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Kortrijk ( , official name in Dutch; ; ) is a Belgianmarker city and municipality located in the Flemishmarker province West Flandersmarker. The wider municipality comprises the city of Kortrijk proper and the towns of Aalbekemarker, Bellegem, Bissegem, Heule, Kooigem, Marke, and Rollegem.The city is situated on the Leie Rivermarker, 42 km (26 miles) southwest of Ghentmarker and 25 km (15 miles) northeast of Lillemarker in Francemarker. Both Kortrijk and Lille are part of the same transnational Eurodistrict urban area with around 1,900,000 inhabitants.

The arrondissement of Kortrijk is both a judicial and an administrative arrondissement.


Origins to the 13th century

Cortoriacum was a typical Gallo-Roman vicus at an important crossroads near the Lys Rivermarker (Dutch: Leiemarker). It was situated on the crossroads of the Roman roads linking Tongerenmarker and Casselmarker and Tournaimarker and Oudenburgmarker. 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 Broeltorensmarker).

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 Brugesmarker 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 . 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 Netherlandsmarker 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 5000 bombs on the city center. . Many historical buildings on the central square, as well as the old train station, were destroyed.



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.



Tourism and Culture


Much of the city's medievalarchitectureremains intact and is remarkably well preserved and restored. The city center is one of the largest carfree areasin Belgium. The beguinage, as well as the belfry, were recognized by UNESCOmarker 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 beguinagemarker is one of the quaintest sites in the city. It too, was listed by UNESCOmarker as a World Heritage Site.
  • The church of Our Ladymarker (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 Chapellemarker 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
  • 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 Heuleis 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 Xpoevent center, attracting numerous visitors to the city. In July and August there are various boat tours on the river Lysmarker.


The city is historically connected with the flaxand the textile industry, and still today the textile industry remains important in the region. Major companies headquartered in Kortrijk include Barcoand 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.The KULAKmarker, a campus of the Catholic University of Leuvenmarker, is located in on the south edge of the city.Other institutes of higher education include the KATHOand 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, ) and to many towns and villages in the region around the city (regional lines, ).

  • 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 stationmarker, 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 Belgiummarker, 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 Walloniamarker, and is only 9 km (6 miles) away from the Frenchmarker border. This has created an urban area that extends across linguistic and national borders. The mayors of Lille, Kortrijk and Tournaimarker 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


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