The European Landscape Award is an initiative of the Council of Europe. Every two years it rewards a project which best protects, manages and develops its valuable landscape.
The Hoge Kempen landscape is made of lean gravel-rich sandy soil covered with heath land, and coniferous and ancient forests. Some 6,000 hectares of these nature areas are part of the National Park Hoge Kempen since 2006 and they are surrounded by the architectural remains of four former coal mines.
The National Park was chosen amongst five other candidates by a professional jury. Some of the criteria taken into consideration were: sustainable development, open access to the public, exemplary function and participation of local inhabitants and stakeholders.
The Hoge Kempen National Park responds to the Landscape Convention by working interdisciplinary and using a bottom-up approach. It blends in the very urbanized Belgian landscape in an innovative way. “Because of its sustainable, environmental, social-economic, cultural and esthetical qualities, the Hoge Kempen National Park project is the story of a successful revaluation of a difficult landscape”, reads the jury's verdict.