Alsdorf is a mining community north of Aachen and close to the borders of Belgium and the Netherlands. It is built around an ancient castle and has a complex political history have belonged at different periods to the duchies of Limburg, Jülich and Burgundy. It became part of Prussia in 1815 and now lies within the land of Nord-Rhein Westfalen.
Coal mining at Alsdorf lasted for about 150 years. Extraction began in 1849, and two years later the Grube Anna (Anna mine) was sunk. The second worst coal mining disaster in German history occurred at Grube Anna II pit on 21 October 1930, when 271 people were killed. The last mine in Alsdorf ceased to produce coal in 1992, and since that time the centre called Energeticon has been adapted from its surface buildings.
The exhibitions are concerned with the history and future of Man’s use of energy. Visitors see displays illustrating the relationship between the sun and the earth, the history of mining, and the working conditions of miners. They pass through a replica of a 140 m long mining gallery which ends in the Kauegebaude (chewing – i.e. thoughtful reflecting - building) which provides an opportunity for contemplating the future of energy. Remaining features of the mine include a water tower, steam winding engines, an electrically-operated winding machine of 1907 and a plinthed steam locomotive.