Unique region guarantees the development of logistics industry
The logistics industry is another important part for Limburg Province; especially as it is located at the heart of Europe, with 60% of EU purchasing power lying within its 500km.
Due to its unique location, people can go to Amsterdam, Paris and London within 3 hours via various methods of transportation.
According to Chen Yu, Account Manager China of LIL, apart from the geographic causes, the coal mining industry laid a firm foundation for the development of the logistics industry.
Thanks to the coal mine heritage, Limburg has a very developed transportation network via water (sea & canal), road, rail and air, making freightage and traveling simple.
One canal directly connects Limburg to both the Port of Antwerp and the Port of Rotterdam, the two largest ports in Europe. Goods can be transported to these ports from Limburg and distributed to other European countries.
A canal directly connects Limburg to both the Port of Antwerp and the Port of Rotterdam. (Photo provided by Limburg Government)
“We focus on high value added sizable niches in smart value-added logistics,” said Mr. Zwerts.
According to Chen Yu, logistics in Limburg doesn't just mean delivering something from A to B, but also focuses on developing high-value-added logistics.
For example, some logistics companies pick unpacked chocolate from the factory and pack and label them in different languages before sending them all over the world.
H.Esser, one of the biggest logistics companies in both Limburg and Belgium, has already built supply chain services for value adding, including customs clearance, warehousing, packaging services, sampling & testing, labeling and forwarding.
“Goods don’t need to be packed up before being sent to Belgium,” said Bob van Steenweghen, Marketing & Corporate Affairs Manager at H.Esser. “We can make all the goods ready for the European Market in different languages (before they are distributed) according to customers' requirements.”
Bob van Steenweghen introduced high-value-added logistics.
Since the value-added chain service has been built in Limburg, a great number of major international companies have established their distribution centers in Limburg, including Nike, Du Pont and Pfizer.
Although the value-added chain service has been built up, Limburg is now aiming chiefly at developing “smart distribution logistics” with high added value, which are required by Industry 4.0.
It is reported that Limburg is now concentrating on building up the network of “smart distribution logistics” with a Chinese enterprise.
Unique location and common activities for people around the world
Although Limburg used to be an industrial area, this does not mean that Limburg is merely a kind of soulless industrial zone. On the contrary: Limburg in fact is synonymous with relaxation and enjoyment, thanks to its unique character, natural splendour, creativity and hospitable people.
It is no doubt that football is the first thing which crosses people's minds when talking about Belgium, especially the European Red Devil in the past and the talented national football team in recent years.
Limburg has two professional football clubs playing in the Belgian First Division: K.R.C Genk and Sint-Truidense V.V.
As one of the most successful Belgian football clubs which raised Thibaut Courtois and Kevein De Bruyne, K.R.C Genk is popular around the world.
Kevein De Bruyne, Manchester City player who raised by Genk. (File photo)
Whether young or old, local or non-native, fans from all over Limburg dress in the jerseys and gather in the home stadium for both weekend and midweek matches. They cheer for their beloved team through dancing and signing from the 1st to the 90th minute, even during rainy days.
Genk's players listen fans'singing after a match. (Photo provided by Limburg Government)
Moreover, local fans would like to have a nice chat with non-native football fans or foreign visitors who show up in the stadium. All they want to do is to make you also become a fan of K.R.C Genk or Sint-Truidense V.V.
Cycling is another popular activity in Limburg. If you are interested in cycling, you must try the 2000km cycle path which runs alongside the Meuse River throughout the whole of Limburg. Visitors can enjoy the typical Belgian rural life while cycling on the Belgian country road.
If the cycle path is not enough for you, Bokrijk, a 5.5. square-kilometer open-air museum with a large collection of historical building across Flanders may be more to your liking; you can not only withness the chang of Flanders, but also experience the local life.
Bokrijk open-air museum, a large collection of historical Flanders building.
Limburg is also a home for creativity. Many world-famous artists and designers such as Koen Vanmechelen, Stijn Helsen, and Raf Simons have stepped onto the world stage from Limburg.
As a bustling and energetic area of Belgium, Limburg, the heart of Europe, is not solely an industrial place, but also an area full of unknown opportunities with a perfect balance of nature, cultural history and leisure activities.
Text and photos by Steven
Ryan Hook and Abby also contribute to this story
(Please turn to next page for the Chinese version)