BMA: the organisation behind the International Shooting Days
Get in touch!

Shooting Days

Home » Shooting Days » List of events » Tombeek - Beringen

Checking the pictures on top of the sanatorium

On the roof, 30m. above ground.
The broadcast antennas (RTBF and VRT) are quite visible.

Use the light!

Small wagon for the mine workers

The international Shooting Days of 2009 took place in the Spring, with photoshoots in an ols sanatorium (Tombeek) and coal mine (Beringen-Mijn).

It was one of the last photoshoots with Denis Wöhler, who died shortly thereafter.

The meeting point was in Aachen, where we rented an appartment. This time, most of the models came from Germany. It was a two-day event.

Joseph Lemaire


The sanatorium Joseph Lemaire at Tombeek was build in 1937 to isolate sick people from the population. While a preventorium is destined for young people (who can heal naturally), a sanatorium is for older people, when the symptoms are quite visible and any chance of healing is nearly excluded.

Antibiotics to cure the illness were developped shortly after world war II and the existing sanatoriums had to convert and care for other illnesses. Most preventoriums cared for children with astma (like the Zeepreventorium and Pulderbos), while most sanatoriums switched to elderly people.

The sanatorium was closed in 1987, precisely 50 years after it's grand opening. They are plans to renovate the building and to transform it into an hotel. It's not possible to enter the site anymore.

A sanatorium is build with very large windows so that as much light as possible can enter the rooms. The building was very damaged after more than 20 years of innocupation. There was nothing left of the hospital gear, but all walls were full of tags.


The sole purpose of the coal mines in the Limburg region was to provide cheap coal to the Walloon steel industry. Walloon coal mines were nearly exhausted and the steel industry needed large quantities of cheap coal to continue to produce.

The main builing reads “Charbonnage de Beringen”: it was the property of the french speaking steel manufacturers.

But the coal mines of the region were also exausted quite rapidly and the mining of the remaining coal was too prohibitive. The mines closed one after the other in the sixties.

The site is can be visited. Some of the accessories used in the mine are exposed on the main square, like the small wagons used to transport the workers in the mine shafts. After some years of extensive exploitation, the shafts to the coal were quite long and that made the mine less and less profitable.

Some time after the mines were closed, the mine shafts collapased. On the surface, lakes were formed. It was fortunate that no habitations were build above the mines.

Tombeek - Beringen, 2009



Google pages selection that could be of some interest to you