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Former municipality of Belgium
Town hall
Town hall
Location in the municipality of Charleroi
Location in the municipality of Charleroi
Marcinelle is located in Belgium
Location in Belgium
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Country  Belgium
Region  Wallonia
Community Wallonia French Community
Province  Hainaut
Municipality Drapeau ville be Charleroi.svg Charleroi
 • Total 5.08 sq mi (13.16 km2)
Population (2001)
 • Total 22,877
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 6001
Area code(s) 071

Marcinelle is a town in the Belgian province of Hainaut, a district within the Charleroi borders. Until 1977, it was a municipality of its own. Home of the comics publisher Dupuis, as many popular creators of Franco-Belgian comics were based in Marcinelle the town has given name to the famous drawing style known as the Marcinelle school. Marcinelle is also the place where serial killer Marc Dutroux lived, before his arrest.


Mining accident of Marcinelle

On the morning of August 8, 1956, a fire in the mines of Marcinelle resulted in 262 casualties. At the time of the incident, 274 people were working in the colliery Bois du Cazier, also known as Puits Saint-Charles.[1] A mining wagon incorrectly positioned in the elevator cage struck an oil pipe and electrical cables when the elevator started moving. This caused a fire, which trapped the miners working in the galleries below. Of the 274 people working on that morning, only twelve survived. Most of the victims were immigrants. Among the victims, there were 136 Italians, 95 Belgians, eight Poles, six Greeks, five Germans, five Frenchmen, three Hungarians, one Englishman, one Dutchman, one Russian and one Ukrainian.[2]

Rescue operations continued until August 23 when the final verdict came from the mouth of a rescuer: "Tutti cadaveri!" (All corpses).[3] The incident prompted Italy to demand better working conditions for the Italian guest workers in Belgium. Belgium, however, decided to recruit foreign workers from other countries more actively.[4]

In the resulting prosecution, the trial court acquitted all of the accused on October 1, 1959. An appeal was lodged, and on January 30, 1961, the court gave the mine manager a six-month suspended jail sentence and a 2,000 Belgian franc fine (equivalent to €300 in 2006 after adjusting for inflation) and acquitted the other defendants.[5]

The catastrophe had left such a legacy behind that it was selected as the main motif for a 2006 commemorative coin: the ten-Euro 50th anniversary of the catastrophe "Bois du Cazier" at Marcinelle coin. The obverse shows a portrait of a miner, with the mine "Bois du Cazier" in the background.

On September 19, 1981 a souvenir sheet was issued commemorating the 25th anniversary of the disaster, showing a scene of the disaster and a stamp of the Pieta, by Ben Genaux.[6]


Notable inhabitants

  • Marc Dutroux, convicted child molester and serial killer (1956–)
  • Paul Pastur, lawyer and politician (1866–1938)


  1. Description of the mine
  2. Emporis News
  3. Le Bois du Cazier August 8, 1956 site
  4. Multicultural Policies and Modes of Citizenship in Belgium: The Cases Of Antwerp, Liège and Brussels Multicultural Policies and Modes of Citizenship in European Cities (MPMC), September 1999
  5. How the justice system failed the Marcinelle dead, HESA Newsletter, October 2006
  6. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.

External links

Media related to Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. at Wikimedia Commons

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