Hasselt Netherlands - Hanseatic city on Zwarte Water

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On the canals of Hasselt

Hasselt Netherlands sightseeing

The Hanseatic city of Hasselt in the Netherlands is one of the five Hanseatic cities that we visit on our tour through the Hanseatic region. I was particularly excited about her. After all, it was the birthplace of Kilian van Rensselaer. I had heard of him many times on my visits to New York City heard. I wanted to know more about him. But more on that later. First we start our tour of the city at the town hall, where we meet our guide. He wants to show us Hasselt Netherlands and its port and sights.


On the Prinsengracht in Hasselt Netherlands sights at the harbor
On the Prinsengracht - one of the Hasselt Netherlands sights at the harbor



Renaissance town hall - a splendid specimen

Hasselt is located on the Zwarte Water and is connected via this river with the Zwarte Meer. The seafarers had access to the IJsselmeer and finally to the North Sea. Today Hasselt is inland. The Oude Stadhuis is one of the most beautiful buildings in Hasselt with its Renaissance facade. Next to it stands the Stephanuskerk, the church of the reformed community of Hasselt. We are lucky. There are two men leaving the church, who let us in at our request. Usually the church is closed.


City hall in Hasselt - one of the Hasselt Netherlands attractions near the harbor
Town Hall in Hasselt


The Stephanuskerk in the city center of Hasselt Netherlands

The inside is barren. White walls and dark wooden benches shape the interior of the church. Our companion Freek Lene points us to the organ. “This is famous in Holland. Organ concerts take place regularly in this church, which attract visitors from all over the country. ”A Bible of the Reformed Church lies on a wooden table. "This is what you read out for devotions," explains Freek. “The residents of Hasselt are very religious. The church is full every Sunday. ”On one side wall we discover a mural of St. Christopher, the saint of travelers. This dates from the Middle Ages, when the church was still Catholic.


Altar in the Stephanuskerk - one of the Hasselt Netherlands sights at the harbor
Altar in the Stephanuskerk in Hasselt the Netherlands


Kiliaen van Rensselaer - what connects Hasselt with New York?

The most famous son of Hasselt is Kiliaen van Rensselaer. He is the reason, why I wanted to visit this city. Van Rensselaer was born in Hasselt in the second half of the 16th century. He was governor of the Dutch West Indies Company, and as such was instrumental in founding the Dutch colony in North America. His colony Rensselaerwijk was one of the first, the Dutch established in today's US state of New York. His birthplace is in Hasselt. It is not open to the public though.


Kiliaen van Rensselaer's birthplace
Kiliaen van Rensselaers birth house in Hasselt Netherlands


Historic buildings and the Hasselt Hay Festival in the Netherlands

From van Rensselaer's birthplace we walk past historic buildings such as the holy guest house and the seven houses. These were available to the poor and sick of the city. On the way to the Hasselt Canal, we pass side streets that are colorfully decorated. We even discover Christmas trees in a street at the end of August. Freek tells us that every street is decorated according to a given motto for the hay festival. One of them this year is the "Christmas" theme.



The seven houses
The seven houses in a side street in Hasselt in the Netherlands


The canals of Hasselt Netherlands

We particularly enjoy our walk along the Prinsengracht. Ships still sailed on the canals until the sixties of the last century. Today they form the backdrop for the magnificent merchant houses, that stand on their banks. Here you will find no hustle and bustle. Benches stand on the banks of the canal and invite you to take a break. Here you can enjoy Hasselt perfectly.


On the canals of Hasselt
On the canals of Hasselt Netherlands


Conclusion: Hasselt Netherlands is a quiet city on Zwarte Water

Hasselt in the Netherlands is a city that seems a bit sleepy. We see few people on the street. We hardly ever meet tourists. Most of them act like locals who are quick to do some shopping before rushing home. Hasselt is hardly developed for tourism. We were lucky that the sexton gave us access to the church. Usually it is closed. Nevertheless, Hasselt is worth a stop and a walk. Its canal with the captains' houses, the seven houses, the birthplace of Kilian van Rensselaer and the town hall are well worth a look. Here we found the time we had for the city to be just right. A good hour for a tour is enough to get an impression of the Hanseatic city on Zwarte Water.


That has to be in your suitcase for your visit to Hasselt

  • Comfortable Shoes, because in Hasselt you will mainly be on foot.
  • A pair of  backpack, in which you can store all the utensils for a tour, is practical


Do you like to travel by motorhome?

Travel Arrangements

Parking at the airport

Here you can reserve your parking space at the airport.

How to get there

Book yours here Arrival by plane, bus or train*. KLM and Lufthansa will follow Amsterdam. From there, it's best to take a car, because that's the only way you're flexible enough to get to know the localities in the region better.

Rental car

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Camping in the Hanseatic city of Hasselt

Motorhome enthusiasts can leave their motorhome at the De Molenwaard marina at the port of Hasselt Netherlands and walk into town.  What you need for motorhome tripscan be found here. With our Motorhome packing list You'll never forget anything again.


Hasselt Netherlands
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Source for Hasselt Netherlands: on-site research. We would like to thank Das Andere Holland for supporting this trip. However, our opinion remains our own.

Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline

Hasselt Netherlands - Hanseatic city on Zwarte Water

Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Slow Travel and Enjoyment travel blog TravelWorldOnline Traveller. You have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Your topics are Trips to Savor and wine tourism worldwide and Slow Travel. During her studies, Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she traveled to the USA and Canada - sometimes together with Petar Fuchs - and spent a research year in British Columbia. This strengthened her thirst for knowledge, which she pursued for 6 years Adventure Guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as Study tour guide for Studiosus Reisen tried to breastfeed all over the world. She constantly expanded her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: “What is beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do you eat in this region?” These are the questions she is now trying to answer as a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), among others. travel writer and travel blogger answers in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is below Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021 Other Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs. Recommendations on LinkedIn from tourism experts Further recommendations from cooperation partners and tourism experts Professional experience Monika on LinkedIn