Sunday 17 November 2019
From 13h00 until 19h30
Blegny Mine, East Belgium
Transportation by 4* luxury coach
At Expat Club we like to learn how things work and visit contemporary and historical industrial sites. Today we are again digging into Belgian industrial history by visiting a genuine coal mine. It is our second visit after an unforgettable experience back in 2015. The roots of the Blegny Mine between Liège and Maastricht go deep. The first hole was dug in 1779 and operations went on until 1980 when the mine was closed down by the government. Since then it serves as a tourist destination and gets consistently very high reviews (4.5 stars on TripAdvisor, 4.4 on Google). Also our friends from Cheeseweb were impressed with their visit. In 2012 the Blegny-Mine was ranked a UNESCO World Heritage site together with 3 other major mining sites in Wallonia: Bois du Cazier, Bois-du-Luc and Grand-Hornu. This is a recognition of the role the mine played in Belgium’s industrial history and an acknowledgment of the hard lives of the miners.
What is included?
- Transportation by 4* luxury coach
- Bottled water (outbound trip)
- Entrance fees
- Guided tour mining museum (1 hour)
- Guide tour through coal mine (2 hours)
- A great group of international people
- A lifetime expat memory
Bus departure points
Place Schuman (bus stop next to KBC bank on roundabout)
Who can join us?
Expat Club is open to everyone who feels like joining an open-minded international group of expats and Belgians (we don’t have cliques of people). We welcome:
- Members & non-members
- Expats & (international) Belgians
- All ages, including children on most trips
- Singles / couples / retirees / friends / colleagues / families
How to add a child ticket?
Families are more than welcome on this trip. Children up to 18 years will get a discounted price of just €40. There is a minimum age of at least 6 years old for this trip. Also, you should be aware we will be underground for about 1,5 hours, and will be in smaller spaces with less light. Unless you suffer from extreme claustrophobia there is no reason for concern.
Practical information for participants
Not yet available, check on Wednesday before departure
As with any Expat Club trip our schedule is carefully designed so we can optimally see all local destinations. Still, unforeseen circumstances, such as traffic jams, may influence our program. This rarely happens, but rest assured your host, the bus driver and the Blegny Mine will do their best to give you the best possible experience.
13h00 – Departure Place Schuman
14h15 – Arrival Blegny
15h00 – Guided tour mining museum
16h00 – Guided tour mine
18h00 – End program
19h30 – Return Brussels
In 2012 the Blegny-Mine was ranked a UNESCO World Heritage site together with 3 other major mining sites in Wallonia: Bois du Cazier, Bois-du-Luc and Grand-Hornu. This is a recognition of the role the mine played in Belgium’s industrial history and an acknowledgment of the hard lives of the miners.
After arrival we’ll first visit the mining museum together with a professional guide. We begin with the video-show “A stone that burns” (20 minutes), which really impressed the 2015 Expat Club group. The museum itself deals with eight centuries of coal mining. After the museum there is some time to visit the slag heap. On top you will have an amazing view of the wider surroundings of Blegny.
During the final part of our visit we go into the mine itself. Although the lowest part is over 500 meters deep into the ground, we will “only” go to 30 to 60 meters into the ground to explore the various tunnels and galleries. To ensure we are fully prepared we first have to gear up. Everybody must wear a special jacket and a helmet with a light.
During our tour a professional guide will walk us through the mine and shows us the various equipment that was used to knock down coal and various other machines. We will learn about what it was like to work in the “Black Holes”, how hard the work was, and how the miners were working together, day and night.
The tour also allows us to see the washing and sorting equipment (not for the miners, but the coal). The process to create coal is maybe less obvious than you might think. So lets explore how it’s done and see some of the machinery in action. It may surprise you that virtually nothing has changed since the last load of coal was dug up in 1980, not even the lamps that continuously light up Saint Barbe, the patron saint of the miners.
We end the tour around 18h00. This visit includes the climbing of some long stairs (130 steps max). You should be able to do this. Tens of thousands of people visit this mine every year, and it is accessible to the general public, so you don’t have to worry about safety or having to crawl through small spaces. Needless to say, you should not suffer from (severe) claustrophobia, but if you don’t there is nothing to worry about.
We are leaving in the early afternoon from Place Schuman with a 4* luxury coach with on-board toilet, DVD system with several flatscreens, and comfortable reclining chairs with extra leg space. The drive is not too long, we should be there within 1,5 hours only.