WISMUT Objekt 90

Useful Information

Location: Ronneburg, near Gera.
A4 exit Gera-Leumnitz or Ronneburg, follow B7 to the town. Brunnenstraße to the south, turn right into Weidaer Straße, at the end of the road. Signposted.
Open: All year Tue-Fri 13-17, Sta-Sun, Hol 11-17.
Closed 08-DEC-2011 to 19-MAR-2012 for renovation.
Fee: Free.
Classification: MineUranium Mine TopicSDAG Wismut
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: accesible, has lift and ramps
Address: Objekt 90 - WISMUT - Ausstellung, Weidaer Strasse 40, 07580 Ronneburg, Tel: +49-371-8120-150, Fax: +49-371-8120-247.
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.


2007 Museum opened for the Bundesgartenschau.



The museum WISMUT Objekt 90 is located on the grounds of the Bundesgartenschau 2007 (Federal Horticultural Show) in the southern part of the village Ronneburg. The area belonged to a former mine called Objekt 90 and just to the south was a huge open cast, which has been filled and reclaimed during right before. As the mine does not exist any more, there is no show mine at this location. The museum was created by the Wismut AG for the Bundesgartenschau and is located inside a former mine building.

The name Ronneburg is only of local fame, but the name Wismut is well known in Germany and even abroad. It has nothing to do with the metal Wismut (bismut), it was the Cold War code name for the East German uranium mining company. During some decades of the Cold War the area around Ronneburg was economically the strongest region of the country. For some time 11% of the world production on uranium came from here, and altogether 231.000 tons of uranium ore were mined. And of course all this uranium was intended for the nuclear power plants and the weapon production of the Warsaw Pact. It was part of the reparations for World War II paid by the GDR to the Soviet Union.

The miners at Ronneburg were privileged. They were at the top of the waiting list for cars and colour TVs. They had their own Baltic Sea holiday complex and their own centrally heated flats in Gera, the Wismut sponsored football teams, schools, and hospitals. But the inhuman aspects of the socialist regime were also abundant. The priority was that the East German people did not find out about the high cost of delivering uranium to Moscow. The advantages were designed to separate the miners from the normal society, the authorities did not want them to mix and talk with other workers. Each miner was allocated eight litres of Schnaps a month - nicknamed Kumpeltod (miner's death). It was drunk to blot out the memory of fellow miners who died by breathing in radioactive gases or in hushed-up accidents. At least 5,000, but perhaps as many as 17,000 miners, died as a result of radiation, many thousands became impotent. The children who played on the slag heaps, have been dying early. The death of many people was accepted by the government to keep up the uranium production.

There were numerous mining operations between Gera and Ronneburg, the underground mines at Schmirchau, Drosen, and Beerwalde, and the open cast mine at Lichtenberg and the slag heaps at Beerwalde. The two biggest slag heap near Beerwalde were pointed conuses which were locally known as Ronneburger Titten (Ronneburg Tits).

After the uranium mining was closed in 1990, a result of the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the GDR, the slag heaps and the settling basins were considered the most expensive and difficult waste landscape of the united Germany. The mines were closed and reclaimed. The material of the 48 slag heaps was filled into the abandoned mine tunnels. Then the mines were flooded. This plantation was started on 05-JUN-2004 and completed some years ago. The reclamation of the open casts was a project for the World EXPO in 2000. During this project the Neue Landschaft Ronneburg (New Landscape Ronneburg) was created, a belt of parks running from the center of Gera to the center of Ronneburg. This place was also the location of the Bundesgartenschau 2007 (Federal Horticultural Show).

The reclamation was very expensive, it cost several billion euros. But it was necessary to avoid mining related collapses and earthquakes, destruction of buildings, and radioactive seepage from the heaps. At the same time it provided work for the abruptly poor area.

The museum explains all those details with text plates, multimedia installations, and original exhibits. Among other things, an original bottle of uranium is on exhibition.