Hasselt in a nutshell
Hasselt has it all
Hasselt is the capital city of the Belgian province of Limburg. It has 76,000 inhabitants and seven boroughs. The city boasts countless shops, as well as museums, cultural activities, excellent eateries and welcoming accommodation. Everything is within walking distance. Hasselt was the very first city to be crowned ‘City of Happiness’, and it is also a student city, with its university and two university colleges.
A bit of history
Hasselt was founded around the 7th century. Its name is derived from the Germanic ‘Hasaluth’, meaning hazelnut forest. Arnold IV, Count of Loon, approved the city rights in 1232. Hasselt was part of the County of Loon, whose boundaries roughly coincided with those of modern-day Limburg. At the time, Hasselt was not the capital of the province but it developed into a very important city for the county thanks to its vicinity to the count’s fortress and the Herkenrode Abbey in Kuringen. Hasselt remained the most important city in the country until 1794, when the entire Prince-Bishopric of Liège was annexed to France. Following the defeat of Napoleon and the unification with the Netherlands from 1815 to 1830, the old name of Loon was replaced with Limburg. Belgium became an independent state in 1830 and nine years later, Hasselt was named the capital of the Belgian province of Limburg
It is very unlikely that you will leave Hasselt empty-handed. Enjoy window shopping, browse exclusive boutiques and discover the latest trends in the ‘Capital of Taste’. This really is the ideal destination for a ‘shop-till-you-drop weekend’! Shops are open throughout the year form 10 am to 6 pm, Monday to Saturday. There are also special ‘shopping Sundays’. The shopping streets are pedestrianised.
Enjoy tasty treats
Our lively capital is a feast for all the senses. The cosy streets in the city centre are home to countless restaurants, cafés and cosy terraces. The ultimate local specialties? Jenever and speculaas!
Are you an art and culture lover? There’s plenty to discover here! A few hotspots are the Jenever Museum, the Hasselt Fashion Museum, the Stadsmus Municipal Museum and the Museum of Literature. There are also several cultural centres in Hasselt, including the Hasselt cultural centre, Z33 and CIAP. For concerts or trade fairs head to Grenslandhallen or Ethias Arena. For your daily music fix, Muziekodroom is the place to be.
Nature, peace and tranquillity are never far away in Hasselt, for example at the Japanese Garden, the Kiewit Domain, the Limburg Lavendel lavender farm and the Herkenrode Abbey Site. Children can let loose at Plopsa Indoor, the many museums and the Kiewit Domain. Or why not join the Knibbel Knabbeltocht, a treasure hunt through the city that includes a picnic?
Hasselt hosts countless events big and small. Some recurring events are the septennial festivities of Our Lady Virga Jesse, the Carnival celebrations, the funfair, the cyclo-cross GP, Live in Hasselt, Theatre on the Market, the Jenever Festival, Pukkelpop, Winterland and much more.
The main thoroughfare is the E313 motorway connecting Liège, Hasselt and Antwerp. The city centre is surrounded by an inner and outer ring road also known as ‘Groene Boulevard’ (Green Boulevard), which keeps traffic outside the centre. The city centre is almost entirely pedestrianised. There are also several important corridors to Tongeren (20 km), Sint-Truiden (18 km), Genk (14 km), Diest (30 km), Maastricht (40 km) and Eindhoven (65 km).