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The Museum



                     Explore the Mijnmuseum’s 15-year history of exhibitions, projects, and collaborations in the following timeline.


The Birth

Thirty years after the closure of the Limburg mines, the Mijnmuseum finally opened its doors in 2005. It is situated on the site of the former Oranje-Nassau I mine, in the city of Heerlen. In the same year, a small collection from a former mine worker was purchased. This collection formed the foundation of what the museum’s inventory consists of today.

The exhibition

Since 2005, the exhibition of the Mijnmuseum has grown extensively due to the vast amount of public donations. The exhibition includes a rich selection of unique and authentic objects from the mining past. On the first floor, the museum displays various kinds of coal materials and photographs including underground scenes, surface images and aerial views of coal mines. On the second and third floors, the Museum’s object collection includes tools, safety and health equipment, lamps, models, clothing and trophies. It profoundly fosters visitors’ imaginations and interpretations toward a miner’s equipment, the space of a miner’s dressing room, the everyday routine of a miner’s work, and the story of the underground.

Mining Year

Since the closing of the coal mines in 1974, “coal mines” were rarely talked about by the local people. Forty years later, the stories of coal mines were brought to the surface. “ In 2015, mines suddenly became a hot topic”, said Simone Claessens, the current curator of the Mijnmuseum. In the same year, the city Heerlen and other municipalities in the Province of Limburg celebrated the year of The Mines; in remembrance of not only the difficult times that followed the closure of the mines, but also the progress that has been made since. The Mijnmuseum took on the responsibility of keeping the mining history alive by encouraging the local residents to share their own stories. As a result, people in the province gradually became more involved and proud to share their experiences, personal stories, and knowledge of the mining to the public.
Digital Collection

The project

In 2020, the Mijnmuseum collaborated on an academic project with the MA Digital Cultures progam from Maastricht University. The project focused on the creation of 3D models and their accompanying narratives regarding authenticity, transparency, aura and remediation. A wide array of mining objects, such as tools, lamps, safety equipment and statues were digitized in 3D. Different modalities, such as video, sound, image, and text, narrate the stories of the Dutch mines. Moreover, these multi-modalities contribute to the general narrative represented on the web space.

“You can say in the ugliness of Heerlen lays her beauty.”

Fons Bus
A volunteer at the Nederlands Mijnmuseum

"The digital keeps history alive, and everyone can hear, see, experience it no matter where or when."

Akvilė V.
A creator of the project

"The project is a way to honor the people who dedicated their lives to the underground!"

Paulo De Queiroz Golovattei
A creator of the project

"To understand the mining history of Heerlen is to understand who you are!"

Simone Claessens
The curator of the Nederlands Mijnmuseum

Ontdek meer op de website van het Nederlands Mijnmuseum.

Hebt U vragen over het museum, deze website, over het project van de Universiteit van Maastricht of een andere vraag, stuur dan even een bericht.