Modern Ruins – Lohberg

3. Lohberg – The Revival of a Coal Mine

A place bigger than life: Zeche Lohberg. For 100 years up to 5000 workers were mining coal here, in shafts as deep as 1200 metres. But when the mine was shut down in 2005, the huge industrial space lost its purpose and was abandoned. Ever since then the site has been waiting for a new destiny.

News

  • 08/2015 - Ruhrtriennale shows "Modern Ruins"

    Two episodes of our documentary series “Modern Ruins” are shown on Wednesday, September 2nd at 8 pm in front of [...]

    Two episodes of our documentary series "Modern Ruins" are shown on Wednesday, September 2nd at 8 pm in front of the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum during the Rurtriennale Festival. While Zeche Lohberg is rotting since its close-down in 2005  there is hope for the former Motor City Detroit. The entrance is free. Ruhrtriennale ist an annual international Arts Festival and takes place from August 14th to September 26th in the former industrial buildings of the Ruhr Area.  

    Ruhrtriennale 2015
    About the documentary series "Modern Ruins"


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Modern Ruins – Lohberg

3. Lohberg – The Revival of a Coal Mine

This is a place bigger than life: for one hundred years coal was mined at Zeche Lohberg, with shafts as deep as 1200 metres. At the end of the 1950s more than 5000 men were working there. But in 2005 the mine had to shut down and the remaining 1400 workers were sent to work in other mines or retired. Now what?
A huge area is waiting for its destiny, the 70-meter-high popped head towers over its own city made of empty factory halls and machinery which has lost its purpose. It is a haunted place of frightening dimension. Nature is claiming back the site, spreading everywhere. Large parts of the compound have been torn down, are earmarked for redevelopment or put to a new use.  Just like a little shop nestled up to the outer wall of the area, a place full of people’s memories and personal stories. Workers would do some last minute shopping at the start and end of their shifts, some would secretly send a basket down to get beer, of course officially prohibited on during the shift. Some parts have been revived. Today Britta LQL is running an art gallery in the former shop. Passers-by can look at changing exhibitions by different artists. The old cigarette machine gets refilled regularly, for only a few euros people can get a small sculpture, a miniature painting or some other unique art object that was especially designed for this purpose.
Other artists have found a new studio in the former administration building, now called the Creative Quarter. And the former company choir has survived the close-down as well, 50 men still meet every week to practise. They wear their old uniform with pride whenever they perform in public. Each of them used spent his days underground, labouring. The mine has become a second home to many of the workers living in the area, their lives revolving around it.
It is time for a fresh start, but the heritage-listed popped head is expensive to maintain, money that the former owner is not willing to invest and the local community is not able to.  The future of Lohberg’s icon does not look very bright. A community group is trying to rescue it, but so far funding is still uncertain.
New developments will soon transform in the area, hoping to carry along and convince the locals. Lohberg is trying to attract small businesses and offices to the area, hoping that the new jobs will revive the community.
But the traces left behind by the mines are not just visible on the surface, buried beneath the old ruins is a maze of tunnels and shafts: Slowly, they are filling with water. Pumps are used to regulate the levels so that the new buildings won’t be damaged by the rise and fall of the ground, as it happened so many times in the past.
Lohberg witnessed two world wars, changing owners and a constant stream of new inhabitants trying to find their luck. Now it is shut down for good and a completely new purpose will have to be found for the site. Small-scale initiatives and projects are shaping the transformation, but the struggle for funding will put an end to most of them. So far, only Britta LOL’s little art shop has survived. With the city’s support she is able to keep it open for another year.

Director: Kai Christiansen
Cinematography: Torben Müller
Editor: Martin Schomers
Sound Design: Bea Müller
Composer: Eike Hosenfeld, Moritz Denis, Tim Stanzel
Graphic Design: Susanne Radelhof
Line producer: Kathrin Isberner, Susanne Heinz
Production Manager: Nick Pastucha, Sarah Maret
Executive Producer: Anahita Nazemi
Producer: Christian Beetz
Commissioning Editor ZDF/ARTE: Marita Hübinger, Caroline Auret

Kooperation

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