Post-mining communities in Central Europe are looking to the future whilst honouring the past

Communities in Central Europe are forging a new path that honours their mining heritage whilst embracing a regenerative future.

The ReSource project, co-funded by the EU through the European Regional Development Fund, undertook empirical research into postmining potentials of several mining regions in Central Europe. 

The research shows that in addition to “natural” potentials that were available in the regions such as renewable energy and components of landscape (water, soil, flora, fauna, relief, etc.), there were also “cultural” potentials such as buildings, infrastructure, traditions that could be utilised to improve post-mining economic conditions. 

Some of the exceptional cultural projects that have been undertaken by communities across Central Europe include:

Mansfeld-Südharz, Germany

Efforts have been made to honour the mining heritage of the the copper-mining region of Mansfeld-Sudharz, Germany where several projects have taken place to boost the touristic potential of the area. Funded by the EU’s LEADER (European Network for Rural Development) programme, the key projects carried out were:

  1. The “Glück-Auf-Tour”, which comprised of mining museums, a mining railway and hiking routes around former mining sites. 
  2. The “Kupferspuren” project (“copper traces”) which collated information of mining heritage on an internet database, providing comprehensive information to be used by other tourist projects that were planned in the region. 

Wałbrzych, Poland

In the coal mining region of Walbrzych, Poland, the “Old Colliery” Polycultural project involved the revitalisation of the hard coal mine “Julia” for various commercial and non-commercial services, and the development of the Stara Kopalnia Centrum Nauki I Sztuki (“Former Mine” Science and Art Centre), which comprised of: 

  1. The Museum of Industry and Technology – Displaying the mining history of Wałbrzych’s in the form of multi-media presentations and various exhibits.
  2. Gallery of Contemporary Art
  3. Unique Ceramic Centre – Offering ceramic and pottery workshops

Stara Kopalnia Centrum Nauki I Stzuki - Wałbrzych, Poland Photo Reference

Another key project was the “Princess Daisy Route” which was implemented to create an integrated tourist route (hiking, cycling and car route) to connect planned and existing attractions in the city like Książ Castle, Aqua Zdrój (sports and recreation centre), and the Polycultural Park.

Zwickau-Lugau-Oelsnitz, Germany

FLOEZ (Future for Lugau-Oelsnitz-Zwickau) is a cooperation initiative of nine municipalities that make up Eastern Germany’s largest former hard coal mining region. It consists of the Zwickau coal field  and Lugau-Oelsnitz coal field. Some projects that have been undertaken in the region are: 

  1. Thematic hiking and biking routes through former mining areas in Lugau, as well as a motorcross track on former slag heaps. 
  2. Revitalisation of “Martin-Hoop” pit in Zwickau as a business park.
  3. Adaptation of old coal railways terminal into a public park in Oelsnitz.
  4. “Auf den Spuren des Schwarzen Goldes” (On the track of black gold), a regional marketing campaign to promote tourism in the region. 

Further information on other former mining-communities in Central Europe can be found in the resource below:

https://www.ioer.de/fileadmin/internet/IOER_Projekte/PDF/FB_L/Book_Publication_Post-Mining_Regions_in_Central_Europe.pdf