Former Miner’s Home Museum in Genk Celebrates Mining Heritage

Sarhan Basem

Genk (Brussels Morning) – Xavier Huygen’s home-based mining museum in Waterschei honors miners and André Dumont attracting visitors with artifacts and guided tours by former miners. It’s open during Genk op Gang in June.

In the town of Waterschei Xavier Huygen a former miner has dedicated a portion of his home to preserving the rich history of mining by establishing a mining museum.  This intimate museum showcases an array of mining artifacts and memorabilia serving as a heartfelt tribute to the miners who toiled underground and to André Dumont the geologist who discovered coal in Limburg. Through his collection Huygen aims to honor the legacy of the mining community and educate visitors about the region’s industrial heritage creating a poignant reminder of the significant role mining played in the local economy and culture. 

How Does Xavier Huygen’s Mining Museum Preserve Waterschei’s Heritage?

The museum displays mining items and memories paying tribute to the miners who worked underground and to André Dumont the geologist who found coal in Limburg. Huygen’s goal is to honor the mining community’s heritage and teach visitors about the area’s industrial past showing how mining was vital to the local economy and culture.

Around five years ago Xavier and a group of his former colleagues came together to create the museum with the intention of honoring the miners who have passed away. They felt a strong desire to pay tribute to these individuals. Sometimes, Xavier’s ex-colleagues visit the museum dressed in traditional miner outfits to provide explanations and support because Xavier finds it challenging to manage everything alone. Last Saturday they had a significant turnout of 80 visitors underscoring the importance of being well-prepared for such occasions. It’s always a heartwarming experience when they gather as former colleagues reminiscing and reconnecting over a refreshing Genk beer.

The mining museum is like the size of a double garage a terrace and a hangar. It’s cozy since it’s in a city house and Xavier jokes that he can’t expand into the garden or his wife wouldn’t be too happy about it. The museum is located along the green line a new walking route in Waterschei. If you’re around during Genk op Gang in June you can check out Xavier Huygen’s mining museum between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

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Sarhan Basem is Brussels Morning's Senior Correspondent to the European Parliament. With a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, Sarhan brings a unique blend of linguistic finesse and analytical prowess to his reporting. Specializing in foreign affairs, human rights, civil liberties, and security issues, he delves deep into the intricacies of global politics to provide insightful commentary and in-depth coverage. Beyond the world of journalism, Sarhan is an avid traveler, exploring new cultures and cuisines, and enjoys unwinding with a good book or indulging in outdoor adventures whenever possible.