Population – 66,000

Genk is situated 80 km from the city of Brussels and the on border with the Netherlands.

Through the Albert canal the city is connected to Antwerp and Liège, which was pivotal in the development of local industries. Until 1988, the coal industry was another very important driver for the city's economy.

54% of the inhabitants of Genk are of foreign origin from about 107 different nationalities, mostly Italians, Turkish, and Dutch.

Connecting Partner – Stad Genk

Contact: Peter Vos - Peter.Vos@Genk.be


Finding solutions for more and more frequent episodes of flooding and storm water management.

Innovative water management in the Valley of the Stiemer.

Creating business models for nature-based solutions that create local jobs.

Further increasing the attractiveness and quality of the landscape and local ecosystems (especially in the Valley of the Stiemer).


Throughout the whole project the inhabitants of Genk see real changes in their surroundings around the Stiemer.

The improvements in the Stiemer will allow Genk to become a great place to live and work in contact with nature and to become even more attractive.

The Stiemer becomes the jewel in the crown of Genk an attractive and functional blue-green zone that turns a neglected area into a new hotspot.


5 years’ time

New marshes and plants help managing excess water during heavy rainfalls.

Small beaches have been created along the river: people swim there in the summer and skate in the winter.

Allotment gardens in the Stiemer attract more and more hobby gardeners.

Following active participation from the local population, a new landscape plan for the Stiemer has been created.

Kids from different areas of Genk can cycle to school and visit friends in other parts of town thanks to new bike connections and bridges.


10 years’ time

New bicycle paths in the Stiemer connect the city centres to the C-mine area and beyond. In many places the city's little river meanders again.

Picnic spots in the Stiemer have become attractive locations to enjoy nature.

New infrastructures allow locals to walk next to the river throughout the entire valley.

Local youth engage as volunteers to manage the Stiemer.


15 years’ time

The river is fully connected to the city and is a live and vital part of the inhabitants' quality of life.

The sewage system is completely disconnected from the Stiemer and all surface waters are now certified as clean enough for swimming.

The nature in the Stiemer is swarming with wildlife and locals who enjoy hiking, cycling and swimming.

Genk has become world-famous for having turned the Stiemer into a soft mobility thoroughfare with huge recreational and biological value.