Van is a preposition in the Dutch and Afrikaans languages, meaning “of” or “from”. It is also a common prefix in Dutch surnames (being known as a tussenvoegsel), as in Vincent van Gogh or George Vancouver. It can appear by itself or in combination with another prefix, such as van de, van der and van den (current and archaic forms of the article de, meaning “the”) and less commonly van het or van ‘t (the neutral article het). The German “von” is a cognate of Dutch “van”, though unlike the German “von”, the Dutch “van” is not an indication of nobility or royalty. These prepositions usually refer to a geographic place.
Halen is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Limburg. On January 1, 2006 Halen had a total population of 8,624. The total area is 36.29 km² which gives a population density of 238 inhabitants per km².During the First World War, on August 12, 1914, the Battle of Haelen took place here near the river crossing of the Gete.