In this area several, small settlements experienced a mushroom growth between the tenth and the thirteenth century. This means that a number of people started to settle at one specific place, closely together on a limited surface area. The current city of Zoutleeuw would develop from only one of these settlements, that is the one with the name ‘Dalhem’ (meaning ‘a low-lying area’). This village has remained the heart of the city until today. However, the other settlements survived as well, among which for example the villages of Dormaal, Budingen, Halle and Booienhoven. But these settlements were constantly outshined by the city of Zoutleeuw.