Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex
Gelsenkirchener Str. 181, 45309 Essen, Germany
Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial ComplexOnce the largest coal mine in the world, with the largest coking plant in Europe, the Zollverein is now a 247-acre complex dedicated to the creative industries, with everything from a design museum and performing arts center to a science hub and regular concerts. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001, it still features the old mine infrastructure designed by Bauhaus architects Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer—from pits and coking plants to railway lines and former miners’ housing—and functions as part of the official Industrial Trail, drawing 1.5 million visitors a year. Former miners offer guided tours through the pithead facilities and coking plant, and guests can explore highlights like the Red Dot Design Museum, attend underground dance parties, or catch movies in the open-air cinema. There’s also an ice-skating rink in winter, a swimming pool in summer, and annual festivals like the Zechenfest (Coal Mine Festival) and Contemporary Art Ruhr fair.