RUB Bauwesen CompEng

_SAM9908On Friday, August 24th 2012, Prof. Stolpe, chairholder of the department of Environmental Engineering & Ecology, led our group of VGU-exchange students to an excursion to one of the biggest open pit mines of Germany: Garzweiler.

The bus drive to the site was a good opportunity for our students to learn more about environmental and ecological aspects of the surrounding nature by listening to Prof. Stolpe's interesting explanations.
The first stop was a small village called Kaster. The medieval town center not only gave an impression of how living in Germany was like in past times, but also served as an example for the defiance against its destruction and exploitation through the mine today. Here the inhabitants resisted the companies urging them to abandon their homes and hence managed to preserve their historic buildings.
Afterwards the group stopped at one of the viewpoints that provided a breathtaking outlook over the Garzweiler mine. Prof. Stolpe explained on the mining of lignite, the huge excavators and – of course – the huge  environmental impact of the mine and the respective measures taken against it.
The impact on the water balance and groundwater drawdown could be seen at many stations of the trip, e.g. many of the surrounding fields were filled with pumps.
Later on, before going to Aachen, the students had a quick lunch at a restaurant and also had the opportunity to view some practical measurements regarding the groundwater level in a natural reserve close to the mine.
In the area around Aachen the historical and touristic part of the tour began. Here the group visited the border triangle of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, before going to the city center of Aachen. In the city of Charles the Great, the Cathedral, the Town Hall as well as the University are only some examples of places worth visiting and so the students had some free time to decide themselves.
To sum it all up: Everyone had a great time and was greatly enjoying the trip. Special thanks to Professor Stolpe for organizing the tour and informing us about the environmental situation around the mining of lignite.