Zeche Zollverein

Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex

Useful Information

Zeche Zollverein, Germany. Public Domain.
Zeche Zollverein, Germany. Public Domain.
Zeche Zollverein, Germany. Public Domain.
Zeche Zollverein, Germany. Public Domain.
Location: Northeast of Essen city centre. Navi: Use "Fritz-Schupp-Allee" for the colliery and "Arendahls Wiese" for the coking plant. Tickets available at the Ruhr Visitor Centre in the coal washing plant.
Open: Surface: no restrictions.
Besucherzentrum Ruhr: all year daily 10-18.
Red Dot Design Museum: all year daily 11-18.
Ruhr Museum: all year daily 10-18.
Phänomania Erfahrungsfeld: all year Mon-Fri 9-18, Sat, Sun, Hol 10-18.
Fee: Surface: free.
Besucherzentrum Ruhr: free.
Red Dot Design Museum: Adults EUR 6, Children (12-16) EUR 4, Children (0-11) free.
On Fri pay what you want.
Ruhr Museum: Adults EUR 8, Children (0-17) free.
Groups (10+): Adults EUR 6.
Phänomania Erfahrungsfeld: Adults EUR 9, Children (6-17) EUR 7, Children (3-5) EUR 5, Children (0-2) free, Students EUR 8.
Classification: MineCoal Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: Zollverein-Führung: V=155,000/a [2019]
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: Surface: mostly, guided tours: no.
Address: Zeche Zollverein, Gelsenkirchener Str. 181, 45309 Essen, Tel: +49-201-246810. 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.


18-FEB-1847 first shaft sunk to reach the coal at 130 m below the surface.
1851 first coal produced.
1866 cokery and machine ovens on site for the production of coke opened.
1890 becomes the most productive of all German mines with an output of one Million tons.
16-DEC-1986 mine bought by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and declared a heritage site (Denkmalschutz).
23-DEC-1986 mine closed.
1990 beginning of restoration works.
30-JUN-1993 coking plant closed down.
20-JUN-2000 Gründerschachtanlage 1/2/8 and cokery declared a heritage site (Denkmalschutz).
14-DEC-2001 inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.



Zeche Zollverein, Germany. Public Domain.
Zeche Zollverein, Germany. Public Domain.

The Zeche Zollverein (Zollverein Colliery) is a huge former industrial complex, which started as a coal mine. With the end of the German coal mining since the 1980s coal mines were closed and this huge structure was abandoned. The site soon became quite popular, people wanted to protect it as a masterpiece of industrial architecture, often dubbed the German Eiffel Tower. It was protected, the buildings reused for cultural activities, and finally it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List on 14-DEC-2001.

The coal mine was founded by the industrialist Franz Haniel (1779–1868) from Duisburg. His name is found everywhere in the area, for example the last coal mine of Germany, Prosper-Haniel, was named after him. He founded a company he named bergrechtliche Gewerkschaft Zollverein (Mining Law Labor Union Zollverein). Bergrechtliche Gewerkschaft was the form of corporation required by law for the exploitation of natural resources. And Zollverein was the name of the German Customs Union, established in 1834, obviously a good thing for his trade. And as a result the mine was also called Zollverein.

The famous "skyline" of the mine is Schacht 12 (shaft no 12) which has a double headframe. On two sides were machines for driving the mine elevators, the steel cable was running up to the headframe, around a wheel and then down into the mine. Two elevators were fixed on the same rope, so one was going up, the other one down, and the cages were in equilibrium. Only the material in the cage had to be lifted.

The main buildings at Shaft 12 were erected between 1928 and 1932 in the architectural style Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity). Architects were Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer. The main principle was Form follows Function.

The surface buildings of the colliery and the cokery with guided tours are accessible and well preserved. However, there is no underground tour. Actually the mine is not accessible any more, because it filled with water after the pumps were turned off and strategic parts were filled in for security reasons. The other buildings were used for various institutions, including a tourist office, a museum, an art museum, restaurants, shops and a hotel.

The Ruhr Museum is dedicated to the history of the Ruhrgebiet, since the formation of the coal layers 300Ma ago. More than 6000 objects show daily life, industrialization, mining culture and decline after the end of the iron and coal age and the difficult recovery.