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World Heritage Site

for World Heritage Travellers

Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin

Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin

The Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin is a mining and industrial cultural landscape along a 120km long coal seam in the far north of France.

It was created from the 18th to the 20th centuries, mostly after France lost its access to Belgian mines in 1815. It reached its peak in the 1930s, when it became one the leading coal-production regions in Europe. It then attracted 75,000 foreign workers. The last mine in the area closed in 1990.

This is a serial site consisting of 109 parts, spread out over 13 mining company complexes. Elements include pits, slag heaps, railway stations and mining villages with schools, religious and community buildings.

Map of Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin

Legend

  • Cultural

Visit December 2011

This is the French nomination for 2012: a stretch of 120km in the North of the country comprising various mining sites. When I was sent to attend a course at the Capgemini University just north of Paris, I thought it a fine opportunity to take this possible new WHS in on my way back home.

December 2011

I went to visit the Historic Mining Center in Lewarde, the main museum in the area. It is surprising how little in the surroundings reminds of the mining era. Nothing like the raw industrial beauty of the Ruhrgebiet just over the border in Germany. It just looks like a quiet rural setting. Coal was mined here from the 18th century til the 1970s. The harsh working and living conditions were immortalized in Emile Zola's Germinal, which happens to be one of my favourite 19th century novels.

December 2011

The mining center is pretty large and modern, though not yet well-equipped to receive visitors that do not speak French. Also, at the exhibitions I did not find anything that I had not seen before at similar sites around the world. It indeed is a big question what the OUV of this site is, and the short description at the Unesco website does not help to clarify it. What I've learned while researching it on the internet, is that this probably will be a serial nomination with single monuments scattered along the whole 1200 km2. It is marketed as an "evolved cultural landscape", as the mono-industry of coal mining has lastingly transformed the landscape and the lifestyles of the inhabitants.

December 2011

Community Reviews


Tsunami Japan / USA / Germany 21.08.16

Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin by Tsunami

I visited Chateau Hermitage, which used to be the manager's house of the mining company.

This Chateau is located inside the huge Park Hermitage, which is designed for hiking and biking today, and it was quite a nice hike in the afternoon I visited.


Ian Cade England 17.05.15

Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin by Ian Cade

Another day, another North Western European mining landscape to visit. And like the others here we headed to the mining museum at Lewarde.

It was quite an enjoyable visit, helped by the wonderful late winter weather. The guided tour in French was complimented by an easy to use audio guide in other languages. The initial walk through the above ground processing plants was the most interesting. Then there was a walk through a mock mine housed in above ground tunnels. It was an interesting way of recreating the mining experience, of course it takes away many of the most disconcerting aspects of working underground, but then I guess almost all tours of European mines will do that. It did mean that the different mining technologies could be displayed next to each other to allow for comparison, and showed how technological advances improved life and safety in the mine. There was also a brief section on immigration from North Africa, which grew to staff the masses of mines in the area.

The guided tour lasted a little longer than we planned, as such on finishing we had to rush off in a dash to catch our ferry. The rest of the landscape, scarred and sculpted through centuries of heavy industrial work, flew past quickly, but human activity is really evident. The towns seemed like many once great industrial areas that now seem sleepy and down at heel, having lost the central focus of their existence, hopefully some international recognition can bring economic benefits as well as boosting local pride.

I appreciate this site being on the list, and the local community should be very proud to have their contribution to the industrial heritage of the world recognised. Having said that, it isn’t really something that would get me to come back and forgo the other treats of this area, such as Lille, and this is one of those WHS that I probably won’t spend much time reminiscing about in the future.

Site 3: Experience 2


Clyde Malta 02.02.14

Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin by Clyde

I visited this WHS in February 2014 on a cold sunny day. I decided to "visit" a number of sites included in the buffer zone and marked on the official UNESCO website. After a few attempts that yielded nothing more interesting than a couple of mounds of earth, a few desolate brick houses, a small church near Aniche and a closed-down railway, I decided to drive straight to France's largest mining museum, the Nord-Pas de Calais Mining History Centre in Lewarde, which is actually a former coal mining plant where various trains, railways and rusty machinery can be seen. The visitor centre is quite interesting to visit although not as grandiose as the Ruhrgebiet in Germany. The information available near the 18 viewpoints across the mining site is only in French so an audioguide is necessary to be able to appreciate the history behind this place. Certain places are only accessible with a guided tour that takes around 1 hour (you have to wear a bright yellow helmet inside too!). The highlight of my trip was the hanging clothes room where I could really appreciate how tough life must have been for coal miners. The museum is very expensive (14 euro or 12.50 euro) but at least there are all the facilities you could think of such as a restaurant, a cafeteria, toilets, a souvenir shop and also a pic-nic area outside. I would judge this WHS as France's least interesting. To be honest, I very much preferred other industrial heritage sites on the list such as Volklingen or the Ruhrgebiet in Germany, Salins-les-Bains in France, Crespi d'Adda in Italy, the Woudagemaal in the Netherlands or the nearby Wallonia mining sites in Belgium.


