It looks like the Eiffel tower, only it’s called F60 and is situated in the Lausitz countryside near Lichterfeld. We’re talking about the largest existing overburden conveyor gantry which has ever been built. Now it’s the star attraction at the F60 visitor colliery. It doesn’t take you underground but up into the sky. For you can climb this steel colossus – under the guiding hand of experienced guides - as part of a round tour of the site. The high point is a viewing platform 80 metres above the ground. From here you can gaze out over the wasteland which used to be the Klettwitz-Nord brown coal surface mine until 1992. Now nature is gaining ground once more, thanks to Lake Bergheid which was created from one of the dug-out pits. Deliberate flooding activities are ensuring that the water-level continues to rise and it will soon be the centre of a large recreational area. A new world is gradually being created from a landscape of craters - a world which links the industrial past to the pleasures of natural recreation. F60 is literally and metaphorically the bridge to the future. At dusk its massive steel outline is impressively illuminated in a son-et-lumière staging. Anyone who takes one of the popular evening guided tours might imagine they had been transported onto a spaceship just before the launch.
Was the F60 doomed from the start to go down in history as a technical dinosaur? 11,000 tons of steel over a length of 502 metres and made to shift up to 29,000 cubic metres of earth per hour – and now it’s just a heap of scrap metal? Work on constructing the gigantic machine began during the time the region was still a part of the old East Germany (DDR), and it first went into operation in 1991. The problem then, of course, was that the DDR had ceased to exist. And that was also the death-knell for the F60 – after only 13 months. The mining company’s original plan was to blow it up, take it apart and get rid of it. But things have all turned out quite differently…
Around 150 years ago brown coal was the principle source of existence in the Lausitz region. It was widely mined and as a result many parts of the region were soon transformed into a lunar landscape. In 1949 surface mining began at Klettwitz. Nine years later DDR engineers developed so-called standard conveyor gantries. Each new version was larger than its predecessor and they reached their zenith in the F60 type. Of the five F60s originally constructed one is used as the F60 visitor colliery. That the “horizontal Eiffel tower in the Lausitz” is still there, is due to the commitment of a handful of people from Lichterfeld and the surrounding region. In 2000 they succeeded in making the colossal industrial monument the flagship of a new international housing project in the Fürst-Pückler-Land. The concept behind the project also includes changing the old brown-coal surface mine at Klettwitz-Nord into a quasi-natural recreational landscape. In 2001 work began on flooding the future Lake Bergheid, and in May 2002 the F60 visitor colliery was officially opened. Plans for the coming years include floating houses, a harbour, bathing beaches and a village of beach huts. In addition there are already plenty of sporting events, rock concerts, musical galas and opera performances taking place on the site. The steel giant with the name F60 is attracting more and more visitors. It is a unique legacy of a past industrial age and a pointer to the radical process of structural transformation which is taking place in the region.
|Recommended duration of visit:||2 Hours|
|Duration of a guided tour:||90 Minutes|
|Access for persons with disabilities:||For details see website|
|Infrastructure for children:|
|Visitor centre on site:||yes|
|Gift and book shop on site:||yes|
16 March to 31 October:
1 November to 15 March:
Wednesdy - Sunday 11am-4pm