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Fig. 1. Industrial monument Rheinpreußen shaft IV. // Bild 1. Industriedenkmal Rheinpreußen Schacht IV. Photo/Foto: André Thissen

Candlelight concert at Rheinpreußen shaft IV to mark the end of the coal mining industry

21st December 2018 was the day that the German coal mining era came to an end in the Ruhr region. In honour of the occasion, a ceremony was held at the Prosper-Haniel mine in Bottrop, bringing around 200 years of history to a close. For over 100 of these, the industry was a defining influence both on the lives of the people and on the landscape in the Lower Rhine region.

To mark the end of the German coal mining industry on 21st December 2018, registered associations 100 years of the Meerbeck settlement and Grafschaft Museum and History Association in Moers joined forces with film director Frederik Göke, inviting concertgoers into the winding engine hall in the industrial monument Rheinpreußen shaft IV (Figure 1) in Moers.

The singers in the Rhineland Miners’ Choir performed an atmospheric concert by candlelight in the winding engine hall. The two associations were delighted with the première of Frederik Göke’s documentary “What will remain?”, which he made in collaboration with cameraman Andre Turcan. This production was possible thanks to sponsorship provided by the Industrial Monument Upkeep and Historical Culture Foundation and Ruhr Tourismus GmbH. Over the course of around 40 min, miners from the region took to the stage to speak, sharing memories from as far back as the Second World War. Most of their recollections were from the post-war period, however, a time when smoking chimneys were seen as a sign of recovery and improved fortunes rather than environmental destruction. They spoke of a heightened appreciation of community and cohesion, a sense of “we’re all in this together”, which should not be allowed to disappear from our society. (Grafschafter Museums- und Geschichtsverein/Verein 100 Jahre Kolonie Meerbeck/Si.)