Sprawling north of the Albert Canal, Genk is a vibrant industrial city near Belgium’s border with the Netherlands. Its former collieries have been transformed into inspiring creative and scientific hubs while one of Belgium’s two national parks lies to the east.
Things to do in Genk
Genk’s most popular attraction is Bokrijk, an open-air museum featuring centuries-old buildings that have been relocated from across Flanders. Once owned by the Herkenrode Abbey, it was operated as a farm from the mid-13th century through the French Revolution and period re-enactments often take place here. In addition to farm buildings dating back to the early 16th century, there are several artisan workshops where traditional crafts are demonstrated.
Around 200 kilometres of hiking trails traverse Hoge Kempen National Park, which encompasses 5,700 hectares of coniferous forest and heathland between Genk and the Meuse River. The impressive Kattevennen is one of the park’s main gates, with its attractions including a scale model of the solar system and the 360-degree Cosmodrome where high-tech shows are presented.
For insight into the region’s industrial past, pay a visit to the former Winterslag coal mine, which was reborn in the 2000s as the C-Mine. You can join a guided tour through its mining tunnels and explore the restored pithead before discovering the art installations that dot the site. Concerts and theatrical performances are regularly held at the C-Mine’s cultural complex.
Getting around Genk
Genk is around 15 minutes’ drive from Hasselt and 25 minutes from Maastricht Aachen Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe. The much larger Brussels Airport is an hour away. Regular trains connect to the Genk railway station and buses travel throughout the city. The centre of Genk can easily be explored on foot.