La Louvière

La Louvière is a city in the Walloon region of Belgium

  • dining
  • Museums & arts
  • On the river
  • Parks & green space
  • Touristy

La Louvière

La Louvière is a city in the Walloon region of Belgium, which has risen from the ashes of its post-industrial past – when it was one of the coal mining centres of the country – to stake a claim as a cultural and artistic hub. Although it may lack the well preserved medieval centre of many Belgian cities it has an appeal of its own and is often appreciated from the vantage point of one of the boats which can be hired to sail along the canal linking it to the city of Mons.


The history of La Louviere is rich in mythology and folklore. The legend, similar to that around the birth of the city of Rome, states that the city was originally founded by a child which had been raised by a she-wolf. The origin of this story probably lies in the fact that the region was originally covered in dense woodland which was known to be populated by wolves. Indeed, the original name for the wider region was Menaulu, which is derived from the Old French word for ‘wolf's lair’.

The name La Louiviere itself dates back to the 13th century, which is also when coal was first discovered in the area. The infrastructure needed to ship this coal out of the city didn’t arrive until the 19th century, however, when the construction of railways, canals and roads led to the city becoming one of the largest and most important in this part of Belgium.


Main features

The Four Lifts on the Canal

Perhaps the most famous sights in La Louviere, reminiscent of the industrial past of the city, are the hydraulic boat lifts along the canal. These impressive iron structures were built at the beginning of the 20th century and in 1998 they were named by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Although they are stunning to look at from afar, they are best appreciated from on board a boat being raised within the actual hydraulic workings. Lift Number 1 has a small museum adjoined to it and is also the place from which boats can be hired and guided tours can be taken.

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