Although the last mine Hard coal in Germany has already been closed for three years, municipalities are still reaching the gate of the facility coaches. There is no shortage of people willing to go on a trek, although the last miners traveled this route in December 2018.

The elders of Bottrop City reacted with sadness when asked about Prosper-Haniel. After all, for decades it was the largest workplace in the region, supporting entire families. Meanwhile, the pride of the region, it is visited by politicians and even the Pope himself. The mine operated for 155 years, starting in 1863. Its closure ended the mining phase in the history of the Ruhr region. But it has also become a symbol of Germany’s shift towards renewable energy.

More information about the situation in the mines can be found on the main page

For younger residents, the area is less associated with mining. “The best place in town” – you can hear it, because there you feel as if you are on a mountain trek, but you can also watch opera, skiing, weightless flying or look at the panorama of the entire Ruhr region from above.

While wandering around Germany’s last hard coal mine, you can feel like you’re in a nature reserve at times. Although it must be remembered that after all, everything has artificial roots. The 160-meter-high mountain that dominates the area is actually a mound that has been collecting waste from the Prosper Hanel mine for decades.

To the mine for a walk

There is no shortage of people willing to roam the area. You can reach Haniel’s mound by way of the cross; However, later stations show not only the following stages of the Passion of Christ, but also mining equipment. At each station there is a story about different equipment: there are mining railcars, drills, windy, shafts elements. At the end of the road is a large wooden cross consecrated by John Paul II in 1987.

From there, it’s not far from the top of the pile. The view is amazing, because there are more than 100 wooden supports at the top. This is the “Totem” – an installation by Basque artist Agustin Ibarola, who erected and then painted abandoned railway sleepers there. It was green for years and, as a result, no longer resembled industrial areas.

More mine pictures can be found in the text gallery

Just below the summit you can see a specific “crater”, an amphitheater built in 2007. Performances attract dozens of visitors there, and in 2016 an opera play was staged – “The Flying Dutchman” by Richard Wagner.

However, most people are drawn to the AlpinCenter, a 640m indoor ski slope. This is one of the longest covered slopes in the world. On the other hand, young people are eager to go to the “indoor skydiving” wind tunnel, where, as the owner says, “you can feel as if you are skydiving from several thousand meters.”

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Mine changed, problems remain

“We are trying to make the most of unclean field sites for recreational purposes,” says DW Thorsten Albrecht of the Bottrop City Press Office. However, he admits that the city has its problems, for example, there is no space where companies can build their headquarters, and developers – the new apartments.

Bottrop also has serious economic problems. Statistics published in 2018 show that PKB Bottrop’s per capita share is the lowest of any major city in Germany. It is 22.7 thousand. euro per capita per year, for example, in Munich it is about 80 thousand, and in Wolfsburg – more than 180 thousand.

Albrecht hopes the former mines and their vicinity will attract entrepreneurs. A major post-industrial recovery project is being planned in the south of the city. Some elements of the mine will be preserved, but new office buildings, gardens and apartments will be built around them.

What will happen to the Prosper-Haniel mine itself? This is not yet known. Currently, the mine shafts are filled with concrete so that “everything is finally closed,” explains Thorsten Albrecht. There are many indications that the last mine will thus be a kind of tourist attraction, and its buildings can still be admired while walking through it. Stacks.

– I must admit that we have succeeded in turning the mine and the surrounding area green. Now, a more serious task – transforming the whole city – tells us a resident of Bottrop, who walked in the Kulnischer Wald forest surrounding the former factory.

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Article from Siruiso Deutsche Welle