Domaniale Mine

Domaniale Mine (about 1815 - 1969)
Production: 37.990.000 ton
Location of mine site: Kerkrade
Number of shafts : 6

Coal was found in the region of Kerkrade (the Land of Rode) since Medieval times. Center of the coal mining in the region was at first the valley of the Worms river, which had cut deep in the surrounding earth, and had cut through several coal seams. In later times the abbey Kloosterrade became a center of the local mining industry, and the abbots of Kloosterrade became wealthy.

In the second half of the eithteenth century the abbott of Kloosterrade appointed several technically skilled people from the coal district of Liege in his service, which led to an increase in coal production and mining skills. The most important mine in the region flooded almost daily, but the new technicians made use of the water power of the Worms river to drive pumps, which kept the mine dry. In 1789, the French Revolution initiated the end of the power of the Abbey, . When in the beginning of the 19th century French troops occupied the Netherlands, they nationalized the mines of the Abbey. They were called "Mines Domaniales". When the French departed the mines fell to the new Dutch Kingdom.

In 1845, when King William II became king of the Netherlands, he proposed to give the mines in lease to the concessionaries of the iron railway from Maastricht to Preussia. The Dutch Parliament agreed readily, as the mines were not very profitable. The railway company was named the Aachen-Maastricht Railway Company. The mines became more or less German in this way. The lease contract however put a limit ot the amount of coal to be mined, probably to limit the Preussian influence to a certain extent. The Railway Company used the mined coal itself, as for the rest there was little market for coal, and the mines were neither extended, nor modernized.

Increasing use of steam engines in th 19th century led to an increased demand for coal, in the 1860's several new mining concessions were applied for. The Dutch government agreed with two, the concession Willem and Sophia. It was however very difficult to mine the concessions, and nobody succeeded in drilling a shaft (see for further information: Willem-Sophia Mine). The Domaniale Mine was not extended however.

Its concession was however eventually combined with the concession of the small former Neuprick mine at Bleijerheide, Kerkrade. The Neuprick mine (started 1852) was closed in 1904, after severe flooding. The Neuprick mine was property of the Pannesheide Mine Union. The Neuprick mine was connected underground to the Voccart mine in Pannesheide. In the area of the Neuprick mine coal was mined since 1645.

In 1919, after several years of negotiations on the further development of the Domaniale Mine, the Railway company and the Dutch Government decided to end the lease of the Domaniale Mine and leave further mining to the government . The shareholders of the Railway Company did not agree. The most important shareholder was a Rotterdam based coal shipping consortium. This consortium now leased the mine. In 1925 the name Aachen-Maastrich Railway Company was changed into Domaniale Mijn Maatschappij NV (Domaniale Mine Company Ltd.). So it remained until the 1960's.

The mine was actually never very profitable, and in 1966 the Dutch Government bought the majority of the shares of the consortium. The mine however was almost at its end. The concession, partly on German soil, was almost exhausted. According to calculations made at that time, the amount of coal was sufficient until approximately the 1980's, but one of the oldest European coal mine was closed in 1969. Only the Nulland shaft has been preserved as a monument until today.