Charleroi, ‘alternative’ city for a different perspective on Belgium

Charleroi has long been synonymous with slag heaps, blast furnaces and industrial decline. Today the city faces the challenge of offering its inhabitants and tourists a new face. Among the most successful renovations are undoubtedly the quays of Sambre, which today make a very pleasant walk.

The history of Charleroi merits our interest because it is rich in success. The first landscape of Charleroi was defined by heavy industry, with its chimneys and factories juxtaposed with workers' houses in a joyous anarchy.

Yet, right next door, the visitor can find a completely different picture - that of nature. At the turn of a path, one has the pleasure of admiring an attractively landscaped slag heap or the refreshing sight of a wild meadow.

The young city is the cradle of Belgium’s Black Country, but it’s more than that. It’s also the capital of comic strips and alternative culture. It’s the home of the publisher Dupuis, which has produced the famous children’s magazine Spirou since 1938. Culture in Charleroi is also on display at its Museum of Photography and the Bois du Cazier, which is listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites just like its Belfry - and the folkloric walks between the Sambre and Meuse. All these have given the city a glowing international reputation.

Also worthy of mention is the artist René Magritte, who was born in Lessines and studied in Charleroi before obtaining a place at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels.

Charleroi continues to surprise you…