UNESCO World Heritage Site Zollverein
From industrial site to UNESCO World Heritage Site
Previously the site of toils, today Zollverein offers industrial culture at its best: art, concerts, festivals and sporting opportunities set against an impressive backdrop.
The Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex was awarded the designation of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001, and is one of the most impressive industrial monuments on the planet. Since the final working shift in 1986, Zollverein has been transformed into a prime site for the art, culture and creative sectors, attracting more than two million visitors a year. This building symbolises the structural change in the Ruhr metropolis like no other.
During its active industrial period, the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex was the largest coal mine in the world, with the largest coking plant in Europe. Along with its sheer size, the architecture of the Zollverein complex is simply magnificent – it’s not for nothing that the Zollverein is also called the most beautiful coal mine in the world. The celebrated twin-trestle winding tower is the most famous emblem of the Ruhr district, and a symbol for the industrial heritage of an entire region.
The Denkmalpfad (Heritage Trail) offers a particularly good insight into the time when the Zollverein plants were still active. Former miners guide visitors through the mine’s pithead facilities and coking plant, leading them past huge machines standing idle and whisking them off to times of yore with true stories from the pit.
Museums, festivals and concerts
Visitors to the Ruhr Museum will learn even more about the region’s history and its present day. Design fans will love the Red Dot Design Museum, which is also located on the Zollverein site. Numerous studios, offices and restaurants have also found their home in the extensive grounds.
Especially in summer, the colliery site hosts numerous events such as concerts, open-air cinemas and even a gourmet festival. Other highlights include the Zechenfest (Coal Mine Festival) and the Contemporary Art Ruhr fair, as well as festivals like ExtraSchicht and the Ruhrtriennale, both of which use the Zollverein as a venue. For visitors interested in athletic adventures, an ice rink awaits in winter while the Werksschwimmbad swimming pool invites visitors to cool off – entry is free.
Open all year round
Zechenfest (Coal Mine Festival) always held on the last weekend of September