Ecomusée du Bois-du-Luc

Ecomusée Régional du Centre

Useful Information

Location: E19/E42 motorway Bruxelles-Mons-Paris, exit #21 Le Roeulx, towards Houdeng-La Louvière, after the canal first right. Signposted.
Open: Mid-APR to OCT Tue-Fri 9-17, Sat, Sun, Hol 10-18.
NOV to mid-APR Tue-Fri 9-17 after appointment only.
Guided tours: Tue-Fri 9, 10, 11, 13:30, 15, Sat, Sun, Hol 10, 11, 13:30, 15, 16.
Fee: Adults EUR 7.50, Children (6-16) EUR 5, Children (0-5) free, Seniors EUR 6.20, Family (2+3) EUR 13.
Groups (+): Adults EUR 6.20, Children (6-16) EUR 3.50, Seniors EUR 5.
Classification: MineCoal Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: D=2 h.
Address: Ecomusée du Bois-du-Luc, Rue Saint Patrice 2b, B-7110 La Louvière, Belgique, Tel: +32-64-282000, Fax: +32-64-212641. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1685 start of mining.
1780 first steam engine installed.
1846 colliery Saint Emmanuel opened.
1855 offices and workshops built.
1907 building renovated.
31-DEC-1959 colliery Saint Emmanuel closed.
1973 mining ends with the closure of the last colliery Le Quesnoy at Trivières.
1983 first Belgian Ecomuseum opened.
1992 funds by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
1996 declared Patrimoine exceptionnel de Wallonie (exceptional heritage of Wallonia).
2012 inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.



The Ecomusée du Bois-du-Luc is located at the colliery Saint Emmanuel. This area is called the second birthplace of the industrial revolution. The story started with three miners, two merchants from Binche and two bourgeois from Mons. On the 14th February 1685 they founded the Société du Grand Conduit et du Charbonnage de Houdeng. The combination of working class providing their work power and knowledge, and middle class, providing the financial base, is the first example of a capitalist structure in Europe.

The next step is the use of steam power. In 1780 the first steam engine, produced by Forges, Usines et Fonderies d'Haine-St-Pierre, was installed at the mine for pumping water. This allowed the lowering of the ground water and thus deeper mining.

In 1838 a miner's town named Bosquetville was founded near the collieries. The idea was to draw workers to the pit, which was in need of more miners, by providing comfortable livivng conditions. The houses had only two rooms at first, but later they were improved. The artificial city was completed in 1853.

However, as always the economic situation changes and workers formerly sought after were later exploited. Workers starting to fight back, for example by striking, are now seen as attackers by the mine owners, and the mines are secured. In 1896 the mine was surrounded by a wall with huge doors. The doors were mounted in vertical grooves and resembled the guillotine, so they were called portes guillotines (guillotine doors).

The offices and workshops were built in 1855 for the new Société des Charbonnages du Bois-du-Luc (Amalgamated collieries of Bois-du-Luc). They were renovated and expanded by the Brussels architect Charles-Emile Janlet (*1839-✝1919) in 1907. He designed not only the buildings but also the interior and the furniture. The interiour was designed is a style called biais du trompe-l'œil, which is the imitation of exclusive materials like marble or bronze by certain techniques of pictorial effects. The furniture was built in the workshops of the mine.

The Ecomusée Régional du Centre was opened in 1983, and was the first Ecomusée in Belgium. It concentrates on the living and social situation the miners.