Take some time during your stay at our luxury hotel in Mons, to visit Le Grand Hornu, a nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site. Approximately 16 kilometers outside Mons, Le Grand Hornu is an excellent representation of urban planning at one of the most famous industrial mining sites in Belgium.
History of Le Grand Hornu
Le Grand Hornu is a historical industrial mining complex developed just outside of Mons. The region known as Wallonia Region was a popular destination for mining during the early 19th Century. The site was established by Henri De Gorge in 1816 when purchased the land to mine coal and began to develop the operation into a grand scale project. The complex of Le Grand Hornu was completed in 1830, consisting of several features.
The main buildings of Le Grand Hornu surround a large oval courtyard where the miners worked. Outside of the main buildings were over 400 houses, set up specifically for the workers to live with their families. The town was perfectly planned to provide everything that the workers needed to live, work, and raise their families within the community, which included a library, school, various shops, and more.
Le Grand Hornu remained an active mining site up until 1954.
Visiting Le Grand Hornu
Le Grand Hornu is an ode to Belgium’s industrial heritage. It was one of four mining sites declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012 within the region to preserve the history that shaped Mons and Belgium.
The mining operations shut down, and the site was forgotten until 1971 when it began to get remodeled. It’s developed into a popular tourist destination for people visiting Mons to explore more about its cultural heritage.
Le Grand Hornu has been preserved to reflect its original aesthetics when it operated as an industrial mining complex. The old building façade remains, constructed of old brick architecture, as well as the town row houses made from various materials. You’ll get an authentic sense of the miners’ lifestyles when walking around the 10,000 square meter site.
Several additions were made to Le Grand Hornu during its remodeling to transform it into the tourist attraction that it is today. A stunning neoclassical style architecture structure was built in the brick-style of the rest of the complex. One of the main attractions established on the site was the Futun Archaïque, a museum for contemporary art.
Le Grand Hornu has become known for design just as much as it is for industry. The buildings now house one of the premier museums in Mons for experiencing contemporary art and design. It hosts temporary exhibitions featuring over 300 works of art from a variety of artists, both in Belgium and international talent.
Visit Le Grand Hornu to get a glimpse into Mons’ past. You’ll learn a lot about the mining site and impact on Belgium’s history on your visit. Visitors are welcome to take a guided tour or the complex or choose an audio guide. Le Grand Hornu is one of the best things to do while staying at our boutique hotel in Mons centre.
Le Grand Hornu is open everyday except Monday, from 10am-6pm. It costs €8 and €2 for children.