Alken, Belgium

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Alken
Municipality of Belgium
Brewery of Alken (left) and St-Aldegondis Church (right)
Brewery of Alken (left) and St-Aldegondis Church (right)
Flag of Alken
Flag
Coat of arms of Alken
Coat of arms
Alken is located in Belgium
Alken
Alken
Location in Belgium
Coordinates: 50°52′N 5°18′E / 50.867°N 5.300°E / 50.867; 5.300Coordinates: 50°52′N 5°18′E / 50.867°N 5.300°E / 50.867; 5.300
Country Belgium
Community Flemish Community
Region Flemish Region
Province Limburg
Arrondissement Tongeren
Government
 • Mayor Marc Penxten (NVA)
 • Governing party/ies Groen, Open VLD and N-VA
Area
 • Total 28.14 km2 (10.86 sq mi)
Population (1 January 2012)[1]
 • Total 11,315
 • Density 400/km2 (1,000/sq mi)
Postal codes 3570
Area codes 011
Website (Dutch) www.alken.be

Alken is a Hesbayen municipality located in Belgian province of Limburg. The community lies just south of the provincial capital of Hasselt. Alken has about 11,300 residents, which gives the village a larger population than the nearby small cities of Borgloon and Herk-de-Stad.

History[edit]

Alken appeared for the first time in history in 1066 under the name Alleche. Since 1180, the official name of the municipality is Alken but 'Alleke' is still often used by locals. Alken was an enclave of the Bishopric of Liège surrounded by the county of Loon. Many Prince Bishops had a summer residence here.

Village centers[edit]

The municipality has no districts. But has 3 village centers or major neighborhoods. Alken-Centre, Sint-Joris (St. George) and Terkoest.

Alken-Centre is located in the east of the municipality, neighboring Hasselt and Wellen. The parish is dedicated to St. Aldegondis and it is the oldest parish in Alken. The city hall, the CPAS, most shops and institutions are located here.

Sint-Joris (St. George) is located south of Alken, neighboring Sint-Truiden and Nieuwerkerken. The parish is dedicated to St. George Patron Saint, known from the story of Saint George and the dragon.

Terkoest located in the northwest of the town, neighboring Hasselt and Nieuwerkerken. The name Terkoest comes from an old Dutch word for marshy areas.

A fourth neighborhood in Alken grew around the station, though this station area is not developed into a real village. The station was closed for a while and the local school closed.

Sights[edit]

Alken is best known for its brewery and the beer Cristal Alken brewed there, but also for its many castles, churches, chapels and water mills. In recreational terms, one can indulge in the leisure park "De Alk" between large and the small Herk (river), one can walk in the Mombeek-valley and explore the well-equipped bicycle network. Alken is located in the most productive fruit cultivation area of Belgium and the area is famous for its blossoming fruit trees filling the landscape.

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