Difference between revisions of "Halen"
Revision as of 09:07, 10 August 2012
In 1914 Halen has written history by beating the Germans in the "battle of the Silver Helmets" during World War one. A museum on this matter exists in Loksbergen one of the parts of Halen. there are two rivers passing Halen called "de Velpe" and "de Gete". In 1646 the construction of a water-grain-mill started. The mill stil exists. Halen has multiple municipalities called Halen, Zelem, Loksbergen, Zelk.
Halen itself is the center part between the other municipalities. It is well located between Hasselt and Diest.
Loksbergen (bergen is the dutch word for hills) has some small hills and stunning sunken roads. They are protected natural domains and available for the public. In the 19th century it had some smaller pots bakeries and a clog factory that now is transformed in a big wood dealership. It has mostly fruit plantations and is a paradise with your Vespa, bicycle, motor or endless walking between the fields.
Zelem is the best side of Halen for living. It has lot's of forests and nature. With it's big monastery and beautiful views of the Demer valley and the typical brown river called "de zwarte beek". The brown colour comes from the ferro in the ground. It has lot's of coniferous and deciduous forests open for the public and for free.
Zelk also has some of the most beautiful sunken roads of the region. Just like Zelem there are mainly fields and grasslands. Agriculture is still very important in this region.
Halen can be reached by bus and car. If you are travelling by train the closest station is Diest. There you can continue by bus. By highway you take the exit 25 on the E314 called Halen/Diest. You will find the express way from Diest to Hasselt passing Halen. You wil directly see signs to Zelem, Zelk, Halen and Loksbergen. Halen and all municipalities are very bicycle friendly places.
Best way to get around is by motorcycle, bike, walking and/or public transport. Public transport is not expansive in Belgium and rather correct in timings however if you prefer your car there is no problem. All parking is free and there is always a good spot.
The churches of Zelem, Halen, Zelk and Loksbergen are nice old buildings. They are very often open for public.
Chapels, if you travel around in the region you will spot them everywhere. They all have a small bank or location to sit down, enjoy the view and have a moment to think and rest.
Monastery Sint-Jan in Zelem. It is sometimes open for public and an impressive building. The future of the builiding is not sure yet (2012) parts are up for sale. Let's hope someone makes a tourist spot of it!
The old pots factory Jorissen at "de panoven" in Loksbergen.
There is also a regional museum in Loksbergen where you can have a drink in a fully maintained retro environment. It is called "De Reinvoart" 
The market of Halen has some very nice renovated old buildings and café's.
The watermill on the "Gete" (address: Zwarte Duivelstraat 35)
Rotemse molen another watermill (address: Gidsenstraat 24)
Museum "the battle of the silver helmets" 
Certainly take a walk in the sunken roads located in Loksbergen and Zelk. If you like a good forest walk take the forests in Zelem.
Zelem and Halen do have lot's of sports and recreation facilities including, tennis fields, sports arena's and football fields.
Zelem has a skateboard park next to it's sports and recreation arena. It is completely renewed in 2012.
Halen also has an athletic piste and an outdoor playground next to the tennis and sports area.
Once a year in may there is a big music festival in Halen called Springtime 
Buy some local pie's and traditional cookies at the local bakery.
There are several banks in Halen and Zelem offering an ATM. International transfers using Maestro, Mastercard and Visa are supported by all ATM's. The Belgian Post also offers international money pick-up in their offices.
You can eat some traditional Belgian French fries at the market of Halen or "'t Hoekske" in Loksbergen for a very low budget. However some better restaurants are available. In "de Reinvoart" you can eat some traditional cakes, dishes and have a nip of the local Gin at very democratic prices.
Zelem has a traditional Belgian restaurant called "de Pastorie" next to the church. 
Halen also offers international food:
You can drink some apple wine or local brewed gin.
"De markt" in Halen is a state of the art Belgian Cafe. You can test some Belgian beers and enjoy the view.
There is one famous disco in Halen called the Boccaccio 
Hotels are available in the region of Diest and next to the exit Halen of the E314 there is also a classy, more expensive hotel.
Halen has full 3G/UMTS and Cellphone coverage. Belgian post office is located in the center of Halen near the market. You can buy stamps and send packages. Cards can be ordered in the post office or the local suppermarket. You can buy a Belgian pre-paid phone card at the post or all supermarkets.