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Bilzen is a town and a municipality located in the Belgian province of Limburg.
On January 1, 2006, Bilzen had a total population of 30,057. The total area is 75.90 km² which gives a population density of 396 inhabitants per km².
Bilzen consists of the city of Bilzen and the following villages: Beverst, Eigenbilzen, Grote-Spouwen, Hees, Hoelbeek, Kleine-Spouwen, Martenslinde, Mopertingen, Munsterbilzen, Rijkhoven, Rosmeer, and Waltwilder. It was in 1977 that they all became part of the municipality Bilzen because of the fusion of municipalities.
City's in Bilzen's neighbourhood are (in its north) Genk, (in its east) Maastricht (Netherlands), in its south Tongeren and in its north-west Hasselt, (all in a distance of some 10 to 15 kilometers).
From 1965 to 1981 Bilzen hosted Jazz Bilzen, a jazz and rock festival that lasted several days. In its time Jazz Bilzen was the most important Belgian festival. Artists that performed there were, among others The Moody Blues, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Humble Pie (band), The Kinks, The Troggs, Procol Harum, Golden Earring, Rod Stewart, Status Quo, Lou Reed, Aerosmith, AC/DC, The Cure, The Kids, Elvis Costello and The Police. From the 1980s onwards the festival was superseded by Torhout-Werchter, that has now become Rock Werchter.
For over 300 years, Bilzen was part of the County of Loon (French: comté de Looz).
Places of interest
Born in Bilzen
- Elke Clijsters (January 18, 1985), tennis player and younger sister of Kim Clijsters.
- Kim Clijsters (June 8, 1983), tennis player.
- Camille Huysmans (May 26, 1871 - February 25, 1968), Prime Minister (August 3, 1946 - March 20, 1947); Mayor of Antwerp (1933–1946).
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