Hoogstraten (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɦoːxstraːtə(n)]) is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Antwerp. The municipality comprises Hoogstraten, Meer, Meerle, Meersel-Dreef, Minderhout and Wortel (Meersel-Dreef includes the northernmost point in Belgium).
Hoogstraten (originally Hoogstraeten) has a population of over 20,000, and lies in Flanders at the northern border of Belgium within an enclave surrounded on three sides by the Netherlands. Today, about 15% percent of the population consists of Dutch people.
The town is named after the hoge straat or "high road" – a military highway that linked the old towns of Antwerp and 's-Hertogenbosch. In the town’s early days, little trade existed. Villages and towns produced just enough for their own support, with little or no surplus to be ‘sold’ to other areas. Thus, most travelers along this high road were soldiers and armies.
Today Hoogstraten is internationally known for its strawberries. Veiling Hoogstraten (auction) is one of the largest of the Benelux. Every year more than 30,000 tonnes of strawberries are traded there. However its main agricultural crop is the tomato.
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