Last year, I spent two days in Maasmechelen, in the Belgian province of Limburg. I visited Maasmechelen Village Outlet Shopping there, but also went hiking in Connecterra and walked around the old mine workers neighborhood. On my way home from Maasmechelen, I decided to stop at C-mine in Genk, another old mining site here in Belgium.
C-mine is a cultural and recreational site located on an old mining site, like be-MINE in Beringen. What makes it interesting is that some of the buildings have been renovated and repurposed, while another part of the site has been restored and turned into a museum about the mining activities that used to take place there.
The site now holds the museum, a restaurant, a movie theater, a cultural center and office spaces. There's also a School of Arts and a Fablab where you can learn techniques such as 3D printing.
Even if you decide to simply have a look around and not descend into the old mine shafts, it's a cool place to make a stop and grab a drink. If you're feeling sporty, you can always walk to the nearby terril and climb that to get a great view of the area.
The history of the Winterslag coal mine
In 1901 coal was discovered in Genk, a quiet village back then with around 3.000 inhabitants. Soon three mining sites were developed: Zwartberg, Waterschei and Winterslag. The mines did have some good years, but as was the case everywhere in Belgium, they too had to close. Zwartberg closed in 1966, Waterschei in 1987 (my year of birth!) and Winterslag in 1988.
Years went by as Genk city went looking for new opportunities for these mine sites. In 2001, the city of Genk bought the former coal mine Winterslag from LRM (“Limburgse Reconversie Maatschappij”), 4 years later the name “C-mine” was born.
C-mine Genk: creative hub, museum and meeting place
Today C-mine functions as a creative hub and meeting place just outside the center of Genk. You’ll find creative companies, restaurants, a cinema, a cultural center, etc. Beneath you’ll find an overview of the organizations currently present in C-mine.
Culture and entertainment
The C-mine Expedition starts in the former energy building of Winterslag and takes you on a trip through the old mine galleries, where you’ll see all sorts of installations which will tell you stories about the mines. Afterward, you get to climb the 60-meter high headframe that is located on the C-mine square. – (Afraid of heights? You don’t have to do this. There is another stop at 15 meters.) – Once you’re back in the energy building, you can walk around between all the different old machines.
The cultural center of the city of Genk does music programming, comedy, dance, circus, film, exhibitions, lectures, etc.
Labyrinth is an installation designed by the art and architecture duo Gijs Van Vaerenbergh – the designers behind the see-through church in Borgloon – on the C-Mine square. It is a real labyrinth, through which you have to navigate your way out.
The Erfgoedcel Mijn-Erfgoed wants to open up, preserve and promote the Limburg mining heritage as well as other cultural heritage of the region.
Euroscoop Genk or the Euroscoop cinema is part of the Euroscoop company chain and is one of the most beautifully located cinemas in Limburg – in the authentic setting of the mine site!
Address Euroscoop Genk: C-mine 1, Evence Coppéelaan 91, Genk
Opening hours Euroscoop Genk: Monday-Saturday from 1:30 pm , from 10 am on Sundays.
Telephone number Euroscoop Genk: 089 30 80 00
‘t Speelmijntje is an indoor playground for children aged 1 to 12 years. There’s a cafeteria so that (grand)parents can enjoy a drink while the children are enjoying themselves at the playground.
Wok Plaza Genk
Anyone looking for a delicious wok in Genk, usually ends up at Wok Plaza. This restaurant offers wok at their buffet counter, but you can get starters and desserts as well.
Brasserie Basic is a trendy brasserie which mainly serves Belgian dishes, but has a beer and wine tasting room as well. They offer lunch, as well as a quick bite, sweets and an extensive dinner.
Dining out in Genk before going to the movies? The Italian restaurant Ciné Città is located nearby the Euroscoop cinema. Don’t expect high cuisine, but a simple meal close to the cinema.
LUCA School of Arts
The LUCA School of Arts has a C-Mine Genk campus which offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in Audiovisual & Visual Arts and in Product design.
FabLab Genk is a production, experiment and research space. On Mondays and Tuesdays, classes take place in the FabLab, from Wednesday till Friday the Lab is open for people to use the machines for free (!).
You’ll find business spaces, a creative incubator, a design center, an exhibition space, a party room, a souvenir shop and a number of creative businesses at C-Mine as well.
Evence Coppeelaan 91
If you're looking for an apartment rather than a hotel, I would recommend checking airbnb. Sign up through my link and get a discount on your first stay!
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