Consolidation 3-4-9:

Urban impulses on former idle coal mine terrain in Gelsenkirchen-Bismarck


On a centrally located site in Gelsenkirchen-Bismarck, the Consolidation 3/4/9 mine was one of the biggest coal mines in the Ruhr region and formed the industrial focus of this district of Gelsenkirchen for over 130 years. Following its closure in the mid-1990s, the 27-hectare site remained disused and up to 8000 jobs were lost. Under the programme for the districts of Gelsenkirchen-Bismarck and Schalke-Nord, a number of characteristic buildings were saved and put to new uses. After more than ten years of planning and construction work, the redesigning and reuse of the former Consolidation 3/4/9 colliery site is now largely complete. The result is a unique ensemble of industrial monuments, modern artistic installations and new socio-cultural centres, surrounded by attractive open spaces for people of all ages.

Bismarck and Consol were pilot projects for an overall urban renewal plan for Gelsenkirchen, and the successfully integrated and participatory strategy has been expanded to other districts. Thus urban renewal is an important driving force for development in an industrial city dominated by structural change in the Ruhr region.

[Translate to English:] © Wiltrud Apfeld


Bismarck/Schalke-Nord as one of the pilot areas of the North Rhine/ Westphalia urban renewal programme "Districts with Special Renewal Needs" – subsequently the joint Federal-Länder programme "Social City" – seized the opportunity to "re-invent" the district with an integrated approach. This interlinked construction, investment, social integration, innovative, socio-cultural and labour market projects. The process was locally coordinated by the district office under the management of the Planning Department and in close cooperation with the Culture Department, the city building authorities, the Foundation for the Preservation of Industrial Monuments and Cultural History and the owners.


  • The aim was to use various interacting processes to stop the unfavourable trends in the district affected by structural change, and to set revaluation processes in motion.
  • The refurbishment and reuse of the disused colliery creates new facilities for the district and improves the quality of the living environment, while new networks support intercultural encounters and social coexistence.
  • The public are involved in all measures on a participatory basis.

[Translate to English:] © Stadt Gelsenkirchen


On the site, the Consol Park with the trend sport centre is taking shape, where the focus is on sport and Spiel. The colliery buildings, some of them classified as historic monuments, are being converted for new uses: the cultural area "kultur.gebietCONSOL" is being created in cooperation with the "forum kunstvereint", the initiative "Bergwerk Consolidation", the interest group of cultural musicians, and the "Forum2000".

Job seekers are trained and integrated by means of suitable courses.

The "Consol" theatre in the former ventilation building has developed into a well-known centre for children’s and youth theatre. The music rehearsal centre Consol 4, with 37 practice rooms used by more than 50 bands, is not only a collection of practice rooms, but also a location for free musicians.

Artistic installations with works by the Gelsenkirchen artist Werner Thiel can be seen in the machine houses. The "Bergwerk Consolidation" initiative shows its exhibits, and once a month it starts up the big steam-driven winding engine.

Large squares, an open-air stage and a festival site regularly provide a setting for events, sometimes lasting several days, and for temporary cultural events.

Consolidation 3/4/9 is once again the focus of the district.


Footpaths and cycle paths and a spacious system of steps provide connections with the surrounding parts of Bismarck. The “Forum 2000” is an important factor for vigorous continuation of the project. It organises thematic events, public festivities and information facilities on matters relevant to the local public. Information sharing between regional clubs, associations, initiatives and civil actors helps to ensure that local residents play an active part in shaping a site that was previously cut off from the district.

[Translate to English:] © Stadt Gelsenkirchen


Art and culture, sport and leisure games, trade, industry and new services, civic engagement by the new local associations, social integration projects, festivals and the Christmas market all help to turn the former colliery site into more than a new district centre. Rediscovered pride in what has been newly created is bringing positive momentum to the district, improving its image and strengthening the self-esteem of the people who live there.

Further Information

Re-inventing part of the city...
Bismarck/Schalke-Nord im Wandel
(pdf, 3.9 mb; 98 pp, German)

Kulturgebiet Consol


Published: 05/06/2014


Dr. Volker Bandelow
Head of Culture Department
T +49-(0)209-169-9100

Johannes Mehlmann
Manager, Forum 2000 e.V.
T +49-(0)209-1693335


Categories: Integrated urban development Participation and urban planning The social city
Regions: Europe Germany Gelsenkirchen


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