Discovered the location in 2004, along with the other Belgian coalmines in this area, visited in October 2006. It is a nice location. I think the buildings were open because of some kind of photoshoot taking place. There were a lot of people on the site. The site is going to be redeveloped into a industrial area in about a year.
The coal in the Kempen (Campina) was discovered by André Dumont in 1901. From 1917 till 1938 several coal mines were build. The mines did very well, being very modern compared to the mines in the south of Belgium. In 1958 the international coal-crisis struck. The prices went down and the mines lost money. Two of the mines merged in 1964. In 1966 one of the mines in the Kempen had to be closed due to European regulation. This caused big riots, in which two men were killed. The Belgian state then decided to keep the remainder of the mines open for as long as possible and pay for its losses. In the 1980's it became clear that prices wouldn't rise and the mines would be loss-making forever. This led to the closure of all the mines in the period from 1987 until 1992. Most of the buildings were torn down, some of them were rescued and house museums, cinemas and shopping malls.