Besucherbergwerk Grube Christiane

Useful Information

Location: Bredelarer Strasse 30, 34519 Diemelsee-Adorf.
A44 exit Diemelstadt, B252 to Bad Arolsen, turn right to Adorf, in Adorf turn right towards Padberg.
(51.373987, 8.799694)
Open: Easter to MAY Wed, Sat 13-17, Sun, Hol 10-17.
JUN to AUG Mon, Wed, Sat 13-17, Sun, Hol 10-17.
SEP to OCT Wed, Sat 13-17, Sun, Hol 10-17.
Last tour 15:30.
Fee: Adults EUR 6, Children (4-15) EUR 5.
Groups (12+): Adults EUR 5, Children (4-15) EUR 3.50.
Classification: MineIron Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=8 °C.
Guided tours: D=90 min, L=1,200 m.
Bibliography: Ingo Löffler (2006): Die historischen Eisenerzlagerstätten im Raum Adorf sowie angrenzenden Regionen, Mineralienatlas Lexikon. online
Rolf Georg, Rainer Haus, Karsten Porezag (1986): Eisenerzbergbau in Hessen, Historische Fotodokumente mit Erläuterungen 1870-1983. Förderverein Besucher-Bergwerk Fortuna e.V., Wetzlar, 2. Auflage 1986, 480 Seiten. ISBN: 3925619011, ISBN-13: 9783925619014. Inhalt Deutsch - German
Heinz Bottke (1965): Die exhalativ-sedimentären devonischen Roteisensteinlagerstätten des Ostsauerlandes Geologisches Jahrbuch, Beihefte, Band 63, Hannover 1965, 147 S. ISBN 978-3-510-96786-5, brosch., price: 16 €. Deutsch - German
Address: Besucherbergwerk Grube Christiane, Bredelarer Strasse 30, 34519 Diemelsee-Adorf, Tel: +49-5633-5955. E-mail:
Tourist-Information Diemelsee, Kirchstraße 6, 34519 Diemelsee-Heringhausen, Tel: +49-5633-91133, Fax: +49-5633-91134. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


05-JAN-1273 first written mention of iron ore mining in Adorf.
1662 dispute between Cologne and Waldeck settled with a border treaty.
Thirty Years' War closure of the mine.
1658 Count Heinrich Wolrad von Waldeck recruits foreign miners to revive mining.
1835 an adit is excavated above the Rhenegger Mühle.
1853 the Martenberg and Semmet mines are merged.
1917 closure of the mine.
JUL-1936 Grube Christiane leased by Mannesmann.
1938 ore extraction resumes at Grube Christiane.
29-MAR-1945 mining stopped at the end of the Second World War.
Autumn 1945 mining resumed.
16-MAR-1963 end of mining at the Martenberg.
1984 development as a show mine.
17-MAY-1986 show mine opened to the public.
2015 museum redesigned and renamed Info-Center.


Around Adorf, high-quality red ironstone was found on the surface. The ores are covered by thick-banked limestones, the so-called Adorfer Kalk. These layers of the lower Upper Devonian are also called the Adorfer Stufe. It was first dated by the lead fossils in the limestone, fossilised shells, snails and arthropods (brachiopods) can be found. The area is very popular with fossil collectors. The red ironstone is beautifully exposed at the Martenberg cliff, one of the most important geotopes in Germany.

During the Middle and Upper Devonian, numerous submarine volcanoes formed in the Rhenoherzynikum area, a basin between today's Rhine and the Harz mountains, hence the name. So-called black smoker were formed, volcanism heated groundwater in the seabed, and it escaped into the sea at submarine thermal springs. The hot thermal water with many dissolved minerals cooled down, the minerals precipitated and formed the "black smoke", a black iron-rich mud that was deposited. This was then transformed into rock by diagenesis. The composition of the ores is strongly dependent on the relief of the seabed at that time. Carbonate iron ores were deposited in deeper areas of the sea, while siliceous hematite ores tended to be deposited on the flanks of the volcanoes. There was also a small amount of pyrite and magnetite. This type of deposits is called sedimentary-exhalative deposits (SEDEX).

The rocks here were not folded, but at some point they were rotated by 90°, so that the layers are saiger, the german miners term for vertical. This is also the reason why the iron ore is found at the surface. The ore layers were about 5 m to 8 m thick, and contained 20-60 % iron content, depending on the ore type.


