Kortrijk: Wikis


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Broel towers in Kortrijk
Municipal flag
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
Location of Kortrijk in West-Flanders
Location of Kortrijk in West-Flanders
Kortrijk is located in Belgium
Location in Belgium
Sovereign state Belgium Belgium
Region  Flemish Region
Community Flanders Flemish Community
Province  West Flanders
Arrondissement Kortrijk
Coordinates 50°50′0″N 03°16′0″E / 50.833333°N 3.266667°E / 50.833333; 3.266667Coordinates: 50°50′0″N 03°16′0″E / 50.833333°N 3.266667°E / 50.833333; 3.266667
Area 80.02 km²
– Males
– Females
73,657 (2006-01-01)
920 inhab./km²
Age distribution
0–19 years
20–64 years
65+ years
Foreigners 3.73% (01/07/2005)
Unemployment rate 9.03% (1 January 2006)
Mean annual income €12,964/pers. (2003)
Mayor Lieven Lybeer (CD&V)
Governing parties CD&V, Open VLD
Postal codes 85xx (8500, 8501, 8510, 8511)
Area codes 056
Website www.kortrijk.be

Kortrijk (official name in Dutch, pronounced [ˈkɔrtrɛ.ɪ̯k]; French: Courtrai, pronounced: [kuʁtʁɛ]; Latin: Cortoriacum) is a Belgian city and municipality located in the Flemish province West Flanders. It is the capital and biggest city of the arrondissement of Kortrijk, which is both a judicial and an administrative arrondissement. The wider municipality comprises the city of Kortrijk proper and the towns of Aalbeke, Bellegem, Bissegem, Heule, Kooigem, Marke, and Rollegem. The city is situated on the Leie River, 42 km (26 miles) southwest of Ghent and 25 km (15 miles) northeast of Lille in France. Both Kortrijk and Lille are part of the same transnational Eurodistrict urban area with around 1,900,000 inhabitants[1].



Origins to the 13th century

Cortoriacum was a typical Gallo-Roman vicus at an important crossroads near the Lys River (Dutch: Leie). It was situated on the crossroads of the Roman roads linking Tongeren and Cassel and Tournai and Oudenburg. In the ninth century, Baldwin II, Count of Flanders established fortifications against the Vikings. The town gained its city charter in 1190 from Philip, Count of Flanders. The population growth required new defensive walls, part of which can still be seen today (the Broeltorens).

In the 13th century, the battles between Fernando of Portugal, Count of Flanders and his first cousin, King Louis VIII of France, led to the destruction of the city. The Counts of Flanders had it rebuilt soon after. From that time, Kortrijk gained great importance as a centre of linen production.

the second castle of Kortrijk

Battle of the Golden Spurs

In 1302, the population of Bruges started a successful uprising against the French, who had annexed Flanders a couple of years earlier. On May 18, the French population in that city was massacred, an event that could not go unpunished. The famous ensuing Battle of the Golden Spurs (Dutch: Guldensporenslag) between the Flemish people, mostly commoners and farmers, and Philip the Fair’s knights took place near Kortrijk on July 11, resulting in a victory for Flanders. This date is now remembered as a national holiday by the whole Flemish community.

Following a new uprising by the Flemish in 1323, but this time against their own Count Louis I, the French invaded again. These Flemish acquisitions were consolidated by the French at the Battle of Cassel (1328). Louis I’s son, Louis II, then Philip van Artevelde briefly regained the city in 1381 but lost it again the following year at the Battle of Roosebeke, resulting in a new wave of plundering and destruction.

15th century to modern times

Most of the 15th century was prosperous under the Dukes of Burgundy, until the death of the Burgundian heiress, Mary of Burgundy, in 1482, which ushered in renewed fighting with France. The 16th century was marked by the confrontations engendered by the Reformation and the uprising of the Netherlands against Spain. Louis XIV’s reign saw Kortrijk occupied by the French five times in sixty years and its former fortifications razed to the ground. The Treaty of Utrecht finally assigned the whole area to Austria.

