Zonhoven – De Wijers
The municipality of Zonhoven is located in the Belgium province of Limburg and is home to around 21.000 residents. Founded in 1280, the town only became commonly known as Zonhoven in the 16th century. Archaeological findings provide evidence of settlements in this area as far back as 11.000 – 5.000B.C.
During the 19th century Zonhoven was an important centre of the textile industry, in the 20th century iron-ore and coal mining gained in importance. Today, this area is renowned for its unique landscape. There are numerous nature reserves around the town of Zonhoven, such as De Wijer – the land of 1001 lakes. This is an understatement since there are exactly 1174 ponds and lakes on an area of 700 hectare (that’s about the size of 1400 pitches) boasting an amazing and wide range of animals and plants. The great bittern, for example, can only be found in this region.
But there are also many sights worth visiting in the town of Zonhoven: the neo-classical church St- Quentins, the Gothic Teneiken chapel, the old town hall and Vranken Schans – parts of the old fortification. Holsteen are pre-historic sandstones used to produce weapons and tools.