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All events at a glance...

... and the highlights in 2020!

All events that take place at the UNESCO World Heritage Site Zollverein are included in our calendar – due to the large number of offers, however, the calendar is only available in German. This is why we are presenting the highlights of our 2020 programme here.

More information can be found in our calendar (German only).

Please note: Zollverein World Heritage is closed temporarily to slow coronavirus outbreak. We hope to open again on April 20th.

PACT Zollverein

Performing Arts. Choreographisches Zentrum NRW. Tanzlandschaft Ruhr

Founded in 2002 and at home in the former pithead bath at Shaft 1/2/8, PACT Zollverein sees itself as an initiator, driving force, and stage for ground-breaking developments in the fields of dance, performance, theatre, media, and visual arts.

Three programmatic lines characterise the work of the institution, which contributes on a regional, national, and international level to the localisation and appreciation of dance and performance as art forms in their own right: PACT Zollverein creates a space for concentrated production processes within the framework of the ‚Residenzprogramm,‘ which is open to artists from all over the world. The ‚Plattformen‘ section initiates the interdisciplinary exchange between artists, scientists, and students as well as the critical questioning of their methods and results. A third focus is on a top-class stage programme comprising world premieres, co-productions, and guest performances.

Zollverein Concerts

Music for your ears

Listen to classical music, jazz, pop, and contemporary music where people used to labour: For more than 20 years, Zollverein Foundation has been inviting guests of all ages to the World Heritage Site. For 2020, the Foundation has once again put together a varied programme. Well-known co-operations and formats will be continued, and new highlights will be set.

Ten Past Ten

Installations, festival, debates, concerts / 10 to 25 January 2020

Ten past Ten – that’s the slogan for celebrating the 10 years anniversary of being European Capital of Culture and the Ruhr Museum. There will be light installations, a museum festival and also a series of diverse events including debates and concerts called “Salon 2030”.

Survivors – Faces of Life after the Holocaust

Exhibition / 22 January to 26 April 2020

Survivors – Faces of Life after the Holocaust presents confronting images of 75 Holocaust survivors by Martin Schoeller. Photographed in cooperation with the World Holocaust Remembrance Center Yad Vashem the portraits will be shown in an exhibition in the mixing plant.

contemporary art ruhr (C.A.R.)

Photo/Media Art Fair 6 to 8 March 2020

Art. New. Visionary! Since 2006, contemporary art ruhr (C.A.R.) – Germany’s first media art fair – has been presenting art disciplines beyond the classic categories at Zollverein. The latest format focuses on photography, installation, virtual reality, 3D printing, light art, video art, animation, internet art, and experimental music.

Innovative Art Fair 30 October to 1 November 2020

A fixed date for the international, national, and regional art scene is the autumn fair of contemporary art ruhr: innovative galleries for contemporary art, institutions, art projects, and selected talents participate year after year. At the same time, special exhibitions, the C.A.R. Video Lounge, and a supporting programme featuring performances and workshops take place.

Creative Exchange

Exhibition / 27 March to 1 June 2020

Red Dot Design Museum presents the best communication design achievements from all over the globe.

Humans and animals in the Ruhr area

Mensch und Tier im Ruhrrevier / Gallery exhibition at the Ruhr Museum to 19 April 2020

The relationship between man and animal has been a history of power over thousands of years. Animals play a subordinate, passive role in this relationship.

Killing animals, using animals, loving animals, categorising animals, and interpreting animals – in five sections, the special exhibition focuses on the manifold relationships between humans and animals in the Ruhr Area. More than 100 objects – from the arrowhead from the Stone Age to the „Prize for the best udder“ for contemporary goat breeders – illustrate the constantly changing relationship.

In view of mass meat production and the destruction of natural habitats, the current ethical debate calls for a change in thinking. In this „animal turn“, the animals are to be given an upgraded, more active position – also for the benefit of humans. Because never before have animals been exploited so excessively and yet thought of so highly.

