Deutsches Bergbau-Museum / German Mining Museum

Tour Am Bergbaumuseum 28, 44791 Bochum, DE

The museum was founded in 1930 and researches, teaches, preserves the history of mining, processing and use of geo-resources across all of the relevant time periods. It’s research areas include mining history, material science and mining archeology.

Author: Mina P

15 Stations

1/ Let's go mining!

Am Bergbaumuseum 28, 44791 Bochum, DE

There are three tours you are going to do in the permanent exhibition: Hard Coal, Mining and Mineral Resources. The visitor’s mine and the pit descent simulator also provide a glimpse into the diverse facets of underground mining activity at the Bergbau-Museum. In front of you, you can see the museum's entrance. If you look up, you are able to see the big winding tower of the former colliery "Germania".

At the beginning you also get a quiz with 14 questions which you can complete during your tour.

2/ A deep view under the ground

Am Bergbaumuseum 28, 44791 Bochum, DE

Stretching over 1.2 km, the underground network of the Visitor's Mine passageways gives you an insight into everyday life underground and about historical technical developments in (coal) mining.

3/ Have a look at the Ruhr area from 71m above the ground

Am Bergbaumuseum 28, 44791 Bochum, DE

The winding tower of the erstwhile Germania colliery – the museums largest exhibit – is a platform afford-ing far-ranging views across the Ruhr area, and a region shaped by colliery imprinted landscape.


4/ Hard Coal. The motor of Industrialisation (Green Tour):

Am Bergbaumuseum 28, 44791 Bochum, DE

In 2018 the closure of the last mines in Bottrop and Ibbenbüren brought down the curtain on the active mining industry in Germany, and with that one of the most important chapters in German economic history. No other sector of industry formed entire regions on this scale. It established stability and an identity within the mining districts, and it shaped the living environment and the mentality of the people living there.
This tour aims to emphasise the special importance of this industry, and to create a memorial for hard coal in the museum.
The tour starts off by taking you back to the Carboniferous Period, greeting you with a 306-million-year old rootstock and the pictorial representation of a typical forest of this time. The tour focuses on two aspects; first there is the genesis of hard coal and second, hard coal as an actual material that forms the basis of countless production chains. Following a skip into Early Modern Era, this hall ends with initial industrial use of German hard coal in the production of salt in the 18th century.
Then comes the main section of the tour, with its thematic sequence proceeding from the burgeoning industrialization of the first half of the 19th century up to the present day. The central theme here is the regional-defining power of hard coal mining, which caused the evolution of the Ruhr Metropolitan Region and continues to mark it permanently. The spotlights are turned on the mining areas around Ibbenbüren and in the Saarland, in which the “black gold” was mined under the umbrella of Ruhrkohle AG until 2018.

5/ Explore the economy, politics and the world of the miner

Am Bergbaumuseum 28, 44791 Bochum, DE

The release of hard coal mining from state control in 1865 saw the industry undergo very fast development. The Ruhr Area developed into the largest industrial agglomeration areas in Europe. After World War I, hard coal became the basis of the chemical industry.

While it initially constituted the energy basis for West Germany in the wake of World War II, the coal mining industry experienced a serious crisis from 1958 onwards. One from which it never completely recovered. The coal mining companies were merged into one single corporation the Ruhrkohle AG. Under its management, active coal mining operations were phased out at the end of 2018. The post mining responsibilities remain.

6/ Can you imagine a life as a miner?

Am Bergbaumuseum 28, 44791 Bochum, DE

The history of mining is a history of migration. With brief amount of time, the massive inflow of workers transformed the original structures within burgeoning economic centers. Whole new forms of co-existence were created. While living conditions were very hard, the great solidarity among miners was famous.

The mine was home to extreme conditions, under which the miners had to perform hard physical labour. It was only in the mid 20th century that technical innovations made the work a lot easier. Mines had long become large-scale technical systems.

7/ What remained in the area after 2018? Make a guess!

