Eight questions for...

Serena L'hoest, interpreter and historical landmark educator

When I visit the World Heritage Site of Essen, what should I definitely not miss?

A guided tour of the Zollverein by me or one of my colleagues. That way you find out all you need to know about the architecture and the industrial and social history of the coal mine and its colliery. We use the original machinery, models, and multimedia installations to give people a hands-on experience of this World Heritage Site. Our range of specialized guided tours is extensive and covers everything from art tours to children's birthdays.

What do you particularly like here?

The immense variety of historical industrial plants, the outstanding architecture and art, the cultural offerings, and the nature of the Zollverein Park.

Do you have an insider tip?

The Palace of Projects by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov in the salt store of the colliery is a fantastic installation that fascinates me time and again.

What impressed you most during your first visit here?

The wonderful Doppelbock winding tower, an icon in the region, which crowns the "New Objectivity" architecture of Shaft XII by Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer.

Which time of the year is the most attractive here?

I can recommend any season: in the summer, there is a staggering view over the Ruhr area from the roof of the coal washing plant. In fall, the small forest by the mining pile lined with sculptures by Ulrich Rückriem is enchanting. In winter, you have to make use of the colliery ice rink. And in spring, I recommend taking a stroll along the Ringpromenade circular walk to enjoy the burgeoning nature around the industrial complex.

What else should I see here?

The Ruhr Museum in the coal washing plant of Shaft XII gives a comprehensive and ingeniously conceived demonstration of the natural and cultural history of the region. You could spend all day in this museum alone.

Visiting World Heritage Sites means working up an appetite. What regional specialty should I try?

A decent portion of fries. For more discerning palates the Zollverein canteen and the colliery café offer regionally inspired dishes.

And which World Heritage Site would you like to see one day?

The abandoned coal mining island of Hashima in Japan. The island isn't yet a World Heritage Site, but it has been proposed as one.

Serena L'hoest

comes from the Ruhr area - she was born and grew up in Essen.

Her psychology studies took her to Bochum and Paris. Today she lives in Essen and works as an interpreter and a historical landmark educator. One of her specialties: guided tours in French for architects and urban planners seeking information on the aftermath of deindustrialization and the subsequent fundamental structural changes in Essen and the Ruhr area - Germany's largest urban conurbation.



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