100 years of Ruhr Area

Exhibition / 11 May 2020 to 16 February 2021

This exhibition of the Ruhr Museum presents the infrastructure, mobility, architecture and the societal relations that have given a modern structure to region and shaped the Ruhr metropolis until today.

World Heritage Day

7 June 2020

On the first Sunday in June the World Heritages Site in Germany present the idea of UNESCO. Among other things there will be an exciting day of debating this year at Zollverein.

Milestones in Contemporary Design

Exhibition / June to August 2020

The exhibition presents about 80 pieces that were awarded with the Red Dot Design Award 2020.

Childhood in Ruhr Area

Exhibition / June 2020 to May 2021

This Gallery exhibition of the Ruhr Museum presents 70 exhibits with their personal background from the time between 1945 and 1989. It is intended that the items bring back childhood memories and are compared with the visitors’ own history.


The Night of Industrial Heritage / 28 June 2020

200,000 visitors, 50 venues, 24 cities, one night: ExtraSchicht, the Night of Industrial Heritage, has been staging the Ruhr Metropolis since 2001. The cultural festival was conceived in 2001 with the idea of making the region’s industrial heritage visible and specifically networking it with each other.

A varied programme including guided tours, exhibitions, stage programmes, walk acts, and performances as well as art installations and participatory activities in front of the unique backdrop of Zollverein awaits the audience. The Ruhr Museum presents a varied programme with free admission to its permanent and special exhibitions as well as free short guided tours of the special exhibitions. In addition, there are hands-on activities in the Zollverein Dyer’s Garden, and from 10 p.m. on, a lounge in the Erich Brost Pavilion on the rooftop of the Coal Washery.

Works Swimming Pool

Including Open-air Cinema / 28 June to 9 August 2020

Bathing pleasure in a work of art: Leave all your cares behind at a glistening blue pool in the middle of the former coking plant: During the summer holidays in North Rhine-Westphalia, visitors to Zollverein can cool off, sunbathe, and relax in the Works Swimming Pool every day from noon to 8 p.m. Situated in a place full of contrasts in front of the coke oven battery, the 12×5-metre pool is one of the most exciting bathing locations in Germany. Where coal used to be baked into coke, two welded together overseas containers are now the summer meeting place in the North of Essen. The visit to the swimming pool is free of charge. The 2.40-metre deep pool is only suitable for swimmers, a pool supervisor is on site.

The Frankfurt-based artists Dirk Paschke and Daniel Milohnic created the Works Swimming Pool in 2001 as part of the „Contemporary Art and Criticism“ art project. Since then, the blue pool, framed by impressive industrial architecture, has stood symbolically for the structural change in the Ruhr Area.

In addition, the area at the Works Swimming Pool is turned into an open-air cinema every year.

From July on, cinema films are screened on six Thursday evenings underneath the pusher machine, directly next to the pool. The programme was developed in cooperation with ‚Junge Freunde Zollverein‘.

Splash! Boom! Bang! Jump into our swimming pool and make sure that the water splashes as much as possible! Our summer party takes place at the unique swimmingpool in the middle of the coking plant and there will also be a Parkour-Jam at our parkour facility right next to it.
2 August 2020

Gourmetmeile Metropole Ruhr

27 to 30 August 2020

From 27 to 30 August 2020, the chefs of „Essen genießen“ invite everyone to the Gourmetmeile Metropole Ruhr at the UNESCO World Heritage Site Zollverein. From typical miners‘ dishes to exotic delicacies, there is something for every taste.

During the four days of the Gourmetmeile Metropole Ruhr on the former Track Boulevard at Zollverein Shaft XII, top regional restaurateurs present their culinary skills. Lovers of regional miner’s cuisine also get their money’s worth: At least one typical miner’s dish is served at each stand. In addition to culinary temptations, a stage programme and a firework display on Saturday evening await guests and gourmets from across the region.

Zollverein World Heritage Run

Welterbelauf Zollverein / 12 September 2020

As in previous years, the motto of the 7th Zollverein World Heritage Run is: Taking part is all that counts!

