Explore a complex described as the most beautiful coal mine in the world to find captivating museums and learn about Essen’s fascinating industrial heritage.
The Zollverein Coal Mine World Heritage Site (known as Zeche Zollverein in German) is an architecturally superb industrial complex dating back to the 1840s. With enormous structures and breathtaking Bauhaus elements, the complex has become a landmark site for European industrial heritage and today contains several exciting sites, museums and monuments. Explore the complex’s fascinating sites to learn about the natural and cultural heritage of the Ruhr region.
The coal mine ceased operation in 1986 and was quickly purchased by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia to be protected and preserved. Stroll around the complex grounds to find out why UNESCO deemed the site architecturally outstanding in 2001. Follow the coal mine’s story of boom and bust and discover enthralling examples of modern-era design as you check out the monumental coal-washing plant and boiler house.
One of the complex’s highlights is Shaft 12, an architectural masterpiece that was constructed in the 1920s. Admire the building’s beautiful Bauhaus design elements, which make it the perfect home for the Red Dot Design Museum. In this museum, find a range of exhibits that champion contemporary design from around the world.
Don’t miss the chance to be whisked up a long escalator when you visit the Ruhr Museum, housed within the Zollverein Coal Mine’s former coal-washing plant. The escalator runs along the diagonal shaft outside the structure and transports visitors to the top level of the fascinating regional museum. Check out industrial artifacts from the mine and surrounding Ruhr area, as well as displays on geology, archaeology and cultural heritage in this expansive museum.
Follow one of the city’s interesting walking trails that highlight the region’s landmarks, including structures within the Zeche Zollverein complex. These include the Zollverein Heritage Trail, the Industrial Heritage Trail and the Portal of Industrial Heritage.
The Zollverein Coal Mine World Heritage Site is situated 3 miles (5 kilometers) northeast of downtown Essen. Reach the area by tram, rail or car. Many of the complex’s sites are free to check out at any time from the outside; however, the museums have individual admission charges.