DE partner site Zeche Zollverein, Essen

UNESCO World Heritage Site of Modernism in the Ruhr Area

The Triennial of the Modernism wants to establish a network of German World Heritage Sites of the Modernism in the medium term -
From 2022, the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen will be a new associate partner: The colliery is a landmark of the Ruhr region, a monument to industrial culture and a symbol of the transformation of what was once the largest coal mine in the world into an attractive location for culture and leisure, education and business.

Zollverein Colliery in Essen, winding tower of Shaft XII, Photo: Jochen Tack

Architecture and offers

The UNESCO World Heritage Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex is one of the region's biggest tourist attractions today. It is not only a monument from the era of industrialisation, but also stands for future-oriented location development and a culture of remembrance that creates identity in the Ruhr region.

The Zollverein colliery and coking plant site covers around 100 hectares. Since the colliery was closed in 1986 and the coking plant in 1993, the facilities have been successively renovated and made fit for new uses. In addition to the monumental industrial architecture by Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer, it is above all the museum and cultural offerings that attract visitors from near and far. These include guided tours of the original surface installations of the Zollverein colliery and coking plant, the permanent exhibition and changing special exhibitions of the Ruhr Museum, the Red Dot Design Museum and cultural events such as ExtraSchicht or concerts. Leisure facilities and seasonal highlights - e.g. the Zollverein Park, the works swimming pool and the Zollverein ice rink - round off the offer.

Zollverein has also made a name for itself as an event location; the World Heritage Site has already received several awards as Germany's best event location. Around 50 rooms and buildings offer space for very different occasions such as congresses, conferences, company events, product presentations or private celebrations.
In addition, the Zollverein Foundation and its partners are continuously developing the World Heritage Site into an innovative business location. Museums and artistic studios use the former factory buildings, as do around 60 young companies in the creative and innovation industries.

The industrial monument

Between 1847 and 1986, a total of 240 million tonnes of coal were mined at the Zollverein colliery, and up to 8,000 miners were employed above and below ground in shift changes. The mine, with its largely automated work processes, was considered the largest and most efficient in the world. The last of the twelve shafts was put into operation in 1932 and was considered a technical and aesthetic masterpiece of the Modernism right from the start due to its functional, neo-Saxon design according to plans by Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer. The Zollverein coking plant to the west of shaft XII was built in the same style from 1957 to 1961.

The Zollverein colliery closed on 23 December 1986 as the last of a total of around 290 collieries in Essen, once the largest mining city in Europe. Shortly before its closure, the first parts of the XII shaft had already been placed under a preservation order. Three years later, the redevelopment of the site began as part of the International Building Exhibition (IBA) Emscher Park, a ten-year (1989-1999) future programme of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In 2001, in addition to Shaft XII, the coking plant and the foundation shaft 1/2/8 were designated industrial monuments, and in the same year UNESCO officially included the Zollverein Coal Mine and Coking Plant in its World Heritage List as the "Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex". The production facilities exemplify the social, economic, aesthetic and industrial history of the coal and steel age. 

The Zollverein Foundation 

The non-profit Zollverein Foundation was established in 1998 by the City of Essen and the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, with the Rhineland Regional Association as a co-founder. In addition to promoting culture and the preservation of historical monuments, the foundation's main task is to preserve and safeguard the existing buildings and facilities of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Zollverein Coal Mine and Coking Plant and to develop them for future use. 

Further information and programme offers:


Delia Boesch
Head of Communications and Marketing
Stiftung Zollverein
Tel : +49 (0)201-24681-120

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