Among the six races ranging from the 400-metre Bambini Race to the 5-kilometre „Race for Everyone“ to the ten-kilometre main distance, every running enthusiast will find the right challenge. All races lead along the impressive architecture of the industrial monument: along the Circular Walk, past the Twin Pithead Frame, the SANAA Building, across the Zollverein Spoil Tip, and the former Shaft 1/2/8. Start and finish are located on the premises of RAG Montan Immobilien GmbH at the Zollverein Coking Plant. The International Competition Rules of the German Athletics Federation (DLV) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) apply.

Großes Zechenfest

26 to 27 September 2020

Tradition with a future: On 26 and 27 September 2020, the advertising associations of District VI – Zollverein, in cooperation with Zollverein Foundation are inviting to the 31th Großes Zechenfest at the World Heritage Site. More than 50 events on five stages ensure excellent entertainment.

For the 31th edition of the Zechenfest, the organizers again expect well over 30,000 visitors to Zollverein Shaft XII. Where fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers once worked hard, a weekend is spent celebrating, dancing, and laughing. With a lot of creativity and in good cooperation, the three advertising associations from Katernberg, Schonnebeck, and Stoppenberg, together with Zollverein Foundation, are putting together a varied programme in keeping with the motto „Tradition with a future“.


... der Sendung mit der Maus / 3 October 2020

On 3 October 2020, the motto throughout Germany is again „Doors open for the Mouse!“

For children and the whole family, Zollverein Foundation and the Ruhr Museum offer many exciting hands-on activities on the “ Türöffnertag“ (Door Opener Day) of the „Sendung mit der Maus“ (TV series for children called Mouse TV outside of Germany). For an entire day, a free, varied programme awaits all fans of the Mouse aged five and over at the Zollverein UNESCO World Heritage Site.

lit.RUHR 2019

International Literature Festival / 5 to 11 October 2020

In October 2020, the third International Literature Festival lit.RUHR takes place again in the whole Ruhr Area. 40 events for adults and 35 for children and young people are planned. Zollverein is the festival centre, in addition there are other venues in Essen.

Next Level

Festival of Games / 12 to 15 November 2020

NRW KULTURsekretariat, the City of Essen and Zollverein foundation invite friends, fans and experts of digital gaming culture to enter the next level – for the second time at Zollverein World Heritage.

Zollverein Ice Rink

5 December 2020 to 10 January 2021

In winter, the 150-meter-long Zollverein Ice Rink once again invites ice skaters and other ice sports enthusiasts to enjoy winter activities in the middle of the impressive coking plant.

According to the Marco Polo travel guide, „probably the most fascinating place in Germany for ice skating“: at Zollverein, Zollverein Foundation offers an opportunity for the whole family to ice-skate on the Zollverein Ice Rink for four weeks. Skating artists and anyone aspiring to become one can do pirouettes, whizz across the ice, or carefully take their first steps on the slippery surface.

In addition, the impressive industrial architecture, the icy 1,800-square metre area stretching alongside the impressive coke ovens, rust-red pipes, and high chimney stacks are also a unique experience for those watching. After dusk, when the light installation by Jonathan Speirs and Mark Major bathes the Zollverein Coking Plant in colourful light, the ice skaters experience a very special kind of winter romance.

New Year's Eve Run

Silvesterlauf / Sporting highlight at the end of the year

The New Year’s Eve Run around the UNESCO World Heritage Site Zollverein is a must for ambitious sports enthusiasts of all ages: from the 400-metre Bambini Race to the 1-kilometre distance for schoolchildren, the 5-kilometre “Race for Everyone” to the 10-kilometre main race, all sports enthusiasts will find the right challenge!

The registration portal for the traditional race with the special charm in front of a wonderful Ruhr Area scenery opens at the beginning of October 2020. Registrations can be submitted until 25 December 2020 via Start and finish are in front of Hall 12 on the UNESCO World Heritage Site Zollverein, changing rooms for the participants will be set up in Hall 5. The award ceremony will also take place there.

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