Hidden Belgium: C-Mine

Hidden Belgium: C-Mine

When the Winterslag mine in Genk shut down in 1988, the city decided to turn the site into a vibrant creative hub. C-Mine, they called it. The C standing for creativity.

The impressive old mine buildings from 1917 have been preserved, including an engine house full of oily machinery, the lamp room and the managers’ building. Looming over the site, the two skeletal winding shafts with their enormous wheels rise above the rooftops as a reminder of Genk’s past.

You can wander around the vast machine hall with its beautiful tiled floor, elegant iron staircases and ancient control panels. The complex also incorporates a gallery, a brasserie and a tourist office.

It’s even possible to go down below the ground. The C-Mine Expeditie is a visitor attraction that takes you through brick ventilation tunnels where you are confronted with strange noises, visual special effects and even the smell of the mines. The experience ends with a stiff climb up a spiral staircase to the top of the winding tower, some 60 metres above the ground.

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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