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Turnhout is a Belgianmarker municipality located in the Flemishmarker province of Antwerpmarker. The city is also known as the Capital of the Campine. The municipality comprises only the city of Turnhout proper. On January 1, 2006 Turnhout had a total population of 39,791. The total area is 56.06 km² which gives a population density of 710 inhabitants per km².Turnhout, is famous as the world center of the playing card and is both legally and administratively the capital of the Kempen region and of the Arrondissement of Turnhoutmarker. It is also the economic and cultural center of its region with more than 40 schools. There is also an important services sector with 2 hospitals, a 2 stage theatre and an 8 screen cinema.

Turnhout is located at about 51.3 North and 4.9 East, 42 km from the centre of Antwerpmarker, 30 km from Bredamarker and Tilburgmarker, 40 km from Eindhovenmarker. The football club of the city is K.V. Turnhout.

History

Turnhout originated on the crossroads of two major trade routes and in the protection of the hunting castle of the Dukes of Brabant that seems to have existed since 1110 or earlier. This hunting past is still reflected in the city's coat of arms. The small community that developed obtained its Libertas as a "free city" from Henry I, Duke of Brabant in about 1212. In 1338, the privilege of organizing a market on Saturday was granted, a tradition that still holds today. In 1466 a traveler described the well-built houses and paved roads, and counted five churches.

By the 16th century Turnhout had become a wealthy commercial center. Unfortunately there were not only ups, but also downs. The end of the 16th century brought war, fire, confiscations and epidemics. Suppression and inquisition made many progressive citizens to take refuge in Hollandmarker, leaving the land of Turnhout impoverished. The further history of Turnhout consists of a series of ups and downs. Many times, the city and surroundings were the playground of armies, resulting in two major battles named after Turnhout: one in 1597 and one in 1789 are referred to as Battle of Turnhout.

In 1830 Belgiummarker became independent, and Turnhout fell just south of the new border with the Netherlandsmarker. The period of peace between 1831 and 1914 saw the digging of the canal (1846) and the construction of the railroad (1855).

In the late Middle Ages Turnhout was a well-known center for the weaving of bedding articles and of the linen trade. At the start of the 19th century these trades were replaced by industries based on the use of paper. Pieter Corbeels and Philippus Jacobus Brepols are considered to be the founder of this industry. Turnhout retains much of this industry today. Numerous graphics companies are located in the region, such as Brepols, Group Joos, Proost International Book Production, Van Genechten Packaging, and last but not least Cartamundi, the world market leader of the playing card industry. In addition the Belgian Centre for the Graphics Industry, and the Flemish Innovation Center for Graphic Communication (Campus Blairon) are located in Turnhout. Soudal, whose headquarters is located in Turnhout, is one of the leading companies in sealants.

Sights

Architectural sights worth visiting are the 12th century castle of the Dukes of Brabant, the gothic church of St. Peter, the beguinagemarker (begijnhof) dating from the 13th century, the 14th century gothic chapel of Theobald and the Taxandria museum housed in a prestigious renaissance mansion. Of particular interest is the Museum of the Playing Card. This is located in an old factory building downtown and houses a beautifully restored steam engine.

The beguinage was recognized by UNESCOmarker as a World Heritage Site in 1998.

Events

Turnhout is host to the biannual comic festival Strip Turnhout, the oldest comic festival of Flanders, and one of the largest.Every year, there is also the film festival Open Doek.During the summer months, the "Vrij-dagen" are organised. For a certain period, every Friday ('vrijdag' in Dutch) two artists or bands give a live performance. The event is completely free ('vrij' in Dutch) and attracts large crowds, strongly benefitting the local economy.

Famous inhabitants



See also



Surrounding villages/municipalities



Twin cities



External links




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