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Über Zollverein
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All events at a glance...

... and the highlights in 2020 from July to December!

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).

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.

SURVIVORS – Faces of Life after the Holocaust

Exhibition at Zollverein is now also virtual

Preserving humanity and dignity also under inhuman conditions: This experience was behind the close-up photographs with larger-than-life size of 75 survivors of the Holocaust, which from January until September 2020 were presented at the Zollverein UNESCO World Heritage for the first time worldwide. The pictures were taken in Jerusalem, at Yad Vashem, where the internationally renowned photographer Martin Schoeller had visited the portrayed people and had taken very much time for the recordings.

Around 40.000 visitors attended the exhibition in the mixing facility at the Zollverein coking plant, the international media attention was enormous. „SURVIVORS is an important sign against forgetting, which we could successfully realize together with the Israelian Holocaust Remembrance Center Yad Vashem – initiated by its German circle of friends – as well as with our cooperation partners“, explains Walter Smerling, Chairman of Stiftung Kunst und Kultur (Arts and Culture Foundation) Bonn, which besides Yad Vashem was the organizer of the exhibition in Essen. „It is a sign for open-mindedness, for engagement with history and for taking responsibility for the future.“

In order to continue this important project against forgetting and making the topic interesting especially for the younger generation, Martin Schoeller has set up a virtual reality tour through the exhibition at Zollverein, which he himself accompanies as the guide. The 40-minute tour with statements from the last contemporary witnesses, who are still alive, as well as with integrated additional films and information, can be made with VR glasses or with smartphones or tablets. Educational institutions in Germany have the possibility to use the tour as a kick-off for history lessons on YouTube, in order to make young people learn about the Holocaust and the topic of antisemitism again and again.

The project was a cooperation between Yad Vashem – International Holocaust Remembrance Center, Martin Schoeller and Stiftung Kunst und Kultur (Arts and Culture Foundation), Bonn. Partners are Stiftung Zollverein (Zollverein Foundation) and Ruhr Museum.

Project promoters
The exhibition and the accompanying programme were promoted and financed by RAG-Stiftung (RAG Foundation).

contemporary art ruhr (C.A.R.)

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.

Milestones in Contemporary Design

Exhibition / 23 June 2020 to 31 May 2021

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

100 years of Ruhr Area

Exhibition / September 2020 to 16 February 2021

From 13th September 2020 until 9th May 2020, the special exhibition 100 years of Ruhr Area. The different metropolis demonstrates the complex development of one of the most contradictory regions of Europe.

In seven sections, the special exhibition in the Ruhr Museum presents the „city of all cities“ as an administrative, political, industrial and infrastructural metropolis, as one of traffic, sports and events and as a cultural and educational metropolis.

The Ruhr Metropolis disintegrates into these different areas, which have developed in very different ways, with their own paces and partly in contradiction with each other. They have become success stories, stories of setbacks and failures or of change and transformation. Together, they form the history of the Ruhr Metropolis, which today belongs to the large European metropolises. In its peculiarity and polycentricity, it clearly differs from Paris or London however, so that it is just the „different metropolis“.

The exhibition presents more than 1.000 objects from more than 200 lenders, among them all the important associations, institutions and museums of the Ruhr Area. Beyond that, also a lot of private lenders have provided exhibits. Beginning with documents and crucial certificates, such as the original contract of the so-called „European Coal and Steel Community“ from the national archive of Luxemburg, over photos and posters up to rare film documents. It also presents impressive models and objects, however. Among them are the „Viktoria“, the challenge cup of the German soccer champions before 1945, the „Bambi“ of Hape Kerkeling and a costume from „Starlight Express“, the most successful musical theatre worldwide.

Childhood in Ruhr Area

Exhibition / September 2020 to May 2021

The exhibition Childhood in the Ruhr Area (7th September 2020 until 25th May 2021) has been conceived as a commemorative exhibition with a participative involvement of the population of the Ruhr region. It has come to life in close cooperation with the Essen-based local group of the German Child Protection Agency. On the 21-metre level of the Ruhr Museum, it presents 66 objects with the personal stories of their owners. The different objects are from the time between 1945 and 1989 and refer to all spheres of life: From school via festivals, family celebrations and hobbies up to playing and sports, both indoors and outdoors.

The confrontation with the exhibits is to inspire the visitors to let own memories come back and compare them. The exhibition is complemented by five „play islands“, which retrieve old memories again or can contribute to new memories. An extensive event program with many highlights rounds off the exhibition.

With this gallery exhibition, the Ruhr Museum continues the series of its presentations of popular topics related to the history of the Ruhr region, which was started in 2019 with the successful exhibition „Humans and animals in the Ruhr Area“. It presents topics, which are deeply rooted in the everyday life of the Ruhr Area and tell a lot about its specific structure and special features and thus play a big role in the self-image of the population of the Ruhr District.

lit.RUHR 2020

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 / cancelled

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


Due to the present rules and regulations in order to combat the corona pandemic the Ice rink 2020/2021 had to be cancelled. Zollverein foundation regrets the cancellation of the ice rink, that was supposed to take place from December 5th to January 10. Tickets that have been booked previously will be refunded. Please contact for any further questions or information.

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.