Where 26 years ago, the Eisden coal mine was still working at full capacity, the rarest butterflies are now fluttering. You can enjoy a surprising landscape of 'hills and lakes' and hill tops with spectacular panoramas!
Until recently this site was known as Connecterra, but from the end of January 2021 the name was changed to Terhills, but the beauty of this area will remain unchanged. What is also new is that from now on you can walk in the area free of charge. Nature lovers can make a voluntary nature contribution.
Be surprised by a special piece of nature in Flanders.
What is there to do?
‘Terhills’ is the main entrance gate of the Hoge Kempen National Park. At the visitors’ lounge, you will find all the information you need to prepare your visit to the National Park.
The shaft of the former Eisden mine is an unmissable highlight. Climb the stairs and from 12 meters, you get a unique view of the surroundings as a reward. On the ground floor, the photo exhibition gives you a glimpse of the mining site's past.
Most beautiful panorama of Flanders
After the elimination of mining activity, nature was given free rein. ‘Terhills’ has four mining-stone hills, three of which are accessible. From their peaks, you have an unforgettable view of the surrounding landscape of the Meuse valley and the Hoge Kempen National Park. From the visitors’ lounge, the shortest route to the panorama of the long mining-stone hill is signposted. The panorama app explains everything you see in front of you. If you have more time and strong calf muscles, you can climb all three of them via the yellow walk.
Ecotron Hasselt University
When you visit the main entrance gate, you can't miss the Ecotron Hasselt University! The Ecotron consists of 13 high-tech ecosystem chambers in which different climate scenarios can be simulated. This research installation allows scientists to study the impact of climate change on ecosystems and biodiversity. Not coincidentally, because the main entrance is also the home of Hasselt University's International Field Research Centre.
Want to know more about the Ecotron? Book a Ranger for a visit behind the scenes of the Ecotron.
For secondary schools, "Het Ecotron Mysterie" is highly recommended!
A playground in the theme of the mine is good for hours of fun for small and big children. You can keep an eye on them from the terrace.
In the area
The main gateway to the National Park is part of the Terhills tourist-recreational destination.
Terhills NV, a subsidiary of the Limburg Investment Company LRM, has the task of transforming this site into a unique tourist destination. In 2011, 219 hectares of industrial land were transformed into nature (100 ha) and recreation (119 ha).
The beating heart of the site will be the holiday resort that Terhills is developing together with Center Parcs and will open in the spring of 2021. The Vulex pond has been given a fitting interpretation with the successful Terhills Cable Park: here you can wakeboard or water-ski in a safe and fun way. The former main building of the mine was transformed into the Terhills Hotel. In the 'Elaisa' wellness complex, everyone can relax.
In order to connect the different attractions in a sustainable way, a loop-shaped connecting road of 4.2 kilometres has been constructed. In the future, this will enable all visitors to move around the entire area easily by electric shuttle.
A little quieter, but also nearby is Maasmechelen Village, a top spot for shoppers.
Hotel and catering
Range of hikes
The ‘Terhills’ hiking area boasts five signposted hiking loops.
In a nutshell:
- the most beautiful panorama of Flanders
- ponds and mining-stone hills
- mining history
- challenging climbs
Would you rather go exploring with a Ranger? Click here
It is not possible to cycle in 'Terhills' itself. The paths are only accessible for hikers
Open daily from 10.00 a.m.
Closed at 6.00 p.m. between April and September
Closed at 5.00 p.m. between October and March
Access to the area will be free from 2021 onwards.
Nature lovers are invited to voluntarily donate a financial contribution.
‘Terhills’, main gateway to the Hoge Kempen National Park
Zetellaan 54, 3630 Maasmechelen
T: +32 (0)89 44 04 44, info@’Connecterra’.be