Useful Information

Location: Universität zu Köln in Köln. Below the Aula in the cellar. (50°55'28" N, 6°55'14" E)
Open: Tag des offenen Denkmals, second Sunday in September.
After appointment.
Classification: MineCoal Mine SubterraneaMuseum SubterraneaReplica Underground Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=40m
Guided tours:
Address: Barbarastollen, Institut für Arbeitsmedizin, Sozialmedizin und Sozialhygiene, Joseph Stelzmannstraße 9, 50924 Köln, Tel: +49-221-4784450, Fax: +49-221-4785119.
Prof. Dr. med. Claus Piekarski E-mail: contact
PD Dr. Thomas Erren E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.




The Barbarastollen in Cologne is not really a mine, it is a mine museum or artificial mine, a mine replica. It was created in 1932 by the painter and graphic designer Kurt Holl from Essen. The coal was from the coal mines near Aachen, the tools and machinery form mines all over Germany. The tunnel was intended for the students of the Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Fakultät (faculty of economic and social sciences) of the Handelshochschule Köln, which later became part of the University Cologne. It should teach them the technologies of coal mining. During the rheinisch-westfälischen Wirtschaftsausstellung (rhinian westphalian economic fair) between 01-APR-1933 and 30-SEP-1933, the tunnel was open to the public daily. Then it became part of the Museums für Handel und Industrie (museum of commerce and industry). It was somehow forgotten during World War II, people had more urgent problems.

The mine replica was rediscovered by accident in the early 1980s. A shelf was removed after decades, and the door behind was unknown. There was no room in the plan of the building, so the door was broken open. In 1984 Prof. em. Dr. Claus Piekarski organized the restauration of the tunnel with the support of the Ruhrkohle AG. The restauration took several years and the tunnel was finally reopened in the early 1990s.

Today the mine is owned by the Institut für Arbeitsmedizin, Umweltmedizin und Präventionsforschung (instutute for occupational, environmental and preventive medicine). The tours are held by the professors of the institute which also tell a lot about typical miners diseases, like silicosis. They explain the hardworking conditions underground. And while the mine shows the situation during the 1930s in Germany, the same situation still exists in many countries of the world.

The walls show layers of sedimentary rocks and coal seams. The tunnel is secured with wood, in the German and Polish style, and huge iron rings. There are the rails of a mine train on the floor with some mine cars. The equipment includes a conveyor belt, drilling machines, compressors, and a fully functional mine elevator in its cage. But the weirdest curiosity is the official mining permission for this fake mine.