Head for Genk. At full throttle

Join the crowd and Head for Genk!


“Harmony in contrasts, that’s what it’s all about.”


Genk is a young city that cleverly developed on the foundations of its rich mining past: an agricultural village that grew into a true city due to its dynamics and versatility. A city that also presents itself on Flanders’ economic map.  It is a city full of interesting contrasts.


The city is coloured by the diversity that went hand-in-hand with its mining history. Starting off with the cultural melting pot – no less than 80 nationalities, each with their own cultural values and standards, live together in an atmosphere of mutual respect. The cultural symbols that came to Genk from all corners of Europe still determine the typical streetscape with houses of worship, intimate restaurants and colourful boutiques. Added to this are the historical landmarks of the city such as the monumental mining architecture and the beautiful garden suburbs that blend in harmoniously with the new, modern architecture.


Another contrast is that of a working-class town that focuses on a knowledge-based economy and wants to inspire its old economy towards innovation. A city too that has a great variety of residential areas, ranging from characteristic mining suburbs to monumental villas. Yet another contrast is the industrial image combined with the title of greenest city in Flanders. Harmony in contrast: that is what it is all about. This blend of fragrance, colour, taste and cultural background is combined with the day-to-day events in Genk. It is versatile and intriguing. There is no historical centre or age-old museum, but there is a city that is ‘simply’ worthwhile.  However, simple is not really the right word. Genk’s aim is to be a city full of character. And it’s happening through the development of trend-setting economic-, cultural- and sports projects. Moreover, through its local character, Genk’s typical personality is being integrated in exciting activities and unlimited possibilities for its inhabitants, its visitors, its entrepreneurs and anyone else who is inspired by Genk.


Genk never rests, is always working on new possibilities for the city, it is always on the move. Action is the key: Head for Genk! Genk wants to stimulate everyone’s zest for life and challenge people to bring out their best. Genk is for everyone. Join the crowd and Head for Genk.



  • special city Genk - 3 October 2011
  • VU: Wim Dries, Mayor, Stadsplein 1, 3600 Genk
  • photography: city of Genk, White Light, Kurt Stallaert and Guy Van Grinsven
  • lay-out: Impuls and city of Genk
  • editor: city of Genk
  • for more information: www.genk.be


All for ambition


"Entrepreneurship is in the city’s DNA."


For centuries, Genk was a quiet spot on the map, nothing more than a rural village. The discovery of coal at the beginning of the 20th century put a sudden end to hibernation and set a mechanism in motion that has not stopped since. With the exploitation of the ‘black gold’, Genk acquired a well-deserved place on Flanders’ economic map. An opportunity that was grabbed with both hands because the economic leverage allowed Genk to evolve into Flanders’ third industrial hub. Only Antwerp and Ghent have a slight advantage. Genk has experienced heavy economic blows such as the closure of the mines and the restructuring of Ford Genk. However, thanks to its entrepreneurial council policies Genk has been able to attract new entrepreneurs in various sectors.


Entrepreneurship has become a part of the city’s DNA. Apart from advantages with regard to the availability of well-equipped industrial areas, multi-modal accessibility via freeways, rail and the Albert Canal, the business policies of the city are drawing the attention of entrepreneurs, knowledge-based industries and employers’ organizations. Genk’s investments involve the reorganization of the industrial manufacturing economy into an innovative manufacturing economy and knowledge-based economy. The city does this by creating strong site-developments in cooperation with LRM, knowledge-based associations and private partners. Characteristic for these site-developments is the combination of the quality of the business locations, the availability of business capital, the links to the broad technology portfolio, and specialized business development. Genk gives entrepreneurs the chance to realize their ambitions.


Entrepreneurship in Genk?: www.economieingenk.be


Business locations offering many extras


“Genk is an economical and logistic gateway to Flanders.”


thorparkGenk ‘surpluses’ business. The city achieves this by providing new business locations that offer many extras for entrepreneurs and their employees.

Thor Park is in full development to become a high-quality business park, including a technology park. Employing more than 200 researchers, EnergyVille, an initiative of Leuven Royal University, VITO and IMEC, is attracting advanced research and business development in new energy and smart grids.

C-mine is the address for creative entrepreneurs and specializes in gaming and natural user interfaces. The attraction for these developments will be the Microsoft Innovation Center.

In the city centre, Xentro is the service area, an attractive business location for services.

Voka-research shows that Genk is a city where entrepreneurs feel at home: ‘city with a business-friendly attitude’.



  • Genk-South: manufacturing economy
  • Thor Park: knowledge-based economy
  • C-mine: creative economy 
  • Xentro: services


Everyone dives into Genk


“City with authentic experiences.”


Genk gives everyone zest for life: it stimulates body and soul. Discover the inspiration for Genk’s zest for life, and find out about its intriguing variety of experiences: anyone will feel at home here.


The city’s industrial character is in contrast with its multi-coloured and pure-air natural environment. Some might not be aware of Genk’s history of boundless heaths and woods. Currently it is still the greenest city in Flanders. Great places for discovery are Molenvijver Park, a green lung close to the city centre, or Hoge Kempen National Park, which stretches over the entire province of Midden-Limburg as if it is Genk’s backyard. The Kattenvennen Domain is its gateway.


