Bergbaumuseum und Besucherbergwerk Grube Günnersdorf

Bergbaumuseum Mechernich

Useful Information

Location: Bleibergstraße 6, 53894 Mechernich.
Mechernich/Euskirchen A1 Köln-Trier, exit Mechernich/Bad Münstereifel, B477 towards Mechernich, turn left into Bleibergstraße.
(50.5863080, 6.6492221)
Open: All year Tue-Sat 14-16, Sun 11-16.
Fee: Adults EUR 7, Children (6-16) EUR 5, Children (0-5) not allowed, Family (2+1) EUR 17, additional Children EUR 4.
Groups (7+): Adults EUR 7, Children (6-16) EUR 5.
Classification: MineLead Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=9 °C
Guided tours: D=90 min.
Address: Bergbaumuseum und Besucherbergwerk Grube Günnersdorf, Bleibergstraße 6, 53894 Mechernich, Tel: +49-2443-48697, Cell: +49-151-42237954. E-mail: contact
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.


~0 earliest mining.
1394 first written mention.
15th century mining intensified.
1578 first Bergordnung (mining law).
~1600 mining ends.
1629 mining revived by the investment of three merchants.
1860-1910 heydays of the mining.
1928 mine subsidized because of the Great Depression.
01-JAN-1937 taken over by the Preussag.
1939 closed because of World War II.
1947 renovation started.
1953 beginning of production.
31-DEC-1957 Grube Günnersdorf closed.
17-MAR-1992 Förderverein Bergbaumuseum Mechernich e.V. (Friends of the Mechernich Mining Museum Association) founded by councillors of the town council of Mechernich and other people interested in mining.
MAY-1995 show mine opened to the public.


The Mechernicher Bleiberg (lead mountain of Mechernich) is located at the northern rim of the Eifel, between the cities Mechernich in the northeast and Kall in the southwest. The deposit has a size of 11 km long, 1-2 km wide and about 30 m thick. Despite the low amount of metal in the raw ore below 2 %, this equals about 100 Million tons of lead. This is about 5% of the world supply and makes this deposit the most important lead deposit of Germany. Nevertheless, the price of lead on the world market is far too low to make mining profitable.

The deposit is a so-called epigenetic, secondary hydrothermal ore deposit. This means the ores originate from Devonian quartz dykes below the sandstones, which were formed by hydrothermal processes. By the regional volcanism, the energy was provided to create convection cells and transport the ore once again. But this time the ore was deposited in the main Buntsandstein, a thick layer of porous sandstone from the lower Triassic. The ores were redeposited various times, which changed their chemistry, sulfides were oxidized and oxides were reduced. This rock has almost 40% of pores, so the lead ore was deposited in those pores and is now dispersed in the rock.

This form of ores is called Knotten (nodules), and the rock is called Knottensandstein. The nodules are between 1mm and 5mm in diameter, consisting of galena (PbS). They are often a combination of galena crystals with cerussite (PbCO3) crystals and some quartz grains from the sandstone.


The Bergbaumuseum und Besucherbergwerk Grube Günnersdorf is dedicated to the 2000 years of lead mining on the Mechernicher Bleiberg (Mechernich lead mountain). The mining museum informs about the lead mining the Mechernich and in the area. The mining has a long history beginning with Celts and Romans. The local geology is explained, the mining and ore processing techniques during the different mining eras are explained. The local Knottensandstein was a strange kind of ore, which required special techniques to process and refine the ore, which are a local specialty. The mining started open cast, but soon went underground.

There are theories the Celts started the mining in the area, after Celtic coins have been found in a shaft. But the remains from this time are sparse. Some more was found from Roman times, including the fragments of mining tools like troughs, lamps of pottery and lead, pipes made of clay, and the remains of canals with wooden walls.

Intensive mining started in the 15th century, with the invention called Beutelkorb. It was a simple but effective way to process the ore. It is actually simply a sieve, which works with the fact that the ore nodules have a bigger diameter than the grains of the sandstone. So they are held by the sieve of thin brass wire or withe. The sieve was held by a sturdy wooden frame, 30 cm x 45 cm in size, with a wooden handle. This simple tool was used until the second half of the 19th century. The mining was done with a hammer and a special chisel which was 8 cm wide and 25 cm long. The mined rock was crushed underground and sieved, then only the nodules were transported to the surface. The mine operator was a so-called Eigenlöhner (self-employment) who mined his tiny claim and paid taxes (the tenth) on his findings. At first the mining was completely unregulated except for the tax, later a Bergordnung (mining law) was made.

This mining era ended at the end of the 16th century. The mines had reached a certain depth which resulted in an increase of groundwater inside the mines. An adit, to transport the water out of the mine would have been necessary, but the self-employed miners did not have the necessary money. In 1629 the mining was revived by three merchants, Dietmar Rath, Bartholomäus Brüggen and Johann Meinertzhagen. They acquired the mining permission and started to build an adit in 1630. They soon reached the ores and the adit finally had a length of 1,750 m in 1650. Subsequently, several other adits were built.

Mechernich reached its heyday between 1860 and 1910, flourishing thanks to the mining industry. Each miner extracted a good 10 tonnes per shift and almost 4,500 people worked in mining. The Günnersdorf field had several mines, including an open-cast mine in the Peterheide area. This was in operation from 1853 to around 1880, and then again from 1900 to 1931. In the 1920s, metal ore mining was generally in a difficult situation due to the global economic crisis. The Günnersdorf mine was subsidized by the state from 1928 and 1937 taken over by Preussag. Preussag invested in infrastructure, but this ended with the beginning of World War II. It was also mined during the war, but lead was probably not quite as important to the war effort as other raw materials. In 1945, there was finally a power failure, which caused the pumps to come to a standstill and the mine to flood.

After the Second World War, there was a lack of raw materials and attempts were made to reopen the mine. However, as the main mine was flooded, it had to be extensively reopened between 1947 and 1953. Mining got going again. But by 1957, the price of lead on the world market had fallen so sharply that mining was no longer worthwhile and was finally discontinued.

The Mining Museum Mechernich is a municipal museum in the buildings of the Günnersdorf mine on the outskirts of Mechernich. Today's show mine had already been closed for 55 years when it was put back into operation in 1938 due to the autocratic endeavours of the Third Reich. However, it was shut down again at the beginning of 1943 due to insufficient yield. The mine was then utilized as an air raid shelter for the Mechernich population by driving a new access tunnel from Heerstraße. In 1944, further parts of the mine were converted into a hospital bunker with a pharmacy, operating theatre, kitchen and sick bay. After the end of the war, the buildings of the Günnersdorf mine were used by the forestry administration. From 1953, flotation sludge was flushed into the mine, which meant that the mine could no longer be operated. At the same time, the Mechernicher Werke (G.M.W.) trade union continued to mine in the Günnersdorf field, and lead mining was only finally discontinued in 1957.

The museum offers a variety of exhibits from the mining industry, lighting tools and machines. There are also many objects from the daily lives of miners and their families on display. However, the most spectacular pieces are probably the many models depicting the mining and excavation equipment. In 2017, 60 years after the final closure of the plant, a very detailed model showing the surface facilities was presented to the public. The Mechernich Bleiberg model has a scale of 1:100 and shows the operating facilities of the Mechernich plant at the time of closure on 31-DEC-1957. On the days when the museum is open, there is a guided tour at 2 p.m. and a second tour on Sundays at 11 a.m. The underground tour of the show mine is included in the admission price for the museum. Warm clothing and sturdy shoes are recommended for a visit to the show mine. Helmets are provided.