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capital of Limburg province, northeastern Belgium. It lies along the Demer River near the Albert Canal, northwest of Liege. For centuries it has been a centre of administration, a market town, and a home of distilleries (the gin called Hasselt Spirit is still produced there). Since coal mining began (1917) in the Kempenland (Campine) to the north, Hasselt has also developed industrially. The rich farmland of the fertile Hesbaye country to the south supports Hasselt's breweries, flour mills, tanneries, and fertilizer factories.