is a Belgian city
, and capital of the Flemish province
. The Hasselt municipality
includes the city of Hasselt and the old communes of Sint-Lambrechts-Herk
On 31 December, 2007 Hasselt had a total population of 71 520 (34 951 men and 36 569 women). Hasselt is located at the Demer
river and is also connected to the Albert Canal
. Hasselt is located in between the Campine
regions in the middle of the Euregion Meuse-Rhine.
Hasselt was founded in the 7th century
on the Helbeek, a tributary of the Demer
river. The name Hasselt came from Hasaluth
, which means hazel wood. It was one of the bigger cities of the county of Loon
, whose borders were approximately the same as the current province of Limburg. Hasselt was first given a name in 1165 and shortly thereafter received the much sought after city charter. In 1232 this status was officially confirmed by count Arnold IV
Even though the city of Borgloon was the official capital of this small principality, Hasselt was to become the biggest city thanks to its favourable setting and to the proximity of the count’s castle and the Herkenrode abbey in Kuringen. In 1366 the county of Loon became part of the Bishopric of Liège and remained so until the annexation by France in 1794. Maastricht became the capital of the area that was then called the Department of the Lower Meuse. After the defeat of Napoleon and the union with the Netherlands, the name Limburg was adopted, after the old county of Limburg which had never held power over Loon. Even when Belgium gained its independence, this name was retained and the name Loon disappeared. In 1830 Hasselt became the provisional capital of the Belgian province of Limburg. When Maastricht stayed Dutch in 1839, it became the permanent seat of its provincial government within the Netherlands, also called Limburg. In 1967, Belgian Limburg was detached from the Diocese of Liège and Hasselt became the seat of the Diocese of Hasselt.
Hasselt is a traffic junction of important traffic arteries from all directions. The most important traffic artery is the motorway E313 Antwerp-Liège. Hasselt itself is enclosed by 2 ring roads. The outer ring road serves to keep traffic out of the city centre. The inner ring road, the so-called "Green Boulevard", serves to keep traffic out of the commercial centre, which is an almost entirely pedestrian area. There are also important traffic arteries to Tongeren
. You can also visit Hasselt by plane. The city lies relatively near the airport of Brussels
and the Maastricht-Aachen Airport. Private aircraft can land in Hasselt itself, on the airfield of Kiewit.
Hasselt made Public transport by bus zero-fare from July 1, 1997 and ridership was as much as "13 times higher" by 2006. After increasing bus services substantially, expensive investments in streets and parking facilities were unnecessary.
Hasselt was the first city in the world that had entirely zero-fare bus services on the whole of its territory.
The town centre of Hasselt is not large but very sociable. The centre is mostly car-free and contains a number of historical buildings. Among the oldest buildings in the town centre are the St. Quentin's Cathedral (11th to 18th C.) and the "Herkenrode Abbey refuge house" (1542). The "Grote Markt" (large central market square) and the nearby streets are lined with pubs, restaurants and taverns.
The Demerstraat and the Koning Albertstraat are the most important shopping streets. In the Kapelstraat and the Hoogstraat are expensive shops with the most famous brands. Another major religious building, besides the cathedral, is the Virga Jesse Basilica. Both have to cede domination of the skyline of the city to the twin towers of the "TT-wijk", however; the renovation of this complex (now including a shopping mall and a hotel) in 2003 gave the centre a new boost. In 2004, Hasselt was the first Belgian city to receive the title "most sociable city of Flanders", and has since claimed the title of "Capital of Good Taste"; likewise, Hasselt is also considered an exemplary city regarding pedestrian facilities in the centre.
Monuments, parks and public fields
- The abbey of Herkenrode in Kuringen
- The Airfield of Kiewit
- The different historical buildings and museums in the city
- The Japanese garden
- The Kapermolenpark
- The National Bank of architect Henri van Dievoet.
- The nature field Kiewit
- The Refugehuis of the abbey of Herkenrode
- The St. Quentin's Cathedral , , ,
- The town park, to the cultural centre
- The Virga Jesse Basilica ,
- Also many events take place in the Ethias Arena, the largest arena in Belgium.
- Kiewit is the location of the yearly Pukkelpop (Pimplepop) festival, one of Europe's largest alternative music festivals with over a hundred concerts, at the end of August. Rimpelrock (Wrinklerock), a festival with music for people over fifty, is held at the same location. The Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2005 was held in Hasselt.
- The Kermesse, now only septennial, not only commemorates the Christian story of the foundation of the town, but also preserves traces of a pagan festival.
Twin and partner cities