Pott Life

Photographer Reinhard Krause was wandering around the "Ruhrpott" (the coal and steel mining district in North-Rhine-Westphalia) with his camera in the mid-80s and made these interesting photos.
Admittedly, the above picture is a bit misleading and irrelevant, but it´s an attention grabber. No?

Watching these pictures, which he divided into sections such as "Landscape", "Trade-fairs" (which mostly consist of doggy-shows), "Pubs", "Celebrations", "City" and "Fairgrounds", you´ll see a world that seems strange and alien. Almost outlandish. Unless, of course, you have been there or you were brought up in a similar part of the world. But is the north of England or Pittsburgh comparable to the "Pott"?

The "Rhine-Ruhr Area" with its coal mines and steel mills and dense cities was almost levelled during WW2.
While the cities were mostly gone, the factories and mills have been saved from the bombs, because they were so valuable.
With the help of imported foreign workers, who came from Turkey, Greece and Italy, the area was quickly re-build. While the chimneys were smoking again, the cities would become a hasty hodge-podge of half baked architectonic ideas.
The need for decent housing left no time for decent architecture.

Universities would be build but by the mid-eighties the new won prosperity would crumble again. Coal mining had become too expensive. Steel mills were closed down, dismantled and shipped to China to be re-assembled. Naturally this happened without the workers.
"Structural change" was asked for. While the Cities tried to establish some sort of faux "Silicon Valley"-infra structure, a huge part of the population was unemployed and spent their days wandering around "re-naturated industry parks", which looked like amusement park ruins from an extinct race of giants.
The odd thing about these pictures is that they don´t look dated or old. Despite being around 25 years old, these photos just look strangely familiar, yet totally alien.

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