Places without return Places without return
Places without return
Foto: Johannes Twielemeier


14. May 2010 – 12. September 2010

Cabinet Exhibition


Photo Works by Johannes Twielemeier

In 1984, the Rheinbraun energy group began planning Garzweiler II, the expansion of the existing Garzweiler I lignite opencast mine between Aachen and Düsseldorf. Here, on a total area of 114 square kilometers, the largest opencast lignite mining area in Europe will be created by 2044.

More than 7,500 people in 13 villages will have to make way for the conversion, which means that the affected villages Inden, Otzenrath, Spenrath, Pesch, Holz etc. will be resettled or have been resettled in recent years. Although highly controversial regarding energy policies, the resettlement of the villages began in the year 2000 and gradually transformed an entire region into a ghost landscape of empty houses and orphaned streets. About 70% of the affected citizens have accepted Rheinbraun's offer and moved to newly developing villages. There they built new houses with the financial "compensation" they received.

From 2002 to 2009, photographer Johannes Twielemeier documented the effects of the "Garzweiler" opencast lignite mine in the Lower Rhine region. Thirteen communities will be sacrificed by 2045. Twielemeier's pictures show a landscape in agony. Houses, churches, stores, garages, streets, sports facilities and cemeteries have been abandoned by the inhabitants and are waiting for the excavators.  Along with the villages, a part of the regional identity will also disappear into the gigantic pit forever.

In calm, precise color photographs, Twielemeier tries to secure these relics.


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Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V.

Zentralinstitut für Sepulkralkultur

Museum für Sepulkralkultur

Weinbergstraße 25–27
D-34117 Kassel | Germany
Tel. +49 (0)561 918 93-0

Die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien
Hessisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst
Kassel Documenta Stadt
Deutsche Bischofskonferenz