Het Hoge Kempen ruraal-industrieel transitielandschap | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 4, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 2468-2187
  • E-ISSN: 2468-2195


The Hoge Kempen rural industrial transition landscape: a layered landscape of Outstanding Universal Value?

Up until the beginning of the 20th century, the eastern part of the Belgian province of Limburg was a sparsely populated and not very productive part of the country. The dominating heathland was maintained with sheep, which were an essential part of a small-scale extensive farming system.

This all changed when coal was discovered in 1901. Seven large coalmines were established in a few decades, each one employing thousands of coal-miners. This also meant that entire new garden cities were built, to house the coal-miners and their families. The confrontation between the small-scale traditional land-use and the new large-scale industrial developments defines the landscape up to today. The scale and the force of the turnover are considered unprecedented for Western Europe, which is why it is being presented by Belgium for inclusion in the World Heritage List.


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