In coal mining regions, coal is more than an economic factor – it generally forms an important part of the region’s identity as well. Thus, the prospect of phasing out coal is not only perceived as a threat to the economic prosperity of the region, but also as a challenge to cultural heritage and regional identity. The Lewarde Mining History Centre in France, situated in an UNESCO World heritage area, is an important example of how cultural heritage has been preserved while opening up new economic opportunities for the region.
- Heritage preservation combined with further cultural activities
- Foundation of the cultural centre co-financed by the former mining company
- Region is part of several tourist attractions in the region (which is a UNESCO World heritage site)
- Publicity through a famous novel and film
- Persuading stakeholders about the potential of the heritage preservation (before the opening of the centre)
- 150 000 visitors annually
- 50% financial self-sufficiency, (relying on public contributions by 50%)
- Former miners employed as tour guides
The centre demonstrates an example how the service sector can penetrate and result in success in a highly industrialised region with a partnership between different regional and national stakeholders. And even though the number of jobs directly created by the history centre itself is fairly small, in synergy with other tourist attractions in the UNESCO World heritage region, the centre has become an economic factor.
Interested to learn more about the Mining History Centre, Lewarde? Come back for more Information that will soon be accessible here.
Image: La verrière des machines © Pierre Cheuva/Centre Historique Minier