visit the buildings of the former coal washing and screening plant, admire the gigantic machine park and even climb the blast furnaces of the industrial complex. Models and films also illustrate the hard but valuable work that was once done every day in the Zeche Zollverein.
Even beyond the history of hard coal mining, the Zeche Zollverein has a lot to offer. Today the former mine is not only the most famous industrial monument in the Ruhr area, but also a center of the cultural and creative industries in design and architecture. It impresses with a diverse range of art and leisure activities that hundreds of thousands of visitors use every year. The Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas developed a comprehensive plan in 2001/02 to integrate the Zeche Zollverein into the public life of the city of Essen. The North Rhine-Westphalia Red Dot Design Museum is now located in the boiler house, which was converted by Norman Foster. Everyday objects that have been awarded the “red dot for high design quality” are shown there. The first coking plant, on the other hand, has dedicated itself to contemporary art: If you enter the former salt warehouse, you come across “The Palace of Projects”, a large, walk-in, snail-shaped installation by the artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov. Seeing art and creating it yourself in courses and workshops under supervision is possible in the ARKA culture workshop. In the phenomania experience field in the listed hoisting machine building of the Zollverein colliery, shaft 3/7/10, you can learn a lot about sensory perception in self-experiments at over 80 test stations. In addition, concerts and paddling fun in the “factory swimming pool” on the coking plant, along with other cultural offers, enliven the former colliery area and other attractions.