Am Bergbaumuseum 28, 44791 Bochum, DE

The green room exhibition ends with an epilogue comprising forty stories about the contemporary and future life of the Ruhr Area, including an installation about issue of mining water management.

8/ Mining. Stone Age with future? (Blue Tour)

Am Bergbaumuseum 28, 44791 Bochum, DE

From the time of prehistory to the far-flung future, the development of mankind is unimaginable without the mining of natural resources. This tour takes you on a journey across all the ages of human history during which mining activity took place by various means and methods, but always maintaining its essential role.

9/ Did the Romans steal our ressources?

Am Bergbaumuseum 28, 44791 Bochum, DE

The people of the prehistoric era were experimenters. From initial small mineworks, to producing enough for your own personal needs, to commercial underground mining. The journey was a long one. The Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age – all named after the material coveted and used during those times. Men put huge efforts into mining not only salt, but also gold, which had always been so greatly treasured.
Mining was transformed during ancient times. The Romans in particular needed large quantities of natural ressources, which they sourced from all over the known world. A mine was a place where thousands of people worked alongside one another.

10/ Do you also blog about your knowledge and lifestyle like miners did?

Am Bergbaumuseum 28, 44791 Bochum, DE

The fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD precipitated the loss of a large part of the mining know-how. This knowledge had to be developed afresh during Middle Ages and Early Modern Period. Areas such as commerce and trade, technology and science, power and dominion, as well as life styles and natural environments all tell of the growing influence of mining during these periods, and of the way it shaped society.
It increasingly became the practice to document knowledge in writing. Illustrated documents and books such as Georg Agricola’s “DE re metallica libri XII” and the “Mining Book of Schwaz” are outstanding examples of this.

11/ What's going on with the miners' technology?

Am Bergbaumuseum 28, 44791 Bochum, DE

The emergence of industrialisation saw mining progress into, until then, unseen dimensions. Technical advances saw the natural resources' output increase by laps and bounds, and in the influence on commerce, trade, politics and the environment grew. Each of the exhibits illustrates the mining of a diverse range of raw material, and the influence of this exerted in society all over the globe.

12/ Mineral ressources endangered. Is Greta Thunberg right? (Red Tour):

Am Bergbaumuseum 28, 44791 Bochum, DE

The earth provides us with its mineral ressources. Mineral ressources and fossil fuels are finite. We cannot create them ourselves, and they do not renew themselves within a certain time period that we can conceive. Together with regenerative energy sources and bio-recourses, natural ressources make up what are known as Earth’s geo-ressources.
Mineral ressources are of great importance to us people. Without them, our technology-driven everyday lives would be impossible to imagine. Nevertheless, specific natural resources are hard to identify in products we use every day. This tour provides a broad overview of the diversity of the raw materials we use, and the manner and means by which we use them.

13/ Mineral ressources under the microscope

Am Bergbaumuseum 28, 44791 Bochum, DE

In order to understand why some raw materials are especially valuable or rare, the tour starts by providing some fundamental knowledge of geo-sciences: How old is the Earth? What are minerals and rocks? How are mineral deposits formed, and where?

14/ Inside the raw materials lab. Can you build your own furniture?

Am Bergbaumuseum 28, 44791 Bochum, DE

The raw materials lab concerns itself with mineral ressources and how these are used. The raw materials are examined in detail at six lab tables, and you can perform research work at one of the “have-a-go” stations. There’s even a game where you are challenged to make your own everyday object. The necessary raw materials have to be collected from large shelves. You will only find out what you’ve made when the answer is revealed at the end. Enjoy the game!

15/ The Forum: It's time for a smartphone game!

Am Bergbaumuseum 28, 44791 Bochum, DE

This area features a digital game on a 180° screen, where you can experience the ways in which the finite ressources of our planet can be managed. You learn about the direct correlation between living standards and the use of ressources. In the beginning you are asked to tell how often you buy a new smartphone. If you say every two years, you will have to build all the ressources for one smartphone in two years’ time in the game. Enjoy the game!