BERINGEN, 11 March 2022 – be-MINE PIT has overcome a new hurdle on the road to its opening: a consortium led by Building Group Jansen will be constructing the international mining museum in Beringen. During an impressive press conference, each of the construction partners presented their plans together with Province of Limburg. Out of respect for historical heritage, the buildings are being restored to their original design. Digital tools, two stylish footbridges, a lifelike visit to ‘the pit’ and an impressive panoramic viewing point will enhance the experience.
In recent years, Limburg has emerged as one of the top tourist regions in the country. The province is reinforcing this position with the creation of the long-awaited mining museum be-MINE PIT.
Limburg hosts an impressive seven mining sites, which have always been handled respectfully in the past. All mining sites have been successfully repurposed and linked to a meaningful narrative. This is also true for Beringen Mine, the largest preserved mining site in Limburg. With be-MINE PIT, the provincial government wishes to pay homage to the miners who toiled underground at this location for many years.
1 Former miners
Building Group Jansen at the wheel
Building Group Jansen has been commissioned for this prestigious project, with the support of Renotec, HUB Architects, Michel Janssen Architectenbureau, stage designer Kortekaas Designers, Maverick multimedia design firm and the Sweco and Util engineering firms.
“The provincial government is entrusting us with this project because we hold the necessary experience with heritage projects, as well as an affinity with Limburg's past, mining and otherwise". Our respect for a building’s authenticity was also undoubtedly a determining factor in selecting our consortium. This was, after all, an important wish held by each party: the former miners, the driving force behind the mining museum, the provincial government and us as construction partners”, says Kenneth Ramaekers, Marketing Manager with Building Group Jansen. “Together we want to restore this valuable heritage to its original state as much as possible", adds Commissioner Igor Philtjens.
“But the consortium led by Building Group Jansen is going a step further. With a unique combination of authentic emotion and digital experience, we would like to spark the imagination of visitors and bring this building back to life. be-MINE PIT will be 100% child-friendly and fully accessible for wheelchair users. This will allow us to immerse everyone in this fantastic mining story.”
2 renovation of the missing link between sifter and unloading floor
On tour through be-MINE PIT
“The visit starts in the main building. More specifically in the former wages room, where the miners used to check in every day and start their working day,” explains Erwin Reeskens (Design & Build Manager with the Building Group Jansen). “You then pass the lockers. These will be equipped with LED screens and cinematic experience images. At the end of this vast space – two football pitches in size – looms the statue of Saint Barbara, where the miners said a quick prayer before plunging into the depths. On the top floor of the main building, we are also digitally reviving the engineer and director’s office."
3 Reception & shop in the wages room
A long corridor where the miners picked up their equipment then leads visitors from the ‘staffing hall' to the lift. The lift gives the impression that you are actually descending 789 m below the ground. When you step out, you enter a fully equipped experience area, such as the underground mine shafts. You even experience the high temperature and feel the wind blowing on your neck. When you return ‘back to the surface’, you follow the coal route – from the expansive unloading floor along the wooden walkway and through the sifting plant. After crossing a 60-metre footbridge, you reach the winding engine building, after which you continue to the coal washeries. An extra eye-catcher is the panoramic viewing platform on the roof of the coal washeries. Here you can look out over all of the Beringen-Mijn.
4 renovation of the missing link between sifter and unloading floor
5 Panoramic views - the growth of the site
Finally, you descend as a pitch-black miner and follow the miner’s path to the bathing hall. Restored shower cubicles experienced through scenography – including steam, water and realistic images – and a few other relics attract attention. The visit ends where it started, in the wages room, where the miners collected their wages before going home or to the pub,” concludes Erwin with a quip.
Opening in October 2023
In addition to the experience route, be-MINE PIT will also have an open ‘cleanroom’, where plans, documents and other fragile materials will be preserved. Everyone is anxious to break ground, but naturally the permit application will have to be submitted first. “It should be possible to start construction in the autumn of 2022. The opening is scheduled for one year later. The province has compiled a budget of 22 million euros for be-MINE PIT, 11.8 million euros of which are own funds, while the rest has been contributed by SALK, the City of Beringen, be-MINE, Tourist Office for Flanders and Europe,” says Commissioner Philtjens.
Marketing Manager of the Building Group Jansen
+32 493 09 05 30
Project Coordinator for be-MINE PIT
+ 32 11 23 73 02