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Let the Day Begin


The clock struck 5.30, it was a brand-new day for every miner!

The miners woke up, got ready, and left the house. They used either train or bus to go to the mine

As they arrived at the Mine, they went straight into the changing room and started their routine before the shift.

Have you ever seen a big room with big chandeliers hanging on its ceiling? Well, this room almost looks like that! (except the shiny part of a chandelier).


This room was where it all began (and ended). All the daily activities of every miner before (and after) their shift was done here.


Can you guess what they did every day? Keep reading to learn about how the miners’ days began.


They changed from casual clothes (left) into uniforms (right)

Getting themselves ready was a very essential part of their daily working life. As it was very dangerous to work underground, for example due to the dust or air issues, being well-equipped was the answer! However, time was also money thus each miner only had five minutes to get ready.

First thing first, put the tokens

Right before they changed, miners needed to put their own tokens on the board. It was like taking attendance. The tokens on the board meant that the token’s owner was working underground. Each of the token had a set of numbers on it to signify the miner’s identity in the mine.


This procedure was very important to identify the workers underground if there was any accident happened on that day. Otherwise, they would not know who were inside and not.

coin board

Next, put on the uniform

Do you remember the chandeliers I mentioned earlier? They were actually clothes hangers allocated for every miner. Each of the miner used this object every day of their working life. Literally, they could not live without it.


There were several reasons for using a hanging locker rather than using a normal locker. First, They used to clean the floor every day and it was easier for the cleaners to clean if there was nothing on the floor. Thus, they did not need to move stuff around to mop the floor. Other than that, it was also designed this way to give more space for the miners to hang their outfits while working compared to the normal one. Additionally, each hanger was also designed with a soap container at the very top.


Explore 3D model:

It is a hanging locker allocated for each miner. You can also see the soap container at annotation 1. Take a tour by clicking the annotations as well as zooming in, out, and rotating to have a better sense of the hanger.


3D model created by Pincanny Poluan

Mining companies had rules on how to hang clothes correctly (picture on the left). Every miner would apply this rule every day after they put their uniform on.

They first opened the padlock with their key (picture on the right), let the chain bring the hanger down until it’s reachable, changed, then hung their clothes by following the rules given.

For the uniforms, they were made of materials like leather, ballistic nylon, cordura, kevlar, or other synthetics and equipped with special protection for areas like the elbows, knees, and shoulders (Mining Safety and Protective Clothing, n.d.).

Now, it was time to gather essential tools

After they put on their uniforms, they needed to gather their lamps and dust masks before they stepped into the elevator and went underground.

One was the lamp. Here is the lamp charger:

Due to the darkness they had to face underground, the lamp was an essential tool that miners took with them every day. They took their numbered lamp from its charger before getting into the elevator. More about the mine lamps will be explained on the Lamps page

miners take lamp


Dust Mask

Next was a dust mask. The air underground was very dusty because of the drilling process. The miners’ health was at risk when they breathed it in. Therefore, every miner needed to be sure they had their dust mask with them before they started work.

The masks posted a dilemma for the miners. The importance of wearing this mask was as high as the temperature underground. The heat made wearing the masks so uncomfortable that at times they hung the mask around their neck. More about health and safety issues is explained on the Health and Safety page.

Explore 3D Model:

This dust mask was one of the essential attributes of a miner that consisted of several parts. Take a closer look at the dust mask by clicking the annotations of the 3D Model (left) to know better about its components.

3D Model created by Pincanny Poluan

Can you imagine doing all of these procedures in only five minutes? Indeed, every miner’s day was extremely structured. They had to follow all the procedures and rules established by the mining company. Then after they changed and got their gear, they were ready to queue to take the elevator underground to start mining!

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.