Grotte de Han-sur-Lesse, Ardennes, Belgium
Position: 50° 07’16.81 “N / 5 ° 11’32.68“ E
Length: 300 m (total: 3 km)
Show cave since: 1857
Refurbishment of entrance up to Vigneron chamber: February – April 2015
260 lamps with a total power of approx. 1 kw
One of the most beautiful show caves in Europe is now even more attractive
The Grotte de Han: The first big step towards total refurbishment has been taken
The Grotte de Han in the Belgian Ardennes is one of the most famous show caves in Europe. This three star show cave (Michelin Guide) is unique, due to its magnificent abundance of dripstones and the size of its innumerable chambers. The three-kilometer guided tours take about 1.5 hours to complete and include 400 steps.
For visitors, the trip to the cave starts in the middle of the village, from where a historical tram takes them through the associated zoo up to the entrance of the cave. The show cave provides various guided tours in different languages, a variety of light and music shows as well as a big subterranean river (the Lesse), which disappears dramatically in a big siphon only to reemerge at the exit of the cave.
Always a Challenge
In May 2012, Cave Lighting™ completely reinstalled the section “Draperies”. During a three-year test phase the products performed remarkably well in the specific conditions on site: the Grotte de Han is flooded several times a year. Consequently waterproof LEDs are used that are manufactured in-house and adjusted to the cave climate.
From February to April 2015 and in collaboration with the firm CE+T Technics S. A. and theGrotte de Han team, we redesigned the entrance area up to “Vigneron” chamber (about 300 m) and we equipped it with the Cave Lighting™ LED system as well. In this area the visitors will now be welcomed by an unforgettable coloured light show (using exterior DMX lamps), while in “Scarabee” chamber the cave visitor can view another PWM controlled light show. Sooner or later, the use of old, conventional lamps is no longer feasible for the operating company because the maintenance of technologically obsolete illumination will one day be similar to that of an old car: it is complex and expensive.
Two staff members of the cave helped the Cave Lighting™ team to lay the cables, and so installation times and costs could be reduced. In addition, two sub-distribution cabinets of 400 VAC/24VDC were installed by CE+T Technics S. A. (www.cettechnics.be), under the direction of Eric Bartsch. Due to the broad expertise in the fields of light design, electrical installation and speleology, Cave Lighting™ is able to completely supervise such projects from the planning phase to their implementation. If - as is the case in Han-sur-Lesse – the client wishes a collaboration with qualified personnel on site, this will be easily possible as well.
We are proud of this first major step towards the total refurbishment of this unique show cave and we would like to thank all those involved for the successful project. Owners, cave management and even cave guides, who are usually very critical towards innovations, are greatly impressed by the light design.
As of this month, visitors can enjoy the newly illuminated cave.
For more information, please visit: www.grotte-de-han.be
Alexander Chrapko and Oliver Heil
Cave Lighting™ Team