German Mining Museum in Bochum
The biggest mining museum in the world impressively demonstrates that no other industry is as closely associated with the Ruhr District as mining. Visitors can experience up close what it was like to be a miner underground. The show pit, four exhibition tours and a large winding tower can be viewed.
This is how it must have been when miners like Heinrich or Alfred fought their way through the longwall a thousand metres below ground. The sense of confinement in the dark shaft between the seams, the layers of earth and the rocks can already be felt at a depth of 20 metres. Along the way, visitors pass rail lines, pit lanterns and the never-ending conveyors. Labyrinthine passageways branch off to the left and right leading to new tunnels. Mighty heading machines and drill rigs are on display and visitors can discover historical pneumatic hammer and tunnel milling machines there.
The approximately two and a half kilometre long show pit allows the working conditions of miners in the past to be experienced in an impressive manner. It is one of the attractions of the Bochum institution, which is also a research institute for mining archaeology and archaeometry as well as a documentation centre and archive in the field of mining history.
Those interested in mining will find more than 3,000 important exhibits in the approximately 12,000 square metres of exhibition space aboveground, which demonstrate the development of the industry. Various finds, industry products and art objects have been on display since 2019 – after the permanent exhibition was redesigned – along the four tours, namely “Coal”, “Mining”, “Mineral Resources” and “Art”.
The absolute highpoints of the show are the heavy remains of a lepidodendron trunk with its branching roots, which came from the coal layers of Piesberg near Osnabrück, as well as former shaft hoisting machines and briquette presses.
The extension to the building, known as the “Black Diamond” because of its architecture, offers enough space for changing exhibitions and special formats. Visitors who would like to go up into the heights rather than deep underground can also reach the symbol of the museum by lift. The green winding tower, which originally came from the the former Germania colliery in Dortmund, provides a view of Bochum and the Ruhr District. Two viewing platforms at 50 and 62 metres respectively invite you to linger for a while.