Hidden Belgium: Art in a former coal mine

Hidden Belgium: Art in a former coal mine

A huge mine complex on the edge of Genk has been turned into a magnificent centre of contemporary culture.

The impressive old mine buildings from 1917, known as C-Mine, have been preserved, including an engine house full of oily machinery, the lamp room and managers’ building, as well as two skeletal pit heads.

The complex now incorporates a cinema, several restaurants, a tourist office and an impressive maze.

The old industrial buildings are the setting for a solo show by the Brussels artist Marianne Berenhaut (until 16 January 2022). At the age of 87, she is finally getting recognised by the art establishment for her stunning sculptures that use old furniture salvaged from junk shops or dumped in the Brussels streets.

Berenhaut lost both her parents and her brother in the Holocaust. The experience of loss can perhaps be seen in her artworks featuring broken doors and abandoned children’s toys. The brutal machinery rooms of C-Mine provide a stunning setting for this intriguing artist.

Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.


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