After the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era, the textile industry, based on flax, and the general economy of the city could finally prosper again. Kortrijk was heavily bombed in the summer of 1917, but even more damaged by the allied bombing in 1944. The city was an important railway hub for the German army, and for this reason was the target of several allied air-strikes. On July 21st 1944 (the Belgian National Day) around 300 Avro Lancasters dropped over 5,000 bombs on the city center. [2]. Many historical buildings on the central square, as well as the old train station, were destroyed.


The medieval city hall


After the 1977 fusion the city is made up of:

Neighbouring municipalities

The metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, also consists of Kuurne and Harelbeke. Although these municipalities have strong morphologic ties with Kortrijk, they aren't officially part of the city.

  • a. Kuurne (municipality Kuurne)
  • b. Harelbeke (municipality Harelbeke)
  • c. Zwevegem (municipality Zwevegem)
  • d. Sint-Denijs (municipality Zwevegem)
  • e. Spiere (municipality Spiere-Helkijn)
  • f. Dottenijs (city of Moeskroen)
  • g. Luingne (city of Moeskroen)
  • h. Moeskroen (city of Moeskroen)
  • i. Rekkem (city of Menen)
  • j. Lauwe (city of Menen)
  • k. Wevelgem (municipality Wevelgem)
  • l. Gullegem (municipality Wevelgem)
  • m. Sint-Eloois-Winkel (municipality Ledegem)
  • n. Lendelede, with Sint-Katharina (municipality Lendelede)



Tourism and Culture

old streets in the Beguinage
old houses in the historical citycentre
the Counts of Flanders in the Count’s chapel
interior of the Saint-Anthonychurch
Saint Martin tower
medieval houses downtown
the Groeninge Monument


Much of the city's medieval architecture remains intact and is remarkably well preserved and restored. The city center is one of the largest carfree areas in Belgium. The beguinage, as well as the belfry, were recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites in 1998 and 1999. Interesting highlights are:

  • The Saint-Martin church dates from the 13th century but was mostly rebuilt after a fire in the 15th century. It now houses a 48-bell carillon. Its 83 meter (272 feet) tower remains the highest building in the city.
  • The beguinage is one of the quaintest sites in the city. It too, was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. [4]
  • The church of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk) was where the golden spurs taken from the battlefield in 1302 were hung. It houses a famous van Dyck painting.
  • the Count’s chapel (Gravenkapel), built after the example of la Sainte Chapelle in Paris as shrine for Louis II of Flanders.
  • Saint-Michaelschurch; a church of the Society of Jesus
  • Saint-Johnschurch in the St.-Johnsquarter; a neogotic basilica
  • Groeninge Abbey
  • Saint Eligiuschurch
  • Saint-Pius X-church
  • Saint-Rochchurch
  • Saint-Elisabethchurch
  • Saint-Anthonychurch or Toontjes kerk with the pelgrimage of Isidore of Saint Joseph
  • Saint-Annechurch
  • Saint-Theresiachurch
  • Father Damienchurch


Museums in Kortrijk include:

  • Kortrijk 1302: seven centuries in one day, a historic museum about the famous Battle of the Golden Spurs, which gave Flanders its official holiday (July 11th)
  • Broelmuseum (Museum of Fine Arts and archaeological museum), with paintings by Roelant Savery and international Ceramic.
  • National Flax Museum in honour of the plant that once was the main driver of Kortrijk’s economy. This museum will be relocated.
  • Groeninge Abbey with the Groeningemuseum. This museum gives you an overview of Kortrijk's history.
  • Beguinage museum
  • Flemish Film museum and archive
  • Bakery- and Millmuseum
  • Museum of Agriculture
  • International Rose gardens

Restaurants and culinary traditions

As with most Belgian cities, Kortrijk offers a rich variety of local and foreign cuisine. Famous local specialities include Kalletaart (applecake with Calvados), Peperbollen, Biscuits, and chocolate little beguines. The town of Heule is home to the notable small brewery Picobrouwerij Alvinne.


The city is host to some sizable cultural events such as the Day of the Flemish Community, Golden River City Jazz festival, Humorologie, Happy New Ears, Budafest and the Internationaal Festival van Vlaanderen. Also, trade shows and events such as the Eurodogshow take place in the Kortrijk Xpo event center, attracting numerous visitors to the city. In July and August there are various boat tours on the river Lys.


