Kelmis (German pronunciation: [ˈkɛlmɪs]; French: La Calamine, French pronunciation: [la kalamin]) is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Liège, named for the historical deposits of calamine (zinc ore) nearby. As of 2011, the population was 10,881; the area is 18.1 square kilometres (7.0 sq mi) and the population density is 601.2 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,557/sq mi).[2]

View of Kelmis
Location of Kelmis
Location in Belgium
Location of Kelmis in the province of Liège
Coordinates: 50°42′N 06°00′E
Country Belgium
Community German-speaking Community of Belgium
  MayorLuc Frank (CSP/cdH)
  Governing party/iesCSP/cdH - SP/PS
  Total18.04 km2 (6.97 sq mi)
  Density610/km2 (1,600/sq mi)
Postal codes
Area codes087

The municipality consists of the following sub-municipalities: Kelmis proper, Hergenrath, and Neu-Moresnet.

The territory around the Vieille Montagne zinc mine in Kelmis was Neutral Moresnet, a neutral condominium of the Netherlands and Prussia (later Belgium and Germany) from 1816 to 1919, with the Mayor of Kelmis nominated by two commissioners from the neighbouring countries. Although there were attempts by locals at making it evolve into a fully independent microstate, all of them were thwarted and it remained under double-sovereignty and neutrality until its eventual annexation by Belgium after the First World War.

There is a war memorial to German soldiers from Kelmis who were killed during the Franco-Prussian War, located in the Aachener Strasse,[3] and one to inhabitants of Kelmis who were killed in the First and Second World Wars, located in the Kirchplatz (French: Place de l'Église).[4]

A small museum in Kelmis, the Museum Vieille Montagne, includes exhibits on Neutral Moresnet. Of the 60 border markers for the territory, more than 50 are still standing.[5]

In the nineteenth century a Low Dietsch dialect was spoken in Kelmis. Today Kelmis is German-speaking. It has facilities for French speakers and is one of the nine municipalities of the German‑speaking Community of Belgium.

Church in the centre of Kelmis

See also

  • List of protected heritage sites in Kelmis


  1. "Wettelijke Bevolking per gemeente op 1 januari 2018". Statbel. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  2. "Votre commune en chiffres: La Calamine" (PDF) (in French). SPF Economie. 2012. p. 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 March 2016.
  3. Traces of War site, Memorial Franco-Prussian War, Kelmis. Accessed 11 June 2021.
  4. Traces of War site, War Memorial, Kelmis. Accessed 11 June 2021.
  5. Berns, Eef (2002). "In search of the bordermarkers of Moresnet". Retrieved 1 September 2008.
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