Germany: North Rhine-Westphalia

Historischen Institut der Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Institut für Industriearchäologie, Wissenschafts- und Technikgeschichte (IWTG) der TU Bergakademie Freiberg.

Im Rahmen des DBM-Projekts "Vom Boom zur Krise: Der deutsche Steinkohlenbergbau nach 1945" findet eine internationale englischsprachige Fachtagung statt. Sie beschäftigt sich mit der Bedeutung des Steinkohlenbergbaus in den Energiewenden nach 1945 und den vielschichtigen gesellschaftlichen Transformationsprozessen, die in Folge der Veränderungen auf dem Energiemarkt auftraten.

During the Industrial Revolution coal was Europe’s most important energy source for both homes and industries. At the time European coal mining created strong regional industrial identities and mentalities, as well as industrial images and imaginaries in the eyes and minds of external observers. Such identities and ideas of coal, would go on to shape industrial landscapes and communities.
Coal mining in Europe was thrown into crisis after World War II due to competition from external sources of coal, crude oil and natural gas. This incipient transformation of the energy market began accelerating in the 1970s with the emergence of new alternative forms of energy such as nuclear power. Although the regions dominated by heavy industry faced up to these challenges in various ways, they were unable to prevent deindustrialisation which resulted in pit closures in the second half of the 20th century. The remains of coal mining are, in many cases, a clearly visible presence in contemporary environments. Mining is widely commemorated through the creation of heritage, and the continuation of industrial culture and traditions.

Against this background, the Boom – Crisis – Heritage conference will address coal mining in the period after 1945.
Its aim is to consider the multilayered processes of social change that were triggered by transformations within the energy market from international and comparative perspectives. Rather than restricting the scope to a study of coal mining, the conference will also cover coal’s competitors as well as the consumers and users of the various forms of energy produced. This broad sweep is designed to enable the presumed existence of unique paths of development to be confirmed and their specific regional and national characteristics to be elucidated.