On 7th December 2021, Peter Schrimpf, Chairman of the Board of Executives of RAG Aktiengesellschaft, Essen/Germany, and Chairman of the Board of Stiftung Zollverein, Essen, welcomed Ina Scharrenbach, Minister for Home, Community, Construction and Equality of North Rhine-Westphalia. Together, they travelled into the depths: 1,000 m below the surface of the earth, they visited the mine water management pumping systems in the “Zollverein XII” shaft in Essen (Figure 1).
“Zollverein is a symbol of our past and our future. It was one of the most high-performance mining complexes in the world and is a World Heritage Site today, while it remains an active mining site as well as housing the RAG headquarters,” says Schrimpf. “After 20 years, the Zollverein Foundation is facing some big tasks. Maintaining this unique UNESCO World Heritage Site is a challenge. That’s why the Zollverein Foundation relies on a broad support base,” says Schrimpf, who, as successor to Bernd Tönjes, is also Chairman on the Zollverein Foundation Board.
“The Zollverein mine shows how structural changes can be successful: Since the last shift ended in December 1986, Zollverein has turned into a place for art, culture and creative businesses. The Doppelbock winding tower is a widely recognisable monument as the “Eiffel Tower of the Ruhr valley”. With its fully preserved mining systems and coking plant, Zollverein has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001 – a place worth engaging with and experiencing. A strong piece of home. A strong piece of North Rhine-Westphalia, which it is our job to preserve,” says Minister Scharrenbach after visiting the shafts.
On their trip to Zollverein, the Minister and Schrimpf were accompanied by Bärbel Bergerhoff-Wodopia, member of the RAG-Stiftung Board of Executives, Essen, and Prof. Hans Peter Noll, Executive Chairman of the Stiftung Zollverein. “We also really care about this place,” says Bergerhoff-Wodopia, “that’s why we are also supporting multiple projects at Zollverein. And we have chose it as the site of the RAG-Stiftung headquarters. This proves that we believe in the future of this mining site so steeped in tradition.” (RAG/Si.)