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Genk wapen2.svg Genk vlag.svg
Genk (Limburg)
State : BelgiumBelgium Belgium
Region : Flanders
Province : Limburg
District : Hasselt
Coordinates : 50 ° 57 ′  N , 5 ° 30 ′  E Coordinates: 50 ° 57 ′  N , 5 ° 30 ′  E
Area : 87.85 km²
Residents: 66,227 (Jan 1, 2019)
Population density: 754 inhabitants per km²
Post Code: 3600
Prefix: 089
Mayor: Wim Dries ( CD&V )

Local government address :
Stadsplein 1
3600 Genk
lb le ls lh

Genk is a city in the Belgian province of Limburg . It is located on the Albert Canal .


Mine near Genk

Genk was an insignificant hamlet until, in 1901, André Dumont discovered significant coal deposits in the nearby village of As and shortly afterwards on its own boundary through drilling. Genk then grew into one of the most important coal mining areas and industrial centers in Belgium.

A deed of gift dated December 13, 1108 first mentioned "Geneche". The hamlet of Genk and its surroundings probably belonged to the county of Loon in the 11th century and to the duchy of Liège from 1366 . In the 17th century, jumps were built for self-defense , the village hill in Genk itself and others in the hamlets of Winterslag, Gelieren, Sledderlo, Langerlo, Terboekt and Waterschei.

The tranquility and the untouched heather landscape of the Kempen ensured that wealthy citizens from Brussels and Antwerp as well as landscape painters came to Genk since 1840 . Around 200 painters were active in Genk until around 1940, including Willem Roelofs , Évariste Carpentier , Joseph Coosemans , Jules Breton , François Roffiaen , Edmond Tschaggeny , Théodore Fourmois , Alphonse Asselbergs , Edouard Huberti , Alfred De Knyff , Edmond de Schampheleer , Emile van Doren , Armand Maclot , Euphrosine Beernaert , Louise Héger , François Roffiaen, Isidore Verheyden , Ludovic Janssen , Willy Minders , Théodore Baron , François Halkett , Elinor Barnard , Anna Boch , Herman Richir , Maurice Mareels .

In 1900 Genk and the surrounding hamlets only had 2,437 inhabitants. With the discovery of hard coal in 1902, growth began in several waves of immigration. On June 3, 1914 in the mine , the first coal promoted Winterslag, more mines were built in Waterschei and Zwartberg. In 1930 Genk already had 24,574 inhabitants, mostly miners . Immigration came from Poland and the Ukraine in the 1920s and 1930s , then from Italy , Greece , Spain and Portugal . Since 1964, more employees came from Turkey and Morocco .

As in other Western European coal regions, a structural change began in the 1960s . In 1966 the Zwartberg mine was closed together with Walloon mines, Waterschei closed in 1987 and Winterslag in 1988.

In 1992 Genk hosted the 9th  European Shooting Festival , an event organized by the European Association of Historical Shooting .

It was not until 2000 that the municipality of Genk was elevated to the status of a city . It currently has 66,227 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2019).


Genk consists of the districts of Bokrijk, Boxbergheide, Bret-Gelieren, Centrum, Driehoeven, Hoevenzavel, Kolderbos, Langerlo, Nieuwe Kempen, Nieuw Texas, Sledderlo, Termien, Vlakveld, Waterschei, Winterslag and Zwartberg.


ArcelorMittal is a big employer . Around 3,000 tons of stainless steel slabs (formats up to 2000 x 160 mm) are produced every day in the Genk steelworks . These slabs are then rolled into coils in the Carlam hot rolling mill ( Charleroi ) and then sent to the other cold rolling mills, mainly in France ( Isbergues , Gueugnon ) and Belgium (Genk). Stainless steel sheets are produced from the coils, which are then further processed by the customer. Another stainless steel plant (ArcelorMittal Châtelet) was built in Charleroi a few years ago.

The Ford plant, which opened in 1964, was the largest employer in the Limburg province with around 4,500 employees after the end of mining . The US automobile company manufactured its Mondeo , Galaxy and S-MAX models there. The Transit was also built in Genk until 2004 . Ford announced in October 2012 that it would close the plant in 2014. Around 5,000 other jobs depended on Ford. The plant ceased production on December 18, 2014.

The port of Genk in the southern district of Langerlo was founded in 1936 on the Albert Canal, which was built at the time, as Port Charbonnier de Genck , in order to transport coal from the three Genk mines and the Houthalen mine to the Walloon heavy industry around Liège. Only later was the name changed to Kolenhaven van Genk . With the end of mining, the use of the port also changed. To supply the second-largest non-nuclear power plant in Belgium in 2016 , which was initially operated by EBES (now E.ON ) at the port of Genk since 1976, hard coal has been imported here since 1986 after exporting more than 89,000,000 tons.

In addition, a container terminal was built at the port from 1999 , which currently has a storage capacity of 5,000 containers and an annual turnover of 80,000 containers on 18,000 square meters. Both a connection to the Belgian railway and the nearby motorways E313 (from Antwerp to Liège) and E314 (from Leuven via Heerlen to Aachen) are used.


One of the mining cathedrals: The Sankt Albertus Church in Zwartberg

As a result of the workers from the Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and Morocco who had immigrated from ever wider circles to work in the mining industry since around 1913, many religions also became at home in Genk. The mining companies and the faithful have built churches of various Christian faiths in Genk in the course of time , and later also mosques .


Entrance building of the open-air museum (a courtyard from Heers from 1774)

The Domein Bokrijk belongs to Genk, which has an important open-air museum for Belgium , a large playground and a botanical garden, the Bokrijk Arboretum . The Europlanetarium should also be mentioned as well as the adjacent Kattevenia recreation area.

The municipal Emile Van Dorenmuseum , which has been in operation in the Villa Le Coin Perdu, the studio and residence of Emile van Doren since 1976, recalls the history of landscape painting in and around Genk .

In 2012 Genk hosted Manifesta , the European Biennale for Contemporary Art. Together with the Venice Biennale and the Documenta in Kassel, Manifesta is one of the most important art events in Europe.


The local football club KRC Genk is one of the top clubs in the Belgian league and was national champion in 1999, 2002, 2011 and 2019. He won the trophy in 1998, 2000, 2009 and 2013 . The Belgian city has one of the most modern karting tracks in Europe, where races for the karting world championship have already taken place.


Web links

Commons : Genk  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. European Community of Historical Shooters
  2. Ford closes Genk site in Belgium , October 24, 2012
  3. Last working day at Ford in Genk on
  4. -in-europe.html