Ansicht auf die Zeche, © M. Holtappels-LWL

Zollern Col­li­ery in Dortmund

Take a look be­hind the façade of this palace of work

Take a look be­hind the façade of this mag­ni­fi­cent build­ing: the palace of the work was once a coal mine where gruelling work was done. The LWL Mu­seum tells ex­cit­ing stor­ies about life at that time.

Had things gone ac­cord­ing to plan in the 1960s when the Zollern Col­li­ery had just been shut down, a mo­tor­way would now cut through the site of this ex­traordin­ary in­dus­tri­al monu­ment, en­sur­ing its de­mise. For­tu­nately, at that time a num­ber of cit­izens ded­ic­ated to the pre­ser­va­tion of this aes­thet­ic steel and glass build­ing came to­geth­er, thus mark­ing the be­gin­ning the care and pre­ser­va­tion of the Ruhr Area?s in­dus­tri­al monu­ments.

And the Zollern Col­li­ery was cer­tainly worth the ef­fort: one would hardly guess that be­hind the mag­ni­fi­cent brick façades and Art Nou­veau gate lay a col­li­ery. This was part of the build­ing concept for the col­li­ery in west Dortmund, which was de­signed to be a showpiece. However, the ?Schloss der Arbeit? (?Palace of Work?) only re­sembles an ar­is­to­crat­ic man­sion from the out­side. Coal was mined be­hind these im­press­ive gates from 1898 on­wards.

Nev­er­the­less, the ex­hib­i­tions, which are loc­ated in what is now the LWL Mu­seum on the site of the former col­li­ery, are de­voted not only to the splend­our and rep­res­ent­a­tion­al cul­ture of the coal mines, but also above all in­form vis­it­ors about the work pro­cesses that went on be­hind the beau­ti­ful façade. In the vari­ous ex­hib­i­tion spaces, such as the lamp room or pit­head baths, vis­it­ors learn a great deal about the former work­ing con­di­tions, which the mu­seum vividly il­lus­trates by telling the life stor­ies of vari­ous men and wo­men. The mu­seum does not fab­ric­ate any sense of ro­mance about in­dus­tri­al her­it­age, but real­ist­ic­ally ex­plains how hard life could truly be for mine work­ers and their fam­il­ies at that time, as well as the dangers res­ult­ing from their work.

Zollern Col­li­ery Mu­seum con­siders it­self a mu­seum of the so­cial and cul­tur­al his­tory of Ruhr min­ing and puts on spe­cial ex­hib­i­tions on a reg­u­lar basis. It is part of the European Route of In­dus­tri­al Her­it­age and should there­fore count amongst the most im­port­ant places of in­terest for in­dus­tri­al her­it­age for his­tory buffs. The Zollern Col­li­ery has much to of­fer chil­dren as well: ap­pren­tice miner Franz leads young­er guests on a child-friendly cir­cuit through the mu­seum. In the un­der­ground activ­ity room chil­dren can ex­per­i­ence life in the mines with all their senses, whilst the out­door area provides an ideal play­ground for little ones to climb and slide down the play tower.


Open­ing hours:

Tues­day - Sunday and pub­lic hol­i­days: 10 am - 6 pm

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Images and videos

Be inspired: images of your NRW

Sicht auf die Zeche Zollern, © Dirk Walther
Ansicht auf die Zeche, © M. Holtappels-LWL
Luftaufnahme, © S. Cintio-LWL
Das prunkvolle Jugendstilportal der Maschinenhalle auf Zeche Zollern in Dortmund, © M. Holtappels-LWL

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