Why World Heritage?
In certain places in the Hoge Kempen, you can see thousands of years of history in one glance. Since mankind has always had a great impact on the landscape, what you see today is never 'pure nature'. For centuries, farmers have scraped the top layer and sheep have grazed the meadows. As a result, you can still admire vast purple heathland in the Hoge Kempen. The mining industry also left its mark on the landscape. From the mining-stone hills you can enjoy a beautiful panorama of the garden cities. Marvel at this patchwork in which geology, historical land use and industrial development can be read like a book. The pages are still visible and that is what makes the Hoge Kempen unique in a densely populated Western Europe. We are firmly convinced that the Hoge Kempen National Park and the adjacent mining sites deserve a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Are you with us?
Towards Unesco recognition
The National Park and the surrounding mining areas are today on UNESCO's Indicative World Heritage List.
This does not yet mean recognition as a World Heritage Site, but a candidate dossier has already been submitted that maps out and visualises the entire area.
In January 2018, a comprehensive candidate dossier was already submitted to UNESCO for the first time. This proposal was assessed in 2019 by experts from around the world. This resulted in a wealth of information that will be processed in 2020. It will be investigated how the comments of these experts can be met.
They were very impressed by the great care that the region takes of its heritage and by the determination of the municipalities and natural heritage associations to look after this exceptional story.
See the Hoge Kempen through a heritage lens?
It is difficult to predict what the outcome will be, but, with or without recognition, the area is definitely worth a visit! We have selected a few highlights that are definitely worth a visit! You can explore on foot or by bike.
Don't forget your heritage glasses!