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Project 2: Visitors’ Mine F60

Lying Eiffel Tower in Lusatia

Half a kilometre long, the disused F60 spoil conveyor bridge in Lichterfeld near Finsterwalde is the biggest mining construction ever built. A few similar bridges are still used for open-cast mining in Lusatia today. The Lichterfeld bridge has been turned into the »F60 Visitors’ Mine,« an engine for tourism in the region – tradition become innovation.

INITIAL SITUATION

Industrialisation and mining in the Finsterwalde-Lauchhammer region began in 1870. Then, during the GDR period, really large-scale lignite mining began at the Klettwiz open-cast mine. People from all over the new GDR moved into the region. The lignite fields around Klettwitz provided jobs for about 10,000 people, and homes for thousands of people – but at the same time, land appropriation and the demolition of communities cost 4,000 people their homes. Shortly before the reunification in 1989/90, Lichterfeld lost the greater part of its municipal area – nothing remains of the Bergheide district today.

The bulldozers and spoil conveyor bridges used at Klettwitz, and later in Klettwitz-Nord, grew larger and larger over the decades, until finally a gigantic F60-type conveyor bridge 500 metres long was put into service at Lichterfeld. The last bridge to be built in the GDR and developed and built by the then VEB TAKRAF Lauchhammer, it could remove spoil down to sixty metres above the coal seam, hence the designation F60. Although a decision had been made to end open-cast mining in 1990, the F60 was operated briefly in 1991, shutting down again thirteen months later. Lichterfeld was left standing right on the edge of the open-cast mine.

Like most of the region’s open-cast mines, this mine was taken over in 1994 by the federally-owned mine restoration company LMBV. »Restoration« largely meant the removal of mining equipment, and the F60 was scheduled to be blown up.

THE PROJECT’S PROGRESS

In 1995, local politicians began to debate Senftenberg planner Elke Löwe’s idea for preserving the F60. But who was going to finance the conversion of this giant steel construction into an attraction that visitors could walk around in? Who was going to run the F60 as a tourist concern, and how would the necessary support from authorities be organised? There was no relevant business data available, and not much experience of how the idea should be implemented in detail – meaning that initially the project had more opponents than supporters. In 1998, an expert assessment by the Deutsches Institut für Touristische Forschung Berlin answered the most important questions, thereby allowing the Bürgermeister of Lichterfeld-Schacksdorf and the Kleine Elster municipal federation to make a decision with confidence. Although there were still doubts, the most important condition for the purchase of the conveyor bridge had been met.

Looking back today, it was a fortunate coincidence that the state parliament decided to support an Internationale Bauausstellung in Lusatia around this time – creating a certain amount of pressure to produce tangible results as quickly as possible. With the help of the IBA and several committed regional players, the conveyor bridge was saved from demolition. The founding of the Förderverein F60 (F60 support association) in the spring of 2001 quickly clarified how the concern was to be run, and the LMBV’s numerous con-versions and safety measures allowed the bridge to begin its new life as a visitors’ mine and be taken over by the Lichterfeld-Schacksdorf community in May 2002. Since then, the Förderverein and the F60 Concept GmbH have run and marketed the F60.

The IBA supports both operators – particularly in marketing – and helps with public relations work. However, its marketing strategy did not create the now well-known phrase »Lying Eiffel Tower of Lusatia«: this distinction goes to the IBA’s executive director, Prof. Rolf Kuhn. In a newspaper interview in 1998, he compared the F60 with the famous Paris landmark because the Tower was originally erected solely for the duration of the World Exhibition 1889 but was eventually left standing and became a tourist attraction. It was hoped that the F60 would be a similar visitor magnet for Lusatia.
And that was how it turned out. In its first year, 70,000 people visited the F60 – thereby proving that the project worked! But that was just the beginning. To add to the F60’s attractiveness, the IBA enlisted the light artist Hans Peter Kuhn, to turn the F60 into a unique dusk light-and-sound artwork. The then Bundespräsident Johannes Rau opened the installation, and the illuminated F60 appeared in the media, becoming a symbol of the IBA and the region’s structural transformation.

A visitor and information centre plus restaurant was set up in a modernized breakdown wagon next to the F60 to help people to understand this regional transformation and to give a full picture of the region’s mining history. With the same aim in mind, the F60 was networked with the Bio-Towers and the Louisebriquette factory via the IBA project »ENERGIE Heritage Route of Lusatian Industrial Culture.«

The F60’s immediate surroundings are also being gradually reshaped. It now has a car park and an entrance building. A student workshop by BTU Cottbus and the IBA provided new innovative ideas for further developing the site, with Elke Löwe’s planning firm incorporating these ideas into the overall concept. These included a terraced open-air stage at the foot of the F60 – which, in summer, makes an impressive setting for a variety of cultural events, from rock festivals to techno spectaculars and opera performances. As of 2010, well over half a million people have visited the F60 – a success that all those involved have every reason to be proud of. Within a short space of time, about twenty jobs and two training posts have been created. Now, young people from Lusatia are being trained in leisure and tourism industry skills at the old mining conveyor bridge.

FUTURE PROSPECTS

2009’s development plan included the Lake Bergheide, 330 hectares wide and named after the former community of Bergheide. Its creation began in 2001, with the flooding of the former open-cast mine. Beaches for bathing, jetties for boats, holiday homes, and a camp site – and even a floating event and discovery centre – are planned. Thanks to the F60, project developers are very interested in this attractive and well-known location. The F60 Visitor’s Mine presently stands in solitary splendour in a moonscape, but within a few years it will be just one of many attractions for locals and tourists at the Lake Bergheide – albeit the biggest of them. The F60 will become a unique backdrop for a lively holiday destination, with autonomous energy production as a unique feature. This ravaged mining landscape site will largely be able to supply its own energy from renewable resources.
www.f60.de

Opening times

March-October, daily 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 pm
November-February 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.






Price

Guided tour Adults / teenagers Euros 6.00
Children and youths from 12 to 16 years/groups as from 20 persons/students Euros 5.00
Children from 6 to 12 years old / student groups (6th through 13th grade) Euros 3.00

Adress

Visitors' Mine F60
Bergheider Straße 4
03238 Lichterfeld







Our partners

Förderverein Besucherbergwerk F60

Approach

Go by car to Visitors’ Mine F60 or by public transportation:

VBB fahrinfo - Link (mit Vorbelegung)
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last update: 11/17/2013 14:20