Thirteen houses in the Limburg town of Kerkrade have been evacuated after a part of the street sank into the ground.
Experts believe a 300-year-old disused mineshaft running beneath Franciscanerstraat collapsed, causing the street level to drop 1.5 metres. A detailed investigation is under way.
The houses have been cut off from gas, water and electricity supplies and the residents given alternative accommodation. It is not known when they will be able to return to their homes.
The gap has been filled with an aggregate compound which needs to harden before the buildings can be reoccupied. Ten of the 13 homes have been declared safe but still have to be reconnected to utilities.
Subsidence related to former mining activity is a common hazard in Limburg. In 2011 part of the ‘t Loon shopping centre in Heerlen had to be demolished after it suddenly collapsed.
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