Bois du Cazier – Charleroi, Belgium - Atlas Obscura
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Bois du Cazier

Charleroi, Belgium

This former coal mine, now a fascinating museum, was the site of Belgium's worst mining disaster.  

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Today, we are now more aware of the effects of burning coal on the environment, and the preservation of coal mining history may seem a bit strange. However, coal’s place in the development of technology during the Industrial Revolution can’t be ignored. Also, those who risked their lives working and developing these mines were crucial to the creation of the modern world. 

This former coal mine near the town of Marcinelle, now a suburb of Charleroi, Belgium, closed in 1967 and reopened in 2002 as a museum. 

The mine is also known as the site of Belgium’s worst mining disaster. On August 8, 1956, a fire occurred in the shaft started by a mishap in the winding operation. The fire spread throughout the mine and 262 miners lost their lives, most from carbon monoxide poisoning. Many of the workers were foreign guest workers from many different nationalities, although many were Italian.

The museum consists of memorials dedicated to those that perished in the disaster, and also features a mining/steelmaking museum, a glass museum, and a small wooded park constructed on the three slag heaps.

The Bois du Cazier is one of four mining historical sites located in the Walloon region of Belgium listed as a World Heritage Site. It’s also part of the European Route of Industrial Heritage.

Know Before You Go

Standard adult admission to the whole site including the two museums is €8.


Free on the first Sunday of the month.


Opening times vary, check the website.

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Dr Alan P Newman
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