The city is historically connected with the flax and the textile industry, and still today the textile industry remains important in the region. Major companies headquartered in Kortrijk include Cisco, Barco and Bekaert.


Kortrijk serves as an educational centre in south West-Flanders, attracting students from the entire region. There are 55 schools in Kortrijk, on 72 different locations throughout the city, with an estimated 21.000 students. [5] The city also provides higher education. The University, the KULAK, a campus of the Catholic University of Leuven, is located in on the south edge of the city. Other institutes of higher education include the KATHO and HOWEST university colleges.



Kortrijk lies at the intersection of three important highways:

  • In addition Kortrijk also has two ringways:
    • The R8: connects the outskirts of Kortrijk with each other and the surrounding villages, and also leads to the A19, E403 and E17 roads.
    • The R36: connects the different downtown quarters with each other, and provides access to the main avenues.


Public city transport

Kortrijk has an extensive web of public transport lines, operated by De Lijn, providing access to the city centre and the suburbs (city lines, Dutch: stadslijnen) and to many towns and villages in the region around the city (regional lines, Dutch: streeklijnen).

  • City buses:
    • Line 1: Station - Xpo - Kinepolis (- Leiedal)
    • Line 2: Station - Lange Munte
    • Line 3: Station - Heule Bozestraat
    • Line 4: Station - Bissegem Station - Heule Kransvijver
    • Line 6: Station - Shopping Center (- Industriezone) - Heule Markt
    • Line 8: Station - Pottelberg - Walle
    • Line 9: Station - Cederlaan
    • Line 12: Station - Kinepolis - Bellegem - Rollegem (- Aalbeke)
    • Line 13: Station - Hoog Kortrijk - Station
    • Line 50: Station - Kuurne Seizoenswijk
    • Line 51: Station - Kuurne Sint-Pieter
    • Line 80/81: Station - Marke
    • Line 91/92/93: Station - Zwevegem
  • Regional buses
At Kortrijk main railway station, there is a bus station where regional buses stop as well.


Kortrijk Airport


Cars are required to yield to pedestrians and cyclists. In general, cars are led to large underground parkings in the historic center of Kortrijk or Park&Ride parkings at outside the city center. Large parts of the historic center are car free.


Kortrijk has three official football clubs. The most famous of them is K.V. Kortrijk, which plays in the Belgian First Division after having won the championship in the Belgian second division during the 2007-2008 season.
The second club SV Kortrijk plays in the second provincial division.
The third club, Wikings Kortrijk, only has youth teams.
  • Basketball
    • Kortrijk Sport CB
    • Basketbalteam Kortrijk
As anywhere in Flanders, professional cycling is very popular. Many cycling races start, finish or pass through the Kortrijk region. Amongst them are the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Ghent-Wevelgem, the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Dwars door Vlaanderen. Kortrijk also hosts an after-tour criterium at the start of August called Kortrijk Koerse. Many of the riders who participated in the Tour de France usually appear at the start.
  • Tennis
    • Tennis Club De Egelantier
KZK Kortrijk is arguably the best waterpolo team in Belgium, having won the Belgian championship nine times. In the 2007-2008 season they won both the championship and the Belgian cup.

European cooperation

Even though Kortrijk is a Dutch speaking town, it borders with Wallonia, and is only 9 km (6 miles) away from the French border. This has created an urban area that extends across linguistic and national borders. The mayors of Lille, Kortrijk and Tournai met in Kortrijk on January 28 2008 to sign a document creating the first European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation within the EU. The purpose of this new organisation is to facilitate the movement of people within this area of nearly 2 million people.

Notable citizens

Town twinning

Kortrijk participates in town twinning to encourage good international relations.

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Kortrijk is a city in West Flanders. Dutch is the everyday language.


Kortrijk is a medium city (75.000 inhabitants), it has a good balance of tradition and innovation/modernism. It was seen as the Texas of Flanders, one of the richest and most economic developped areas in Flanders. Kortrijk has always been famous for shopping, and in 2010 a big shopping centre is going to open in the heart of the city. There are numerous traffic-free shopping zones, and lots historical sites in the city centre. Outside the centre there are some less developped hoods, but never really bad neighbourhoods.

