Places of Lively Cultural Mediation – The Coking Plant

Experiencing industrial history on the Zollverein Monument Path

At the Zollverein Coking Plant, once the largest central coking plant in Europe, the second stage of the Path of Coal starts. Between 1961 and 1993, up to 8,000 tonnes of coke were produced here every day.

View of the ”black side” of the Zollverein Coking Plant.UNESCO World Heritage Zollverein

The Path of Coal 

 Up to 1,000 coke workers worked in three shifts around the clock. Today, visitors get an insight into coke production on the “black side” with the ovens and machines.

Guided tour of Zollverein, Mixing PlantUNESCO World Heritage Zollverein

On the rooftop of the mixing plant

The coal from the colliery arrived at the mixing plant. On the rooftop, visitors can experience an impressive view of the entire plant during a guided tour of Zollverein. 

And that’s the view.

Zollverein Coking Plant, mixing plant, bunker levelUNESCO World Heritage Zollverein

Mixing Plant, Bunker Level

Inside the mixing plant, the different types of coking coal supplied by the Zollverein Coal Mine and other mines were blended together. Each type of coal was first stored temporarily in one of the twelve large bunkers...

Zollverein Coking Plant, mixing plant, hopper levelUNESCO World Heritage Zollverein

The Mixing Plant, Hopper Level 

... and then fell through the hoppers directly onto conveyor belts, which transported the coal mixture to the coal towers. 

Zollverein Coking Plant, charging car on the oven roofUNESCO World Heritage Zollverein

Oven roof

From the coal towers, the well-mixed coking coal was loaded onto the charging car, which filled the coke ovens from the top.

Zollverein Coking Plant, group of visitors in front of the coke ovensUNESCO World Heritage Zollverein

The Coke Ovens

Visitors in the hot alley directly in front of the coke ovens. A single oven is 6 metres high, 13 metres deep but only 45 centimetres wide. 

Zollverein Coking Plant, the picture detail shows five coke ovens.UNESCO World Heritage Zollverein

One oven could hold up to 28 tonnes of coking coal, which was then baked into coke for 16 to 18 hours at temperatures of around 1.000 degrees Celsius in the absence of air.

Zollverein Coking Plant, former flue leading to the chimney.UNESCO World Heritage Zollverein


In addition to enormous installations and lofty heights, a guided tour of the coking plant also offers a detour into the “underworld” of the plant. Here you can see the former flue leading to the chimney.

Group of visitors in front of the high-pressure plant with tubular cooler, heat exchangers, hydrogen sulphide and benzene scrubbersUNESCO World Heritage Zollverein

The White Side

Many kilometres of pipelines shape the appearance of the white side of the coking plant. They were used to extract the raw gas from the coke ovens. After cleaning and separating by-products such as sulphuric acid, tar, ammonia and benzene, a large part of the gas was returned to the coke ovens to fuel them. Excess gas was fed into the municipal gas grid.

Zollverein Coking Plant, Station 1UNESCO World Heritage Zollverein

Experience the Coking Plant 

At the coking plant, too, guests are offered further support in understanding the plant and its processes in addition to the personal contact with the guides: below the quenching tower where the quenching cars once pulled the red-hot coke under a 40.000-litre water shower is the first information point of the new Zollverein Coking Plant Monument Path.

Visitors can observe the coking process inside a coke oven in time-lapse mode.UNESCO World Heritage Zollverein

Powerful Visual Staging

Inside the building, visitors gain a different insight into the coking plant and enter a world that was characterised by heat, steam, complex technical processes and, above all, hard work around the clock.

Simulation of coke ovensUNESCO World Heritage Zollverein

Simulation of coke ovens in station 1

Model of the black side of the coking plant, Station 1UNESCO World Heritage Zollverein

The functions of the huge machines and the activities of the coke oven workers become visible and comprehensible at this over seven-metre-long model of the black side. The highlight: individual segments can be pulled out. 

Experiencing mining in the Interactive MineUNESCO World Heritage Zollverein

Touch and participate

The third facility on the Zollverein UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been preserved in its original state is dedicated to children and families.

Since 2020, the shaft area and the mine car circuit of Zollverein Shaft 1/2/8 have been the Zollverein Interactive Colliery. Children, young people and families can actively experience what working at the coal mine was like.

Interactive Colliery along the Zollverein Monument PathUNESCO World Heritage Zollverein

Interactive Experience

In this section of the Monument Path, the emphasis is on hands-on activities. Equipped with pit jackets, helmets and gloves, the children set off on an exciting journey through the coal mine. They can also get actively involved at the various stations.

Guided tour for children of the Zollverein Monument PathUNESCO World Heritage Zollverein

Out-of-school place of learning with a fun factor

During the summer and autumn holidays in North Rhine-Westphalia, a special holiday programme is offered for schoolchildren. They not only become miners but also researchers and find out why the miners washed the coal and which cake was baked in the “biggest toaster” in the world.

Children working together to build a tunnel.UNESCO World Heritage Zollverein

Values, Tradition and Teamwork

The workshops not only impart knowledge about the function and tasks of the machines and miners. Children and young people also learn a lot about the values that are so important for mining, such as teamwork and cohesion.

Children on a digital detective adventureUNESCO World Heritage Zollverein

Digital Offers

Fun, puzzles, action, moving around and lots of fresh air: the Zollverein site offers plenty of space for exploration in the outdoor areas. Adults, families, children and young people can playfully explore the 100 hectares of the UNESCO World Heritage Site with their smartphones.

Zollverein 3D orientation model with BrailleUNESCO World Heritage Zollverein


In order to reach as many interested visitors as possible, Zollverein offers guided tours for guests with visual or hearing impairments. People with impaired vision can experience how coal was mined and processed at Zollverein at touch and sound stations. Guests with impaired hearing can either take part in a guided tour with a hearing amplifier or a guided tour in sign language, as required.

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