Discover Benelux, Issue 27, March 2016

Page 11

Capital of culture: Mons Mons, the third-largest urban area in Wallonia, has 100,000 inhabitants. The town is Belgium’s sixth-largest trade centre and Wallonia’s third largest. Four masterpieces located in the area are on the World Heritage List. TEXT: VISITMONS | PHOTOS: VISITMONS - GRÉGORY MATHELOT / F. MAINIL

Thanks to European Union funds and due to a multi-sector development strategy – one of the flagships of which was the Mons 2015, European Capital of Culture event last year – the town is undergoing a renewal that has given a dynamic and creative boost to its residents. Mons 2015, European Capital of Culture, enabled the region to boom. 2015 was a great year for the area – 2.2 million people visited the region and countless projects sprung up.

The town has made huge progress: – New facilities for international exhibitions have been created. – New theatres and concert halls have come into being. – The new Mons International Congress Xperience (MICX) has opened. – A new high-tech Tourist Office has welcomed its first tourists. – A new Maison du Design (design centre) has been set up. – Historical buildings have been renovated.

– Five museums can be visited in the area, three of which are themed around items on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Furthermore, it appeared fundamental that a legacy be left behind by 2015. And so a significant cultural event with Europe-wide reach will be held every two years.

Development of ‘Ville Two’: Mons-Grands Prés The Town Hall is working on infrastructure links between the historic town of Mons and the new town at Grands Prés, which is undergoing huge development, with household name chains such as IKEA and technology-oriented firms such as Google and Microsoft setting up there. Shortly, the new multi-modal station designed by Santiago Calatrava will metamorphose Mons’ urban landscape, which has already been studded with gems such as the MICX, the convention centre, designed by Daniel Liebeskind.

All of these features have enabled the town to go through a complete shapeshift on urbanistic, cultural and economic levels, and that is what makes it an unmissable short break and holiday destination today. Mons is now a pleasant place to stay and one where there are many options that will make your holidays successful ones. Opportunities for leisure activities are abound and the excellence of services make it the place to go for your business trips. VISIT MONS Browse the visitMons guide to get inspiration for good ideas, plan your stay on the website or download the visitMons app. For personalised service and an unforgettable trip, visit the Tourist Office (visitMons, Grand-Place 27, Mons). Issue 27 | March 2016 | 11