Coal mining in the Limburg region ended in the 1960s and 1970s. To preserve this history, the Dutch Mining Museum was opened 40 years later. It was initially located at Shaft II of the Oranje Nassau I mine in Heerlen, which was the last Dutch coal mine to close in 1974. The first coal was mined here in 1898. The museum included the shaft hall, the winding tower and the winding machine house.
Since 2022, the museum has been housed in the former 'Kneepkens' department stores in the centre of Heerlen. On four floors, each dedicated to a different theme, 'product islands' are set up like in a department store to tell the story of the mining era in Limburg. The ground floor is dedicated to mining and the miners. The first floor tells of the prosperity that the coal industry brought to the region, while the second floor depicts the unsafe and unhealthy working conditions. The top floor recalls the difficult situation after mining ceased and shows how structural change was managed.