Over the past few years of our travels, something has become clear: very often, in post-industrial cities where rents are cheap and space more plentiful, the most creative young people come. These young creatives arrive to paint to write and build and break—they are there to make new worlds. Though Brooklyn might be most famous for this, we recently visited a place where the creative spirit was even stronger: Charleroi, Belgium.
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For decades Charleroi was an iron, steel, and coal town. But as these industries moved elsewhere and those who worked in them left, young creatives took up the empty space. And to our surprise, they’ve created a little artistic utopia there, which is unknown to most but well worth a visit. Here are some experiences you can have: set off on an urban exploration through this city in rebirth. Then, look online for open artist studios. Often, creators of all sorts will allow you to visit the space where they birth their art. It’s a great way to truly feel the pulse of contemporary culture. Finally, quench your thirst at one of the many coffee roasteries and micro-breweries.
Want to learn more? Check out our conversation with Antoine Struelens, a local from Charleroi, and the founder of ChARTleroi, a local urban project.