Major Mining Sites of Wallonia

The Major Mining Sites of Wallonia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising four sites in Wallonia in southern Belgium associated with the Belgian coal mining industry of the 19th and 20th centuries.[1] The four sites of the grouping, situated in the French-speaking provinces of Hainaut and Liège, comprise Grand-Hornu, the Bois-du-Luc, the Bois du Cazier and Blegny-Mine.

Major Mining Sites of Wallonia
UNESCO World Heritage Site
LocationWallonia, Belgium
CriteriaCultural: (ii), (iv)
Inscription2012 (36th Session)
Area118.07 ha (291.8 acres)
Buffer zone344.7 ha (852 acres)
Coordinates50°26′7″N 3°50′18″E
Location of Major Mining Sites of Wallonia in Belgium


The site was recognized by the UNESCO commission in 2012 and is officially described:


During the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, mining and the heavy industry that relied on coal formed a major part of Belgium's economy. Most of this mining and industry took place in the sillon industriel ("industrial valley" in French), a strip of land running across the country where many of the largest cities in Wallonia are located. The named locations of this World Heritage Site are all situated in or near the area of the sillon industriel.

The mining sector in Belgium declined during the 20th century during deindustrialization and today the four mines listed are no longer operational. Today, they are each open to visitors as museums and are an important part of Belgian industrial heritage.


Title Image Location Description
Grand-Hornu Hornu, Province of Hainaut Complex of industrial buildings associated with coal mining which dates to the early 19th century. It was one of the first examples of town planning and is one of the world's oldest company towns.
Bois-du-Luc Houdeng-Aimeries, Province of Hainaut One of the oldest coal mines in Belgium, the mine closed in 1973. The site is preserved as an ecomuseum while the site is best known as a company town
Bois du Cazier Marcinelle, Province of Hainaut A coal mine from 1822 to 1967, the Bois du Cazier is best known as the site of a major mining disaster of 1956 in which 262 miners, many of them Italian migrant workers, were killed.
Blegny-Mine Blegny, Province of Liège A major coal mine in eastern Belgium which was the last to close in the province in 1980.

See also


  1. "UNESCO Adds Wallonia Mining Sites in Belgium to World Heritage List". Travel Pulse. 2012-07-17. Retrieved 2012-01-02.
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