Visit of the Rodolphe Tile, former potash mine of Alsace


Visiting an old mine, a boring activity? This is one of the most memorable visits I've made. The Rodolphe Tile is one of the mines of the potash basin north of Mulhouse, exploited by the company of the Mines of Potash of Alsace from 1910 to 2002 (from 1911 to 1976 for the Rodolphe Tile located at Pulversheim).

Laurène is the blog's creator. Originally from Brittany but now living in Alsace, she has fallen in love with her adopted region and loves exploring its every nook and cranny to unearth great ideas to share with you!

You have certainly already heard about it or seen a poster (the one with a stork on a blue background, drawn by Hansi: see below in the pictures.) With 24 shafts, these mines occupied an area of 222 km2 and were one of the most flourishing industries in Alsace. The Rodolphe Tile is one of these mines: it has two different shafts, both now closed.

What is the use of Alsatian potash?

The potash from Alsace was mainly used as fertilizer for agriculture.

On the tracks of the potash mines

Visiting the Rodolphe Tile is not the same as going underground as you can do with the old silver mines for example. On the other hand, it is to plunge into this part of history, to discover the life and the working methods of the men who worked there and to discover the various techniques of exploitation of potash. The visit is led by a former miner, member of theRodolphe Group association which strives to preserve and rehabilitate the Rodolphe Tile for educational purposes. It is indeed the only mine in this area whose buildings have been preserved, all the rest has been demolished.

I can tell you that hearing a former miner tell you about his daily work in the mine is a unique moment that I strongly recommend: it is fascinating, striking and it makes you put your working conditions into perspective! Even if the miners were proud of their work (and they should be), that they had some social benefits and that there was apparently a nice solidarity among them, it was an extremely difficult and dangerous job. Imagine that it was about 50 degrees in the mine, which was almost 1,000 meters underground!

Guided tour of the Carreau Rodophe in Pulversheim

Guided tour of the Rodolphe Tile Factory lasts about 2h30 (it can be shorter or longer depending on the time you have in front of you), during which you enter the buildings, observe the machines, look at reconstitutions, listen to explanations about the extraction of potash, the daily work in the mine… A checkroom (“room of the hanged men”) and a lamp room have also been reconstituted by the association.

It is not an aseptic museum, it is a place that has lived, was left a little abandoned and is gradually reviving thanks to the patient work of the volunteers of the association. It is really a place to discover! Many thanks again to Thierry for the visit.

  • Guided tour by a former miner: he really knows what he is talking about!
  • Impressive location
  • Discovery of a part of Alsatian industrial history
  • Possibility of visits by appointment
  • You should not expect a visit to a modern museum (personally I prefer the place as it is, as a testimony of the past, but I warn you!)

My photos of the visit of the Rodolphe Tile