The Nordstern park in Gelsenkirchen is located on the site of a disused coal mine and is a mixture of carefully restored and modernised colliery buildings and landscaped gardens from a former National Garden Show. Industrial heritage and industrial nature; a place to relax and recuperate. It all fits together in a single harmony symbolic of the blend of past and present. The classical pithead frame and the modern steel arch bridge over the Rhine-Herne canal. The old red brick walls of the miners’ washrooms, the wages house and the warehouse now contain IT and logistic businesses, engineering offices and housing societies. The high quality of life on the old colliery site is further evidenced by the presence of a beer garden, a restaurant, a party area, apartments and modern single-family houses. Visitors from far and wide can find plenty of attractions on the broad-ranging areas of grass: from the so-called “Kinderland” with its huge adventure playground to the jungle gym and the beach volleyball area, to one of the largest model railway sites in the world. Ex-miners will take you back into the underground past along a 63 metre mining gallery. And a brilliant white amphitheatre (capacity 6,100) now stands on the spot where pitch black barges used to load their goods. Right next door there is a mooring berth from where visitors can continue their travels along the Industrial Heritage Trail on board a pleasure steamer in the direction of the Old Ship Lift in Henrichenburg or to the Gasometer next to the CentrO shopping mall in Oberhausen.
The Nordstern colliery once marked the most northerly mining point in the Ruhrgebiet. It dates back to the mid 19th century. In 1955 there were still 4,400 miners working here to bring around 1,200,000 tons of coal to the surface. The majority of the current buildings were built in 1930 to designs by the same team of architects who were responsible for the Zollverein Pit XII in Essen. Mining activities ceased here in 1993 and only four years later a National Garden Show transformed the ugly, abandoned industrial site into a sea of flowers. Now the Nordstern park is simultaneously a modern services centre, a lively residential area and a park for recreation.