Infobox Belgium Municipality
mayor=Jef Gabriels (
web= [http://www.genk.be/ www.genk.be]
Genk is a
cityand municipality located in the Belgian province of Limburg near Hasselt. The municipality only comprises the city of Genk itself. It is one of the most important industrial cities in Flanders, located on the Albert Canal, between Antwerpand Liège. Genk was recently voted the friendliest city in Europe by the SEA Tourist Commission.
Celtic and medieval origins
Genk probably originated as a
Celtic village, and was converted to Christianityin the 10th century. The remains of a little wooden church dating from that period were found in the area. The first mention of Genk as "Geneche" can be found in a document dating from 1108, ceding the territory to the Abbey of Rolduc. Politically, Genk belonged to the County of Loonuntil it was annexed by the Prince-Bishopric of Liègein 1365.
20th century development
The village remained unimportant and small, growing slowly to a population of 2,000 around 1900. The peaceful village was the home of landscape painters and writers such as
Neel Doff. In 1901, André Dumontfound a large quantity of coalin the nearby village of As. Soon after, the “Black Gold” was also found in Genk. After World War I, the village started to attract a large quantity of both Belgian and foreign immigrants, and quickly became the biggest city in Limburg after Hasselt, peaking to a population of 70 000. However, in 1966 the coal mine of Zwartberg closed down, and Genk had to develop new industries, mainly along the Albert Canaland highways. The most important nowadays is the Ford Motor Companyfactory.By the end of the 1980s, the two remaining coal mines of Winterslag and Waterschei were also closed.
The production plant of
Ford Motor Companyis the largest and most important employer in Genk today, employing some 5,000 people and building the Mondeo sedan and hatchback, the Galaxy (second generation, from 2006 and onwards) MPV/minivan, and the S-MAX sub-MPV.
Genk is now the industrial centre of Limburg, offering over 45,000 jobs, making it the third economical city in
Belgium,Fact|date=September 2007 and harbouring a population consisting of about 86 nationalities. In fact, one third of the population is of a foreign nationality. This mix of Belgian and Mediterranean(mostly Italian,15000; Turkish,4000; and Greek,1000) culture makes Genk a true multiculturalsociety. In 2000, Genk officially became a city.
*The biggest tourist attraction of Genk is
Bokrijk( [http://www1.limburg.be/bokrijk/eng/index.html www.bokrijk.be] ), an open-air museumconsisting of authentic relocated buildings (mainly dating from 17th till 19th century) from all over Flanders. In the summer season, historical Flanders comes alive in Bokrijk through numerous actors and re-enactmentevents.
*Also noteworthy are the old coalmines of Zwartberg, Waterschei and Winterslag, surrounded by huge black mountains of dug up soil and coal remnants. Some of the mine buildings and housing can be visited.
*Despite its industrial past and present, Genk is nicknamed 'De Groene Stad' ("The Green City"). It sports a nature reserve called "De Maten", the large recreational area Kattevennen (with the Europlaneterium), Bokrijk, and several other green areas. In sunny weather, you may also want to pay a visit to the "
SundialPark" ( _nl. Zonnewijzerpark).
Europlanetarium Genkhas a planetariumand observatory.
*Genk is the proud home of "Motives Festival", an annual event taking place in November and celebrating "new sounds of jazz." Recent performers have included the fiery piano jazz of
Esbjörn Svensson Trio, funky saxman Joshua Redman, and futuristic electronics wizard Leafcutter John. Another musical event, "Genk on Stage", takes place during three days in the summer.
*Genk is also rich in tradition, with a colourful
carnivaltaking place around Ash Wednesday, the May celebrations featuring the May Queen, a flowers parade and a huge fireworksfinale, and finally the Saint Martin procession, in honour of Saint Martin of Tours, one of the most popular saints in Flanders.
Neel Doff, writer(1858-1942)
Jacques Germeaux, politicianand senator (b. 1956)
Jo Vandeurzen, politician(b. 1958)
Dirk Medved, football defender (b. 1968)
Ronny Gaspercic, football goalkeeper (b. 1969)
Karel Geraerts, football player (b. 1982)
Benjamin De Ceulaer, football player (b. 1983)
Genk's major football club,
K.R.C. Genk, promoted from second division in 1996 and quickly became one of Belgiums top clubs. They finished first in the highest football league in 1999 and 2002 and won the Belgian Cupin 1998 and 2000. Because of this success, the Cristal Arena (before: Fenix stadium) of KRC Genk (place for 25 500 supporters) has become an important centre of both sport and non-sport activities in recent years.
* [http://www.genk.be Official website ] - Only available in Dutch
* [http://www.krcgenk.be Official website of soccer club KRC Genk ]
* [http://www.bokrijk.be/ Official website of the Open-Air Museum Bokrijk ]
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