Houthalen-Helchteren is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Limburg. Houthalen-Helchteren consists of: Houthalen-centrum, Houthalen-Oost, Helchteren, Sonnis, Laak, Meulenberg and Lillo. On January 1, 2006 Houthalen-Helchteren had a total population of around 31.000. The total area is 78.27 km² which gives a population density of 383 inhabitants per km².
Helchteren is located near the watershed between the Meuse and the Scheldt. In the immediate vicinity the Dommel (which flows to the Meuse near Den Bosch), the Grote Nete (which flows to the Scheldt) and the Neer (that joins the Meuse just south of Roermond) all originate.
Helchteren could have become famous in 1702 when, during the War of the Spanish Succession, a French Army under Boufflers faced an alliance army under Marlborough. A battle could have ensued, but instead it came to the not so famous cannonade of Helchteren. The cannonade itself is however a seldom occurring event in military history.