De Unie Hasselt-Genk | An initiative of

About De Unie Hasselt-Genk

Art in the public space in and between Hasselt and Genk

De Unie Hasselt-Genk is a new and suprising art project that is currently being realised between the two characteristic Belgian Limburg centre cities of Hasselt and Genk. Artists, socio-cultural organisations and residents bring attention to the wide diversity of this twin area through a unique range of events, projects and artworks, presented throughout the summer. As of 5 October, De Unie Hasselt-Genk will become part of the surroundings of the area in the form of a permanent art route.

As of 21 June, you can visit De Unie Hasselt-Genk, an art route that literally connects the two cities together.

Follow the route and discover the artworks of national and international artists in the public space of Hasselt and Genk.

At more than 20 locations on the route this summer, you can also experience exhibitions and other activities. For this summer programme, various cultural institutions in the two cities worked together.

Upon the invitation of Z33 – the house for contemporary art of the province of Limburg – and the cities of Hasselt and Genk, a dozen national and international artists set to work to translate this unique urban environment, the specific landscape and the strong cultural history into new and (semi-) permanent works of art, set in special locations within the open space. The project is curated by Tom van Gestel, former artistic director at SKOR.

Artist Rinus Van de Velde, for example, staged a veritable tableau vivant in the popular Hasselt café Cambrinus, which later served as the basis for a new monumental charcoal drawing, his largest to date. Dutch artist Erik Odijk revives an old 19th century tradition; with his De ROCK show, he establishes a new artists’ colony at the Emile Van Doren Museum in Genk with artists such as, among others, Vaast Colson, Jean Bernard Koeman and Rudy J. Luijters, and works by Jimmie Durham, Ives Maes, Tom Wolseley, François Roffiaen, PINK de Thierry, Lara de Moor, Ania Rachmat, Erlend Williamson, Franziz Denyz and Melanie Bonajo. The Dutch artist Krijn de Koning, in turn, was fascinated by the former Groene Huis (Green House) of the Arboretum of Bokrijk, currently threatened with demolition. His intervention in the largely stripped building will become part of the ruin, as nature encroaches upon it, reclaiming the terrain.

In addition to the new artworks in the open space, several collaborations between cultural institutions in both cities provide a diverse and exciting summer programme in over 20 locations. Spontaneous actions and contributions by the residents in the region further enhance the programme. In this way, De Unie Hasselt-Genk project creates new connections between the two cities, while bringing existing ones to the fore.

The launch for the general public will take place on Saturday 21 June 2014, at various locations in Hasselt and Genk. On Sunday 5 October 2014, the rich summer programme is concluded with a special show: The Sound of Hasselt-Genk. This musical event set around the Albert Canal brings together hundreds of musicians from Genk and Hasselt along the Tuikabelbrug (cable-stayed bridge), a symbolic place for a physical connection between the two cities which will, until then, never actually have been realised. The tracks composed by Wim Henderickx for both groups meld together into a splendid musical whole. After5 October 2014, a dozen artworks will remain in the public space and form a permanent art route.

De Unie guarantees a unique experience for young and old. Explore the art route on foot or by bike. You can choose the route that best suits you! With a nice bike trail, a cosy meeting place, culinary events in green surroundings, an on-going cultural summer programme and numerous new works of art in the public space, De Unie Hasselt-Genk literally turns your attention onto the environment.

Z33 – art in the public space

De Unie Hasselt-Genk is a project of Z33 – the house for contemporary art of the Province of Limburg – in cooperation with the cities of Hasselt and Genk. The art route forms part of a special series of Z33-projects that centre on art in the public space. The first of these projects was ‘pit’ in Borgloon, which can still be visited, and whose “transparent church” and “tree tents” grew into internationally acclaimed crowd pullers.

About curator Tom van Gestel

Tom van Gestel studied Art History at the University of Utrecht. From 1983 to 1995, he worked as the head of the Fine Arts Committee of the Ministry of Culture. He was the head of the department of the Fine Arts Committee of the Mondriaan Foundation until 1999, and then worked as artistic director, chief curator and deputy director of SKOR, Stichting Kunst en Openbare Ruimte (Foundation Art and Public Space).

In the nineties, Tom van Gestel organised the presentation of Flemish and Dutch artists at the Venice Biennale and was Commissioner-General for the Dutch contribution. He was a guest lecturer at, among others, the Michaelis Art School in Cape Town, the Royal College of Art in London and the State Academy of Oslo. He has been a guest speaker at international symposiums, including in England, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, France, Japan, Germany and New Zealand.

Van Gestel’s focus is often on the interaction between art, sponsor, location, and public space. In his projects, he often sets out to create significant and influential connections in the fields of new media, architecture, urban development and landscape architecture. This was for instance the case in Beyond, a sustainable project for the urban expansion of Utrecht, Leidse Rijn, a programme that would ultimately last approximately 10 years.

De Unie Hasselt-Genk is an initiative of





Radisson Blu Hasselt
Literair Museum
BiB Genk
Quartier Canal
Dag van de Wijers
De Queeste
C-mine cultuurcentrum
Fablab Genk
Rondpunt 26
Vlaamse Landmaatschappij
Provinciaal Natuurcentrum