The city has an interesting and exciting heritage. First and foremost, there is the magnificent architectural mining environment with its strong industrial legacy, combining neo-classical elements and magnificent neo-baroque, the intimate garden suburbs with their white-collar villas and terraced houses for the blue-collar workers. C-mine was developed on the foundations of this mining past: a lively location with a diverse programme for tourists, culture-lovers, students and entrepreneurs. Moreover, it is impossible to talk about Genk without mentioning Bokrijk.


Genk also scores well in the field of sports. And no, it is not just the wonderful home-team KRC Genk. Go-karting at Horensbergdam, where many top sports people have found their home base, gliding, golf, horse riding through the boundless woods, …anything is possible. Culture in Genk is preceded by the word ‘multi’ as in multicultural. In Genk you can literally have a taste of the entire world, a culinary and religious heritage of the mining industry. However, Genk also supports modern culture; the cultural centre has developed into ‘a place to be’ when it concerns the modern performing arts and innovative social artistic projects.


Genk is pre-eminently a city for events: the Genk onstage city festival and the O-parade -  an unusual parade for the eyes and the ears - both attract over one hundred thousand visitors annually.


Feel like diving into Genk?: www.uitingenk.be


C-mine inspires


The former mine site in Winterslag respects its past and now has a new, modern function.

C-mine is a site that allows you to experience creativity from various angles; it stimulates people with new, surprising experiences and inspires fresh points of view. For everyone, from professionals to amateurs, from artists to entrepreneurs, from locals to tourists.

Moreover, C-mine is an interesting location for creative and innovative congresses, happenings,…


Interested in C-mine?: www.c-mine.be


C-mine Another word for creativity is daring…


“C-mine allows you to experience creativity from various angles.”



  1. C-mine is a wondrous place with impressive architecture, stories from the mine, … C-mine bundles the past into unique discoveries. Next year, the C-mine expedition will be added to the list; a journey of discovery through the underground tunnels, ending on top of the tallest shaft tower.
  2. The C-mine cultural centre has developed into a cultural hotspot where both popular culture and individual artistic performances have found a home and a growing audience.
  3. C-mine supports young creators by giving them the opportunity to develop their work and to show it to the public at large. C-mine combines this young designing force in an annual pop-upshop.


Relax in a pure-air environment


"Even today Genk is still the greenest city in Flanders.”


Gateway KattevennenThe Kattevennen Domain is the gateway to Hoge Kempen National Park, where visitors are welcomed with a unique attraction: the Cosmodrome, an intriguing window to our stars and planets. From Kattevennen you enter the National Park on foot, by bicycle, or on horseback. Alone or accompanied by a ranger.


In Genk you are surrounded by green.



  • Gateway Kattevennen
  • Hoge Kempen National Park
  • Molenvijverpark


Scoring at sports


“City for sporting challenges.”


KRC Genk

Genk, known as the home ground of national champions KRC Genk, is a city for people looking for sporting challenges. The city opts for its own characteristics that go beyond the every-day. If speed is your thing, go to Horensbergdam for karting and motor sports. Schumacher, Button and Ambrosio were here, revving their engines.


If you like heights, go gliding or parachuting at Zwartberg airport. If you like to go for a hit, Spiegelven golf course would like to welcome you. If you are a fan of equestrian sports, Kattevennen will spoil you. If you like a workout in the water, dive into the 50-metre pool, which will also be the swimming- and water polo training centre for the 2012 London Olympic Games.


See the possibilities on www.sportingenk.be



  1. Swim in the 50-metre pool
  2. Glide at Zwartberg airport
  3. Golf on the Spiegelven golf course
  4. Ride in the Kattevennen Domain
  5. Kart at Horensbergdam


Taste the world


“Genk is a city full of local colour.”


Shopping in the city centreGenk is a city full of ‘local colour’, it makes the city-experience authentic. You can taste the world in many of the city’s multicultural popular national restaurants, or you can delight your taste buds in the city’s gastronomic restaurants. If you like to stir the pot yourself, browse the multicultural shops for their surprising range of typical ingredients. The local colour is also at hand in the large number of local boutiques that still dot the city. The hotels in the city too exude the typical city atmosphere; stay in an old mining villa or opt for luxury in a stylish designer hotel linked to the mining past.


For more information?: www.uitingenk.be



  • One of the popular national restaurantsphoto Genk on stage 2011

  • Haute cuisine-restaurant 

  • Turkish mosque
  • Ukrainian-orthodox church

  • B&B in old mining villa
  • Designer hotel in the city centre
  • Shopping in Genk city centre
  • Discovering Genk by scooter

  • Genk on stage
  • O-parade


Everyone feels at home here


“Lead an exciting life in Genk.”  


Living in Genk is exciting. Genk stimulates old and young people to get more out of life; to have ambitions and make them happen. Genk is known as a social pioneer, a city at the forefront of social policies, a city that is developing according to the needs of its citizens. It is no coincidence that in Genk so many cultures live peacefully together; that the city had an employment agency, an educational shop, a safety house,…long before these institutions became mainstream in other parts of Flanders; that the city has a strongly developed and highly specialized hospital. Genk is an open city that allows everyone to feel at home.


More information on living in Genk?: www.woneningenk.be  


Room for ideas


Join the crowd and Head for Genk