Alan Murray, Australia 07.09.12

Miners' Centre, Lewarde, France -

As an Australian coal mining historian I attended the 2010 Lewarde Colloquium. This centre is an absolute marvel in terms of its presentation of the life and hard times of coal miners and their communities. It is a living link with Zola's Germinal. It is well-managed, welcoming and not to be missed.

For professional mining historians, students or family visitors, Lewarde is a treasure and a credit to all who continue to remind us of the debt the present owes to the past.

Alan Murray, Australia.


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Site Info

Full name: Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin

Unesco ID: 1360

Inscribed: 2012

Type: Cultural

Criteria: 2   4   6  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 2012 - Inscribed 

Locations

The site has 108 locations. Show all

  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Ancienne Fosse n°2 et mine-image
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Bâtiment de la Goutte de Lait
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Camus Haut
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Château Dampierre
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Château Dampierre
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Château de l’Hermitage
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Château des Douaniers
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Château Mercier et maisons d’ingénieur
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Chevalement de la fosse Dutemple
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Chevalement de la fosse n
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Chevalement du n°1 bis de Liévin
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Chevalement du n°3 bis de Lens
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Chevalement du Vieux-Deux
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité Barrois
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité Bellevue ancienne
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité Bruno
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité Crombez
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité d’Auchy
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité de la Gare
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité de la Parisienne
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité de la Solitude
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité de Rimbert
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité Deblock
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité des Petits Bois
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité des Soeurs
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité des Sports Wingles
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité du château des Dames
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité du Moulin
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité du n°7 de Béthune
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité du Pont
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité Foch
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité n°10
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité n°2
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité n°2 62 Pas-de-Calais
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cité Saint-Paul
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cités Anatole France et des Electriciens
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cités Chabaud-Latour ancienne et nouvelle
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cités de Beaurepaire, du Bois-Brûlé, du Moulin, de la Ferme Beaurepaire
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cités de Guesnain, de la Balance et de la Malmaison
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cités de la Clochette et Notre-Dame
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cités de la Justice et du Moulin
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cités de la Solitude, de la Ferronnière, Saint-Joseph et du Godion
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cités de la Victoire et des Arbres
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cités de Montigny et du Moucheron
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cités du Champ fleuri et du Garage
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cités du Nouveau Monde et des Fleurs
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Cités Sainte-Marie, Lemay et de Pecquencourt
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Compagnie des Mines d'Anzin: Ensemble comm
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Coron des 12
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Dispensaire Société de Secours Mutuel
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Ensemble minier de a fosse n
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Ensemble minier de la Bellefori
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Ensemble minier de la Compagnie des Mines de Thivencelles
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Ensemble minier de la fosse Cornuault
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Ensemble minier de La Sentinelle
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Ensemble minier des Argales
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Ensemble minier dun°9 de Béthune
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Fosse Delloye, Centre Historique Minier
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Fosse Mathilde
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Fosse n°13 bis
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Fosse n°2 de Flines
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Fosse n°5
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Gare de Lens
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Grands Bureaux de la Société des Mines de Lens
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Grands Bureaux de la Société Houillère de Liévin et cité des Bureaux Ouest
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Hôtel de ville
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Hôtel de ville
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Les cités des Musiciens
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Maison syndicale Lens
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Monument à Madame Declercq
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Monument aux morts
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Monument aux morts 1914-1918
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Monument aux morts et grilles de la cité des Brebis
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Monument commémoratif Charles Mathieu
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Monument commémoratif de la Catastrophe de Courrières
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Monument du soldat Marche
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Monument Emile Basly
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Paysage et ensemble miniers d'Auchy-les-Mines
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Paysage et ensemble miniers d'Escaudain
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Paysage et ensemble miniers d'Estevelles et de Harnes
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Paysage et ensemble miniers de Barlin
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Paysage et ensemble miniers de Chabaud-Latour et Paysage et ensemble miniers de Sabatier
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Paysage et ensemble miniers de Drocourt
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Paysage et ensemble miniers de Fouqui
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Paysage et ensemble miniers de Grenay-Mazingarbe
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Paysage et ensemble miniers de la fosse n
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Paysage et ensemble miniers de Libercourt
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Paysage et ensemble miniers de Noeux-les- Mines
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Paysage et ensemble miniers de Wallers-Arenberg et Paysage et ensemble Miniers d'Haveluy
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Paysage et ensemble miniers des Pinchonvalles
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Paysage et ensemble miniers du secteur d'Amaury
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Pompe à feu de la fosse du Sarteau
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Stade Parc
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Temple protestant
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Terril 125a
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Terril 14
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Terril 140
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Terril 244
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Terril 31
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Terril 32
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Terril 34
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Terril 49
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Terril 80 et cité des Garennes
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Terril n°10
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Terril Renard
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Terrils 143 et 143 a
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Terrils 87 et 92
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin: Terrils Jumeaux 28