Schieferbergwerk Grube Christine

Useful Information

Location: Schwalefelder Str. 28, 34508 Willingen
(51.298867, 8.612383)
Open: APR to OCT Wed-Sat 10:30, 11:30, 14:30, 15:30, Sun 10:30 and 11:30.
NOV to MAR Wed-Sun 10:30.
Fee: Adults EUR 4.50, Children (7-12) EUR 3.50, Children (0-6) free.
Groups (20+): 10% discount.
Classification: MineSlate Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=8 °C
Guided tours:  
Address: Besucher-Bergwerk, Schwalefelder Str. 28, 34508 Willingen, Tel: +49-5632-69673. 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.


1857 Schieferbau AG founded.
1859 Concession granted by the princely government of Waldeck, slate quarries Maria I and Waldeck opened.
1863 Original four slate quarries united under the name "Christine".
1867 Schieferbau AG buys the Willingen pit fields.
1871 The Christine pit is opened with a research gallery.
1890 Surface mining closed.
1919 "Christine" pit opened.
30-APR-1971 Slate mine Christine shut down.
1994 Schwalefeld slate mine closed down.


Claystones or marls were formed at the bottom of the Middle Devonian Sea 350-400 million years ago. For this, the sea must have been deep; from about 400 m depth, limestone is completely dissolved and only clay minerals are deposited. During the Variscan mountain building around 290 million years ago, the Rhenish Slate Mountains were formed. The rocks were folded and the deeper ones metamorphosed by high pressure and temperature. One form of metamorphic rock is slate, in which recrystallisation causes the minerals to align in a plane.

Shale is compact and has no porosity, which makes it impermeable to water even in thin layers. Moreover, it can be split very well in one plane. It was therefore quarried early on and split into thin slabs to cover roofs. Near the surface, however, the slate is usually of inferior quality due to superficial weathering. Therefore, a considerable amount of rock has to be removed in open-cast mining or mined underground.


The show mine Grube Christine is located in the Iberg, a wooded hill not far from the centre of Willingen. This is where the roofing slate was mined which was used to cover numerous roofs of castles, palaces and churches in the region. Slate has been mined in Willingen for about 150 years; the two slate quarries Maria I and Waldeck have existed since 1859. As early as 1857, the Schieferbau-AG was founded, which then acquired the Willingen mining district ten years later. In 1871, it opened the Christine mine on the Iberg with an exploratory adit. The surface mines were closed in 1890.

The show mine offers an insight into a room and pilar mining from the 20th century. The extraction of the slate through the use of explosives in the pit, the transport of the slate blocks and their processing above ground are explained. The steep layered slate was quarried and processed into roof slates. This has always required a lot of manual labour, as the rock is split and hewn into slabs by hand. The slates have a very special trapezoidal shape with rounded corners and a hole with which the roof slate is nailed to the battens. The dangers of working in the mine are also explained. The most important are the dangers of falling rocks and the use of explosives. But silicosis or dust lung disease was also a typical danger for miners.

An exhibition shows fossils of the slate, as well as various objects made from slate and slate waste. And finally, you can buy the Stollen, which has matured in the mine for about four weeks. During Advent, there is a special tasting several times a week. Following a guided tour of the mine, stollen flambéed with whiskey is tasted.

Various other attractions have been added to the show mine. For example, it is possible to dive in the flooded levels on a 1.2 km guide line. On the dive you can see items of clothing, shoes, bottles, tools, pipes, rails and trolleys left behind by the miners. It is also possible to get married underground. A registrar in miner's clothing performs the ceremony. However, at the 8 °C in the mine, sturdy, warm shoes and warm clothing are a must. There is room for up to 25 spectators. In another part of the mine, relaxation and meditation are offered, which already borders on speleotherapy in the humid, dustless air. The relaxation exercises are helpful for insomnia, nervous restlessness, general malaise, pressure to perform and tension.