Outstanding universal value

The Hoge Kempen Rural-Industrial Transition Landscape (or Hoge Kempen RITL) illustrates a significant stage in Western history: the radical transition from a small-scale rural to a large-scale industrial economic system with worldwide perspectives. The ancient heathland landscape, developed on a glacial sediment, combined with the impressive early 20th century mining patrimony mirrors the introduction of the Industrial Revolution in rural Europe.


The  landscape  is OUTSTANDING because it features and presents all significant components of both the rural and industrial activities in a mosaic. 


The threefold structure of the rural system – with its heathlands, creek valleys and settlements – is found side by side with  a very diverse industrial setting. This is represented by pine tree plantations, the mining sites and their garden cities – each designed with extraordinary architectural detail and carrying the signature of the individual mining companies. It is this mixture that makes the landscape stand out and that provides it with a unique identity. 


The VALUE of the Hoge Kempen RITL lies in the fact that it enables us to fully understand how a landscape and its inhabitants were affected by and responded to this fundamental transition. 


The landscape is UNIVERSAL as the transition from a rural based economy into a carbon-fueled one, has taken place all over the world. The massive social turn-over from a monocultural into a multicultural society going along with it, is a worldwide phenomenon. 

Landscapes referring to this important event in men’s history are therefore of common importance for present and future generations. 



The willingness to preserve and protect this Outstanding Universal Value is a vast aspect of regional development policy.  Keen and smart actions as well as projects of re-use and valorization of heritage, together with education and interpretation, guarantee a sustainable conservation – respecting the INTEGRITY and AUTHENTICITY of the original landscape. 



"The Hoge Kempen RITL has shaped people's identities in every aspect.

Farmers and miners sharing no common past before, have together created a common future."