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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I drove to Düsseldorf from Nottingham with a friend, calling at various places on the way, and spent a week based there. We explored the city and places like Duisburg, Essen, Münster, Wuppertal and the area around Tagebau Garzweiler. Unfortunately I didn't get many city photos but there's plenty of industrial landscapes to enjoy.

Eastern Docks at Dover from the White Cliffs





Tagebau Garzweiler is a lignite strip mine, one of three active in the area between Köln and Aachen. They have swallowed up large areas of countryside and several villages, with more to go over the coming years. The villages often prove popular destinations for urban explorers as they reach the end of the resettlement process.

These images show it from the viewpoints near Jackerath



















Pesch is a largely demolished 'ghost village' at the western edge of the mine





No more photos of the villages because we passed through as it was getting dark. They were quite attractive places with a somewhat eerie atmosphere, even from the car. They contrasted hugely with Doel in Belgium, which I visited last summer and we revisited briefly on the way home (no photos I'm afraid). Doel is making way for an expansion of the Port of Antwerp, and is generally thronging with visitors. Indeed it's probably much more lively now than it ever was when it had far more residents, and it makes for a strange atmosphere. Admittedly I have only been there during the day and it does have a nice position on the Schelde, so it probably always had a fair number of visitors.

Tagebau Garzweiler at night from the viewpoint near Jüchen



More photos to come later.
 

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I drove to Düsseldorf from Nottingham with a friend, calling at various places on the way, and spent a week based there. We explored the city and places like Duisburg, Essen, Münster, Wuppertal and the area around Tagebau Garzweiler. Unfortunately I didn't get many city photos but there's plenty of industrial landscapes to enjoy.



Wow, I am really looking forward to this thread - a lot of places here I would like to visit.

Can anyone explain what is going on in the picture above? Are those all different conveyors bringing in coal from the crawling rotary scoopers? And is the water being sprayed just to keep the dust down.

A few times a year you can go in their on a bus to get a real close up view of everything. Something I hope to do some day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A view towards the church from one of the docks in Duisburg


Restored industrial buildings on the Innenhafen in Duisburg












Another view back down the dock from the Portsmouth Damm, named after their twin city in England.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord, a park and events space set in an old Thyssen steelworks in Meiderich.



Images on the old power station wall



Views from inside Hochofen 5, a 70m high blast furnace which you can climb up. One of two remaining furnaces.















At the top













My sidekick





 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow, I am really looking forward to this thread - a lot of places here I would like to visit.

Can anyone explain what is going on in the picture above? Are those all different conveyors bringing in coal from the crawling rotary scoopers? And is the water being sprayed just to keep the dust down.

A few times a year you can go in their on a bus to get a real close up view of everything. Something I hope to do some day.
Not entirely sure but I'd guess so. I had never heard about that bus tour though, how do you find out about them? One of my mates is quite keen on seeing this place as well.
 

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very cool pics. i didn't know there are such big coal mines in my home country, my grand father worked there in the "ruhrpott"
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thanks, glad you are all like them. At least some of the signs were in English, don't think they all were though. They do guided tours as well but they are just in German. I'll put some more pics up tomorrow, still quite a few of the Landschaftspark to go.

This wasn't a coal mine (it was a steel works), but there is a coal mine to come! There were loads of mines in this area, still quite a few standing, but few (if any?) still work. EDIT: I'm assuming you were talking about Garzweiler. Sorry, my mind was only making connections with places in the Ruhrpott as you mentioned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Back on the ground







This structure had a wind turbine on top, and an archimedes screw. I wish I could remember more about what all the things here were!













Some people on a guided tour on a structure in front of Hochofen 5 who's purpose I don't know...



Views from said structure

















Some sort of beach type event going on, a bit like what is happening in Nottingham now











That's it for the Landschaftspark, a bit of Düsseldorf next.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I think there were three other working steel works, and a few other interesting factories knocking about as well. You can see some of them in my photos from the top of the furnace, but there are some closer shots of a couple of them to come.
 

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I was in Landschaftspark the 10th of july and at that time they were mounting the beach bar, we almost crossed... :) I have very similar photos, also from some parts you did not show, Do you have more?

Very impressive by the way, thanks for sharing...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
We were there on the 12th. As I said in my previous post I'm afraid I have no more photos of the Landschaftspark, though I do have some of Zollverein. You should start a thread if you have some photos to share.

I felt a bit uneasy with all these dodgy cigarette adverts everywhere, it was like going back ten years in time! I think this was in a tram shelter outside Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof.



