Major Wallonia mining site becomes a World Heritage site


As a group, the Grand-Hornu, Bois-du-Luc, Bois du Cazier and Blegny-Mine sites appear alongside other Wallonian properties (lifts on the historic Canal Centre, belfries, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Tournai and neolithic mines of Spiennes) that already appear on the prestigious World Heritage List of sites.

The four sites together form a coherent whole, justifying their inclusion as a set. The label properly recognises the history, diversity and wealth of these major mining sites in Wallonia, and the region's mining heritage in general. From the architecture at the Grand-Hornu, to the social life of Bois-du-Luc, the memorial at Bois du Cazier, and expertise at Blegny-Mine, they meet Unesco's criteria of integrity and authenticity.

“Among the oldest and most significant in Europe, the four coal mines of Wallonia bear witness to an early centre for the spreading of technical, social and urban innovation during the industrial revolution. They subsequently played a major part in technical and social leadership, up to recent times. Finally, they were one of the most important places for interculturality, emerging from mass industry by way of the participation of workers coming from other regions of Belgium and Europe, and later from Africa” (Criterion II).

“All four mining sites in Wallonia offer a remarkable, complete example of the industrial mining world of continental Europe, at the various stages of the industrial revolution. They provide significant evidence of the industrial and technological components, urban and architectural styles, and social values, especially after the Bois du Cazier accident” (Criterion IV).

A well-deserved recognition for the world of work and its underground miners: the “gueules noires”.

En 2017, le Bois du Cazier a rejoint le centre antique d'Athènes, le Palais impérial de Vienne, ou encore le chantier naval historique de Gdansk...

The Bois du Cazier given European Heritage status


Joining the ancient heart of Athens, the Imperial Palace of Vienna, or the historic naval dockyard of Gdansk, the former Marcinelle coal mine is added to the list of sites bearing the “European Heritage Label”, awarded by the European Commission.

The sites labelled “European Heritage” represent landmarks in the creation of today's Europe. From the dawn of civilisation, to the European Union as we know it, these sites celebrate and symbolise European values, history, integration and ideals. Since 2013, sites have been chosen for their symbolic value, the part they have played in European history, and the activities they offer in bringing the European Union and the Europeans together.

The disaster at Bois du Cazier was the trigger for the “Conference on safety in coal mines”, initiated by the Council of Ministers of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). This examined the impact of major accidents in the various sectors, considering protection against fire damp and fires, and most importantly led to the formation of a “Permanent body for health and safety in mines”.

In 2018, the Bois du Cazier was awarded the “European Heritage Label”. This distinction is awarded to institutions for the part they have played in European history, as well as the associated educational activities intended for young people.

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