The Grube Christiane (Christiane mine) was the largest iron ore mine in Hesse after the Second World War. The peak year was 1960, when 155,784 tonnes of ore were mined with an average iron content of 30.35 percent. The Adorf mining area included several other pits, for example Martenberg, Webbel, Eckefeld, Hubertus and Reinhard. So this show mine is an example of mid-20th century iron mining.

Iron ore mining in Adorf probably began as early as the times of the Celts. From the High Middle Ages onwards, there were conflicts over mining rights between the Bredelar monastery and the Counts of Waldeck and other noble families. It was in this context that the first documented reference was made in 1273, a document on iron ore mining in Adorf, which regulated the mining rights in the Esbeck area. The area was a borderland and the mines were repeatedly the subject of dispute. This finally ended in 1662 with a border treaty between Cologne and Waldeck.

Mining largely came to a standstill during the Thirty Years' War. From 1658 onwards, Count Heinrich Wolrad von Waldeck recruited miners from other regions to revive the mining industry, which was a success. In Adorf and the surrounding area, almost 240 mines were operated by the locals.

After that, mining was continuous until it ended at the end of the First World War. In the 18th century, extraction was increased, but with the industrial revolution in the 19th century, it grew considerably again. The ores were delivered to the Ruhr area and smelted there, companies from the Ruhr area acquired mining rights and invested in the mines. This was possible because transport was now possible by the Rhene-Diemel-Bahn railway to Bredelar and from there by the Prussian-Hessian state railway to the Ruhr area. But even before the First World War, mining in the region lost its importance. One mine after the other was closed, the last one being the Martenberg mine in 1917.

The resumption of mining was driven by the autarchy efforts and war preparations of the National Socialists. In 1936, several minefields were combined and reopened under the name of the Christiane mine. Today's entrance to the mine, the Martenberg shaft with its processing plant and colliery house, was built. From 1938, ore was mined again, initially only 20 to 40 tonnes of ore a day. One problem was that the Rhene-Diemel railway had no longer been profitable after the end of mining and operations was discontinued a few years later. So in the beginning the ore had to be brought to the state railway station in Bredelar by heavy goods vehicles of the Reichsbahn. But by 1939 the railway had been reactivated and the mine had its own railway connection.

The politically motivated mining ended at the end of the Second World War, but the demand for iron was high after the war and so mining was resumed in the same year. During the German Wirtschaftswunder, more iron was mined than ever before. The end came, as it did for many other mines in Europe, through international competition. Cheaper ores from the world market made mining unprofitable, and in 1963 it was finally stopped. But the dwindling ore reserves were certainly another reason.

The exhibition mine was set up by the Knappenverein Adorf (Adorf miners' association) on a voluntary basis. This association of former miners had been trying to preserve some machinery and make it accessible to the public since the 1970s. In addition to the underground mine tour, a museum was set up in the entrance building. The mining museum is located in the rooms of the former processing plant below the headframe. An extensive collection of rocks and minerals from the Adorf area can be found on an area of 120 m². In addition to the red ironstone, the accompanying minerals are also presented. Pictures, models, display boards and original exhibits explain the path of iron ore from mining to smelting in Duisburg-Huckingen. The museum was redesigned in 2015 and renamed the Info Centre. Multimedia and interactive "hands-on" stations seem to have been added. There is also the Bergmannstreff Zum Roteisenstein (miners' meeting place at the red stone), which can accommodate up to 60 people. It is a cosy guest room, but it is not a restaurant. Visitors can stay here and also eat the food they have brought with them.

On the guided tour through the Pferdestollen, the historical and modern mining techniques are presented, with tools and machines still in working order. Scenes from the working world are re-enacted with mannequins. The path is mostly level, but good footwear is advisable.

The region is now part of the GeoparkNationaler Geopark GrenzWelten. The GeoFoyer Adorf was opened in the village of Diemelsee. Another museum that provides information about the geological development of the region, volcanic processes at the bottom of the Devonian Sea, and the rocks and minerals that resulted from them. Although mining is a central topic, the focus here is more on the geotopes and the cultural history in the borderland between Waldeck and Westphalia. An excellent complement to a visit to the show caves before heading to the geotopes. The museum is open daily and free of charge.