History

March 23rd, 2006 was the official opening of the National Park.

When the not-for-profit organization Regionaal Landschap Kempen en Maasland (RLKM)  was founded in 1990, the idea to create a National Park in Flanders was already present. The successful campaign ‘Hoge Kempen, Green Opportunity’ in 1998 put this idea in motion and the Flemish Government assigned RLKM the task to develop a Master plan. In this Master plan, the first, rough concept for the National Park took shape.

At the end of 2001, all the involved municipalities and the Provincial Council offered this Master plan the Flemish Minister in charge, Mrs Vera Dua.

July 19th, 2002 the concept was officially included in the reconversion policy for Limburg by decree of the Flemish Government. The Ministers for the Environment and for Tourism were commissioned to optimally use the available resources to realise this concept. The Strategic Development Company of Limburg (Lisom) received the order to put aside 28 million euros for the realisation of the plan.

In 2003, the RLKM established a special unit: the project team ‘Hoge Kempen’ National Park. The steering committee and the project committee were installed mid-2003.

January 25th, 2004 was an important date for the Park the community ‘Maasmechelen’, by initiative of Flemish Minister Sannen, rented out over 1000 ha of her property to the National Park. With the opening of the ecoduct by Minister Tavernier and Minister Bossuyt in spring 2004, a huge step in the defragmentation of the ‘Hoge Kempen’ had been taken.

The new logo and brand were introduced to the press, government and public in June 2004 in Genk.

On March 23rd, 2006 the ‘Hoge Kempen’ National Park was officially opened by the European Commissionaire for the Environment Stavros Dimas, in the presence of all the involved mayors, the Governor, members of the Provincial council and the Flemish Government and members of the European and the Flemish parliament.  Since this day, everyone who carries nature in their heart, are welcome in the ‘Hoge Kempen’ National Park