- For the Dutch city of Hasselt, see Zwartewaterland.
Hasselt is a city in Belgium, capital of the province of Belgian Limburg. It has 70,000 habitants. Hasselt is located to the "Albertkanaal" and the "Demer", between the "Kempen" and "Haspengouw", in the middle of in the Euregio.
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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 Holland, the name Limburg was adopted. Even when Belgium gained its independence, this name was retained and the name Loon disappeared. In 1839 Hasselt became the capital of the Belgian province of Limburg.
It is easy to get to Hasselt because Hasselt is a traffic junction of important traffic-arteries from all directions. The most important traffic-artery is the motorway E313 Luik-Hasselt Hasselt-Antwerp. Further Hasselt has been enclosed by 2 ring-ways. The large ring-way must keep the traffic out of the centre of the city. The small ring-way, the so-called "Green Boulevard", must keep the traffic out of the trade centre which is because of this almost pedestrian. Public transport by bus has been free of charge since 1997. There are also important traffic-arteries to Tongeren, Sint-Truiden, Genk, Diest and Eindhoven. You can aso visit Hasselt by plane. The city lies near the airport of Brussels, Luik and the Maastricht-Aachen Airport. Private aircrafts can land in Hasselt itself, on the airport of Kiewit.
Hasselt counts several schools all over the city, both nursery schools, primary schools as secondary schools. In Hasselt is also the urban academy for music, word, dancing and art. Moreover there are in and around Hasselt a large number of colleges. Health care, secondary teacher training, socio-agogic work, higher art education, etc. are a small seizure from the offer. There is also an university, "University Hasselt" with campuses in Hasselt and Diepenbeek. The University of Hasselt cooperates with the University of Maastricht. This project must develop into "University Hasselt-Maastricht". So, Hasselt is a great student city with more than 50,000 students every year.
The town centre of Hasselt is not large but very sociable. The centre is practically entirely car-free and contains different historical buildings. The oldest building of the city is the Refugehuis of the abbey of Herckenrode. On the large market there are many pubs, restaurants and taverns as well as in the rest of the city.
The Demerstraat and the Koning-Albertstraat are the most important shop streets. In the Kapelstraat and the Hoogstraat are expensive shops with the most famous brands. The Sint-Quintincathedral and the Virga-Jessebasilica give the centre form. In 2003, the new TT-wijk has given the centre a new boost with a modern shop complex. In 2004, Hasselt got as first Belgian city the title "most sociable city of Flanders"; and Hasselt is also taken as an example city for the good supplies for pedestrians and walkers in the centre.
Monuments, parks and public fields:
- The Sint-Quintinuscathedral.
- The Virga-Jessebasilica.
- The Japanese garden.
- The abbey of Herckenrode in Kuringen.
- The Refugehuis of the abbey of Herckenrode.
- The Airport of Kiewit.
- The different historical buildings and museums in the city.
- The nature field Kiewit.
- The Kapermolenpark.
- The town park, to the cultural centre.
- Largest outdoor skatepark of Europe.
- Virga-Jesse festivals (every seven years).
- WTA-tennistournamet: Gaz the France stars Hasselt.
- Theatre on the market.
- Gin festivals.
- Junior euro vision songfestival (26 Novembre 2005)
- An event for art, vogue and design (every tree years).
- Ketnet freezzz.
- http://www.gazdefrancestars.be Gaz de France Stars Hasselt (WTA-tennistournament).
- http://www.hasselt.be Hasselt (official site of Hasselt).
- http://www.grenslandhallen.be Grenslandhallen
- http://www.ethiasarena.be Ethias Arena
- http://www.herkenrode.be Abbey of Herckenrode
- http://www.muziekodroom.be Muziek-O-Droom
- http://www.kunstencentrumbelgie.com Art centre Belgium
- http://www.z33.be Z33
- http://www.rimpelrock.be Rimpelrock
- http://www.pukkelpop.be Pukkelpop
- http://www.superhasselt.be Cultural event for art, vogue and design
- http://hasseltshots.be Shots 2005
- http://www.visitflanders.com Tourism Flanders
- http://www.toerismelimburg.be Tourism Limburg