Le Bois du Cazier is a former coalmine located, near Charleroi, in the south of Belgium in a green hollow thanks to its three spoil heaps. The site is now a museum devoted to coal, iron and glass laid out in three areas. There, moreover 60.000 visitors per year discover the story of the industrialisation of Wallonia, work and life of the coalminers, 8th August 1956’disaster and the nature on the 25-hectares wooded area. Since 2012, Le Bois du Cazier, along with three other Major Mining Sites of Wallonia, is listed as world heritage by UNESCO. Since 2018, it has been recognized as European Heritage.
Nowadays, the site is a memory place concerning :
– The industrial past of Wallonia thanks to the Industry museum devoted to the technical, social and economic history of the Wallonia, the Glass museum with its prestigious art collection, the workshops open for demonstrations and training courses. In that frame, Le Bois du Cazier organizes every year a torchlight procession with statues of Saint Barbara, Saint Eloi and Saint Nicholas to pay tribute to the workers of the mine, iron and glass industries.
– The immigration because, from 1946 and 1956, the Italian workers arrival has been organized in the context of the government agreement between Belgium and Italy. This protocol permitted the arrival of more 50 000 coalminers at that time. This topic has been studied in our museum (Space 8th August 1956).
– 8th August 1956’ disaster whose 262 coalminers from 12 different nationalities lost their life which most of them were Italian. A memorial and a remember wall permit the visitors to pay tribute.
Le Bois du Cazier is a museum so it is implicated in different missions. But it is also a Site of Conscience and in that frame one of its aim is to turn memory into action. With the guided tours, the educational activities, the temporary exhibitions, the events, colloquiums, seminaries… the aim is to make informed and engaged citizens about contemporary topics as safety at work, phenomenon’s migration and environment.