The strategic project "Kolenspoor" that got the green light on 17 January 2018, is a partnership between the Province of Limburg, the Municipalities of As, Heusden-Zolder, Houthalen-Helchteren, Maasmechelen and Zonhoven, and the Cities of Beringen and Genk.
25 years after the closure of the last Limburg mine, the mining sites are now being used in a new and interesting manner. The Kolenspoor connects these different sites and can therefore act as a carrier for new potential, while simultaneously offering fertile soil for new economic developments in Limburg. The further development of the Kolenspoor creates strategic economic and supra-local opportunities for the region, as part of which the mining sites will be linked to each other through a direct line.
In concrete terms, the Province of Limburg wishes to develop the Kolenspoor as an area with three objectives, namely: an innovative mobility network, a green economic network, as well as a space in which people can meet and enjoy themselves.
The historic Kolenspoor that linked Beringen to Maasmechelen over a length of more than 70 km, will be the carrier of an innovative mobility network tailor-made to the 21st century, through a recreational bicycle connection and a bicycle highway.
The Kolenspoor can also be a green economic network. The area surrounding the Kolenspoor offers a fertile breeding ground for the new economy: incubators, centres for education, creativity and manufacturing, tourist attractions, entry points to nature reserves, hubs, etc. All these economic activities can be strengthened and connected together along the Kolenspoor, so as to generate new economic flows. This will make the Kolenspoor the backbone of a new economic network that can grow into a top region that will be known for its pioneering role in the "green" sectors such as the leisure economy, cleantech, nature, cycling, circular economy and water.
Finally, the Kolenspoor will connect communities that live and work together in that area. The place to develop green urban meeting spaces and promote social innovation.