Kortrijk is not far from France, but it's a rather safe city. Suburbs/satellite cities like Menen have to endure mainly burglary criminality from French youth and gangsters, but Kortrijk is rather safe.

The city is known as the Guldensporenstad (City of the Golden Spurs), afther the battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302. It used to be the centre of the linen industry and is still known as an important textile industry region.

Get in

Kortrijk can be easily accessed by various types of transport:


Kortrijk's train station is an intercity train station. Situated in the heart of Kortrijk, you have easy connections to Ghent, Antwerp, Mechelen, Brussels, Bruges, Ostend, Ypres and Lille.


Next to the train station there is a large bus station, giving access to regional bus lines and a well constructed city bus network. Eurolines buses stop at the train station or at the Kinepolis cinema, outside the city. The Kinepolis site has good connections to the train station.

Thalys/Eurostar/TGV lines do not stop at Kortrijk. There is a direct connection to the Lille Flandres and Lille Europe train station (30 minutes by train) however. Accessing Kortrijk from England/Paris through stopping in Lille is easier to do than going to Brussels and taking the regional train in Brussels.


Kortrijk has an inner circle, the R8. This highway is connected to the A19 (Ypres/Ieper), E403 (Bruges/Brugge, Ostend/Oostende, Tournai/Doornik) and the E17 (Lille/Rijsel, Ghent/Gent, Antwerp/Antwerpen, Brussels/Brussel).


  • Kortrijk Airport. Mainly business travel. No daily passenger services.
  • Daily connections by train to Brussels Airport. Lille Airport can also be an option.

Get around

Kortrijk doesn't offer a metro system, but you won't need one. Kortrijk has a well-formed bus system, offering easy transport to main spots like Kortrijk Xpo and most surrounding cities.

  • Kortrijk 1302: An interactive museum showing you the Battle of the Golden Spurs (11th of july 1302). This battle is historical because it was one of the first battles where a peasant-based army defeated a knights army. After the battle, the spurs of the fallen horses were kept as a victory sign. The battle gave Flanders its regional holiday.
  • Museum of Fine Arts situated in an old 18th-century mansion. Mostly contains regional artists (f.i. Roelant Savery) and an unique collection of ceramic.
  • National line museum. Shows a historical image of the line industry in Kortrijk and the surroundings.
  • Groeninge-abbey and the Groeningemuseum. This museum tells the story of Kortrijk from the Roman empire through the first world war.
  • Bakery and mill museum in Marke
  • Agricultural museum in Bissegem
  • City Hall
  • het Belfry at the Grand Place (UNESCO-heritage)

thumb|right|The scenic Begijnhof, a Beguinage

  • The scenic Begijnhof (UNESCO-heritage)
The Béguinage was founded in 1238 by Johanna Van Constantinopel. It was destroyed 3 times and rebuilt for the last time in the 17th century.
  • 2 almost identical Broeltowers are remainings of the medieval city wall.
They are the typical image of Kortrijk. Build in the 13th and 15 century, they are located at both sides of the Leie river.
  • Onze-Lieve-Vrouwehospitaal.
Hospital, founded between 1200 and 1204.
  • The Baggaertshof.
a medical garden and 13 old houses.
  • Sint-Maartenskerk.
A gotic church, built and rebuild after a fire in the 14th century.

thumb|right|The Béguinage, surrounding park and the Sint-Maartenstower

  • Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk
  • Sint-Michielskerk.
  • Sint-Elooiskerk
  • Sint-Janskerk.
  • Groeningekouter: supposed to be the field where the Battle of the Golden Spurs took place.
  • The fontain The Wave at the Schouwburgplein, near the theatre.
A Olivier Strebelle-fountain

Kortrijk is situated on the "Vlaanderen Fietsroute", a cycling network through Flanders, a network of 800 kilometers guiding you through Flanders nicest spots by bike.

  • Brussel: Belgian capital.
  • Antwerpen: a large and active harbor city
  • Gent: A medieval town.
  • Brugge: The entire city centre is Unesco Heritage. Often called: "Venice of the north", due to the many canals and scenic centre.
  • Parkhotel next to the Station.
  • Generally safe, small unsafe areas near the station (at night) and the Venning, a local neighbourhood.
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