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Westerlo, a commune of 22,000 in central Antwerpen province, is nicknamed "The Pearl of the Kempen". The town has numerous nature walks and bike paths, through the lush greenery of the Kempen forest. Westerlo was dominated by the Merode family from the sixteenth century until the French Revolution; a Brabantine-Gothic castle built by a Merode descendant in 1910 has housed Westerlo's government since 1972. The Norbertine Abbey of Tongerlo is an important historical complex in Westerlo, featuring a replica of Da Vinci's "The Last Supper".

Oevel, Tongerlo, and Zoerle-Parwijs are boroughs within the municipal district of Westerlo. (There is another Tongerlo in Bree, Limburg province.)

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