These enormous mechanical monsters were used to excavate the lakes that they are nowadays parked next to. The Tagebau bagger (opencast mining) – machines measure up to 100 meters in length and weigh up to 2000 tons. After years of exploiting the surrounding territory they found their peace, functioning as colossal – yet silent – landmarks, commemorating the region’s mining past.
Although the valuable black gold had already been discovered in this region in the early 1800s, the first mine shaft was only built around 1905. It was approximately 500 meters deep and was first put to use in 1908. Only a few years later, on the eve of the first World War, a second shaft was put into operation. By the beginning of the second World War, the mine had expanded further and posessed its own power plant. Today, this once thriving zenith of power lies abandoned as it awaits a new destination.
The two remaining headstocks of Zeche Victoria: pit I and II. These two pits became active around the turn of the twentieth century. Named after the Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria von Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, this coal mine used to count seven pits in its heydays (around the 1960s). After the mine shut down, the buildings surrounding pit I and II were preserved – thus safeguarding their grand architecture – and today fulfill new functions.
Abandoned headstock of the immense coal mine Zeche Holland. The mine once boasted no less than six pits. The first pit opened in 1856 and closed approximately one century later, in 1963. The last active pit was closed in 1988. Except for this abandoned headstock, all other buildings have been torn down or redeveloped. The unique double Malakow tower of pit I & II was turned into housing whilst other machine rooms were reconverted into offices.
The Recklinghausen coal mine used to be a part of the Belgian ‘Societe Civile Belge des Charbonages d‘ Herne-Bochum’ – mining group. Construction works on the first shaft started in 1869. Both Recklinghausen shafts, I and II, suffered several mining accidents – seven in total – including a number of explosions that lead to the death of 57 miners. The Recklinghausen coal mine was officially closed in 1977. The factory halls have been reconverted and the modernist headstock above shaft II was preserved.