Welkenraedt (Dutch: Welkenraat, German: Welkenrath) is a town and municipality in Liège, Belgium.
Historically a part of the Dutch of Limburg, Welkenraedt became a part of the Department of the Ourthe under Napoleon. After his defeat, the town was split between the Dutch and Prussians, with the modern-day town of Herbesthal being ceded to Prussia. After Belgian independence (1830), the town counted just over 400 Flemish-speaking citizens, and a large amount of Luxembourgish migrant workers that moved in around the time of harvest. In 1843, the railway between Liège and Aachen was put into service, on which Welkenraedt functioned as a border post, which brought industrial and demographic influxes to the town. After the end of the First World War and Treaty of Versailles, the Prussian region of Eupen-Malmedy was ceded to Belgium as a compensation for war damages, ending Welkenraedt's function as a border town.
The municipality consists of the towns of Welkenraedt, Henri-Chapelle and several hamlets. Additionally, Welkenraedt borders Herbesthal, which lies within the German-speaking municipality of Lontzen. Herbesthal was historically a part of Welkenraedt, though after the Dutch-Prussian split following Napoleon's defeat, the two got separated. Though Welkenraedt largely speaks Low Dietsch (a German dialect), it is officially French-speaking.
Welkenraedt lies close to the A3 / E40 highway, connecting Aachen and Liège and shares its exit with Eupen, which lies to the south of the highway. From the highway exit, the remaining 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) are signposted, and consist of following the N67 northwest. After crossing the train tracks, the first road to the left connects to the train station and Place des Combattants, Welkenraedt's city centre.
By public transit
Welkenraedt is a railway interchange for railways along railway 37 (Liège - Aachen), with two branches connecting to Eupen and Montzen respectively, though the latter is only for cargo. The services connecting to this station, specifically the Intercity services, connect to a lot of major cities in Flanders:
- IC 01 (Eupen — Ostend): The connection to Eupen takes no more than seven minutes.
- IC 12 ((Ostend —) Kortrijk — Welkenraedt): Only on workdays.
Both of these Intercity services connect to Liège-Guillemins, Brussels-South and Ghent-Sint-Pieters. IC 01 also connects to Bruges. Other regional trains consist of:
- L 5000 / RE 29 (Aachen — Spa-Géronstère): Stylised as euregioAIXpress, this service provides a 15-minute connection to Aachen. Spa is just over an hour away.
- P 7450/8450 (Welkenraedt — Herstal): Weekdays only.
Both services connect to Verviers-Centraal. The P-train continues to Liège-Guillemins, though taking an IC instead is the faster option.
For all practical purposes of getting around the wider municipality, renting a car or bike is recommended, as bus service may be scarce from time to time. Nonetheless, the town of Welkenraedt itself is perfectly navigable by foot as well.
Welkenraedt's train station is the region's main bus hub. Buses are operated by TEC, who operates services to nearby cities and towns. The town of Henri-Chapelle is reached through lines 710 (to Kelmis), 712 (to Clermont) and 717 (to Viviers). Lines 710 (to Eupen) and 715 (to Kelmis) connect to the town of Herbesthal. Line 716 connects to Limbourg and Dolhain. Line 715 provides a more direct connection to Kelmis, while line 139 roughly follows the goods railway to Montzen.
- 1 World War II Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial, Rue du Mémorial Américain 159, Henri-Chapelle. Open daily except for December 25 and January 1: 09:00-17:00. The cemetery is the final resting place for 7,992 American military dead lost during the drive into Germany the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. A monument is inscribed with the names of 450 Americans whose remains were never found or identified. A museum and a chapel are located on the grounds. Free.
- 2 Musée de la Rue (Museum van de Weg), Village, Henri-Chapelle (Outside Hotel la Couronne). A small 'museum' highlighting six types of road maintenance throughout history. It displays road segments as they were built by the Romans, Charlemagne, Notger, empress Maria Theresia, Napoleon and king Albert I. Free.
- 1 Golf & Hôtel Henri-Chapelle (Henri-Chapelle Golf Course), Rue Vivier 3, Henri-Chapelle, ☏ +32 8788 1991.
- 1 Brasserie Temps Libre, Place des Combattants, ☏ +32 8789 0094. M-Th: 10:00 - 18:00; F-Sa: 10:00 - 21:00.
- 2 A L'Ombre Du Clocher, Rue de l'Eglise 41, ☏ +32 8733 3605.
- 3 Pizz'Arte, Rue Mermer 3, ☏ +32 493 366 269. Tu-F: 5:30 - 21:00.
- 1 Taverne Le Parc, Place de la Gare 6, ☏ +32 8733 3973. 8:30 - 23:30.
- 2 St. Andrew's, Place des Combattants 2, ☏ +32 8770 3667.
- 1 Loft Gate One, Rue, ☏ +32 495 920 891. Check-out: 11:00. Luxury loft just east of the train station. From €320, up to €450 depending on the specific date..
- 2 La Couronne, Village 67, Henri-Chapelle (In the middle of town, by the bus halt "Monument"), ☏ +32 8788 3033, email@example.com. Check-out: 10:00. €84.
- 3 Golf & Hôtel Henri-Chapelle, Rue Vivier 3, Henri-Chapelle, ☏ +32 87 88 19 91, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 11:00.
- Eupen, the largest German-speaking city of Belgium is less than ten minutes away by train, or about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) by car.
- Limbourg and Verviers are the closest cities to the west. While Verviers is larger due to the local textile industry, Limbourg is the historical capital of the duchy to which Limburg in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium lend their names.
- Liège, the province's capital lies half an hour to the west, both by train and car.
- The German university city of Aachen can be found to the north-east.
- Kelmis, which for about a hundred years was the capital of the microstate of Neutral Moresnet (making the Vaals tripoint technically a quadripoint), can be reached directly by bus or car.