Views of the city from the Rheinturm





I suspect these three are looking back at Duisburg across the Airport











Some from Zollverein, a world heritage site in Essen made up of a former colliery and coking plant complex. This is the Ruhr Museum in the coal washing plant, which is full of old machinery.



The headstocks (or headgear). A wedding was taking place next to us as I took this.





To the coking plant, which is in a slightly more decayed state.













I'll put the rest up tomorrow.
 

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Very nice pictures.

Indeed, smoking seems to be big in Europe. I didn't spend enough time in Germany to notice if it was big there but in England, France and Belgium people clearly smoked a lot, much more than Americans. And people I've had visit me from Spain all smoked.

American's are killing themselves from lousy food and no exercise, Europeans from smoking and drinking too much. Pick your poison I guess.

The coal mine and coking plant are very impressive. Another must visit place for me.

It is strange that these plants were all already obsolete. I assume they are all post WW2 creations as earlier factories would have been bombed in the war. I wouldn't think they would be obsolete yet.

Also, just curious, but what was the area between cities like. You were in the Ruhrgebiet and I believe that is one of the most built up areas in Germany, if not the world. Was there much open space between cities? Did they seem to have much agriculture? Did you get to interact with the locals much?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
When I was in Antwerp last year, I got talking to these amusing characters in a pub who said at one point that smoking was 'part of their culture' and that most people in Belgium did it. An exaggeration, but there was more of it than in the UK. Indeed they had one of the weakest smoking bans in Europe until the courts extended it to bars just before I went.

Essentially it was just a bit weird seeing the Marlboro signs etc on shops in Belgium and all these advertising posters in Germany (Marlboro were the worst, seemed to be about attracting hot women). It's been banned in the UK for nearly ten years, now we've partially implemented a law requiring shops to hide their cigarette displays behind doors. Given that we're always being told we have a national obesity crisis it seems we're following your lead somewhat.

The coking plant at Zollverein is from the 1950s I believe, the others are pre war though not necessarily every part of them. Landschaftspark literature makes reference to overcapacity in the European steel market leading to its closure, and the Ruhr Museum said there was consolidation into more modern plants at this time for the same reason. There have been more closures in places like Dortmund since then though, sometimes of very new plants. Not entirely sure why. I think Zollverein just wasn't making enough money, apparently they nearly sold bits of the coking plant (which closed after the mine) to China, as happened in Dortmund.

We did have some daft interactions with the hostel staff and a couple of guests but not much else. Unless you count blasting out dodgy music from the car at Tagebau Garzweiler at night to fit in with the dodgy youths who were cruising around in their cars (right behind us at one stage). We barely speak any German and not many people spoke fluent English, apart from one of the receptionists. That and everything seemed to take longer than we expected.

Düsseldorf stood slightly apart from the Ruhrgebiet so there were some fields etc, but travelling from Essen through Oberhausen to Duisburg it was a seamless urban area. I think most of it is like that but there are a lot of trees, as you can see from my aerial photos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The final instalment



















Back towards the coal mine



















We eventually arrived at the Alsumer Berg, an out of the way, inconsistently signposted hill next to the Rhine in North Duisburg. It is marked out as a viewpoint on the Route Industriekultur, a tourist route to the main industrial heritage sites in the Ruhrgebiet. A sign at the bottom suggested that it was at least partially made from the rubble of a bombed area of the city that used to be nearby, but is now all industry. A strange atmosphere prevailed as twilight approached and some funny looking characters sat in the car park nearby.

These are the steelworks and coking plant (?) directly to the north, and something beyond in the second pic





And these are the steelworks etc. to the east, visible from another viewing spot on the hill.







Arriving back in the overwhelming swank of Düsseldorf after a day in Wuppertal, we stopped off at the Unterbacher See, a very nice and large lake in the Stadtwald (city forest, there seemed to be a lot of those about).





And that's it. A pity I didn't manage to do justice to the cities, there wasn't always time for photos and I didn't get on too well with the camera I borrowed. All those I saw were pretty pleasant, especially Düsseldorf. Out of the other cities Duisburg probably had the most agreeable centre, I particularly recommend the weird rotating psychedelic fountain in the König-Heinrich-Platz. Wuppertal probably had the most surviving old buildings, especially outside the town centres (it has two since it is a linear conglomeration of two main towns), and had an interesting setting in a deep river valley. Though I'm sure people mainly go to these places for the kind of sights I depicted, or the Schwebebahn and perhaps the textile mills in Wuppertal.

Hope you enjoyed.
 
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