Thorpark is a 10 km² area behind the former Waterschei mine. The area has so many qualities that it will become part of the National Park.
Here you will find everything that the Hoge Kempen has to offer: mining stone mountains in the middle of heathland and pine forests, a beautiful brook valley, juniper berries and sand dunes. A few striking buildings spice up the landscape: the As children's colony and the Waterschei coal mine (Thor Central). If you want to see what UNESCO's candidacy is all about, you will find a nice sample map here. You can already hike extensively, but there is not (yet) an entrance gate in the well-known recipe of the other gates.
In the future, Thor Central will have a function as an entrance gate. For now, you can visit this building that serves as an event centre, take a guided tour or have a drink or a snack in a beautiful historical setting. Thor Central is also the beating heart of a growing business and science park where technology, research, energy and innovation are central.
What to do?
Thor Central, the former main building of the mine is now a business and event centre. You can book a guided tour or just come for a look. Surrounding Thor Central is a 93 ha technology and science park.
The miners of vzw Het Mijn-Verleden (The Mining History) have transformed the former warehouse of the Waterschei coal mine into an exhibition that gives an overview of the history and the work in this coal mine. You can come and take a look or book a guided tour with a 'real' mine worker. Individual visitors can join a tour at set times. The mine depot café is the place to be for a drink. You can find more info here.
Stone men show the way to the top of the slag heap. Contribute to these stone stacks or make your own stone man. The path is 2 km long.
In 2021, the Steenmannetjespad will have a new look and you will encounter even more large and small stone men along the way. The finish of the walk is a breathtaking view of the Hoge Kempen National Park. Once at the top, you can catch your breath while enjoying the beautiful green view over the mine site.
Do you prefer to be guided to the top of the slag heap in an interactive way? Steentje, a fictitious stone man, makes your walk more interesting with tips and facts about heritage and nature along the way.
Through the ErfgoedApp you will discover the story of Steentje. Steentje knows everything about the heritage and nature in the area. On the tour you will discover a number of animal species that live in the National Park. Look for the skylark, the natterjack toad and the smooth snake and find out all about them! Oh and real sleuths? They will also find Steentje on the way!
Download the ErfgoedApp
Once in the ErfgoedApp, scan the QR code found on the starting board in Thor Park or below:
A snack and drink in the historic setting of Thor Central is possible:
- Restaurant Partaasch
- Brasserie Lampada
The Thor Park hiking area has 10 loops, a nature trail and the stone man trail. Six loops start at Thor Central, the other loops at entry points nearby.
Tip: The 11 km grey walk shows you all aspects of the UNESCO candidacy.
Opening hours Thor Central
André Dumontlaan 67, 3600 Genk
Monday to Saturday: 8.30 a.m. - 5.30 p.m.
+32 (0)89 699 599
Opening hours Mijndepot
- From 1 April to 31 October
- Tuesday to Friday 1 pm to 6 pm
- Saturday - Sunday from 1 pm to 6 pm
From 1 November to April: Saturdays and Sundays 1-6pm only
Closed on Christmas and New Year's Day and all Mondays
From Genk Station (NMBS) Thor Central can easily be reached by bus, line G1 (stop Mijn Waterschei).