Jochen Tack, Stiftung Zollverein

‘Change with an Impact’: Regional Industrial Heritage as pan-European legacy

Until October 15, an exhibition at Zollverein UNESCO World Heritage Site illustrates the changes that Europe’s industrialized regions went through

The exhibition ‘Change with an Impact’, developed by the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH) in co-operation with the Zollverein Foundation, focuses on regional industrial monuments and museums. The six featured ERIH regional routes range geographically from Lusatia to Catalonia and illustrate the impact that even small industrial plants can have on regional landscapes and social conditions. On the other hand the visitor learns about the close links between individual sites, thus contributing to the diversity of European industrial heritage.

‘Today industrial heritage sites are highly attractive as lively cultural hotspots’, said ERIH president Prof. Dr. Meinrad Maria Grewenig at the opening reception, addressing 60 guests from Germany and abroad. The following moderated discussion revolved around the benefit of industrial heritage tourism for the featured regions and illustrated the potential of ERIH regional routes in this context.

The exhibition especially aims to look beyond regional and national borders. In fact, industrialisation never was a purely national phenomenon but one that crossed borders from its very beginning. Each industrialised region has its own specific features. South Wales, for instance, is considered to be the first industrial region of the world where around the mid-19th century more people worked in collieries and factories than in the agricultural sector. Mining was and still is the leading industry in Silesia, whereas Holland successfully pioneered the technology of land reclamation. Textile factories thrived in Catalonia, the landscapes in Lusatia were dug up by giant lignite mines, and even now the Styrian Erzberg is a centre of ore mining and smelting.

Regional routes, like the ones showcased in the exhibition ‘Change with an Impact’, illustrate the links between individual sites and keep the memory of industrialization alive. In this context, each monument represents a small tile in the mosaic of Europe’s industrial heritage. The international aspects of industrialisation are rarely presented today at industrial monuments and attractions. ERIH wants to change that. The exhibition is a step in this direction, as well as many other events that will be launched by ERIH in preparation and as part of the European Cultural Heritage Year (ECHY) 2018.
‚The exhibition is an inspiring call to experience our European industrial heritage‘, the ERIH president concluded. The setting of the exhibition is provided by the Portal of Industrial Heritage on Shaft XII. The displays that are inaugurated at Zollverein today will be displayed whenever the exhibition space, a former circular Dorr-type thickener, is not required for other purposes.

Photo Gallery of Launch Event
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