Kortrijk is a city in the north of Belgium, with a population of roughly 75,000 inhabitants.

  • Art and museums
  • Historic
  • On the river
  • Parks & green space
  • Sporty


Kortrijk is a city in the north of Belgium, with a population of roughly 75,000 inhabitants. It is located on the banks of the river Leie, just 7km from the border with France. This proximity means that the history of Kortrijk is packed with tales of conflict between the two countries, but modern relations are, of course, much more harmonious. In fact, the city is part of the first 'European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation' in partnership with the French city of Lille and Tournai in Belgium, forming a multilingual region which is home to as many as 2 million people.  As the largest city in the southern region of West Flanders, Kortrijk is a bustling metropolis and home to a university as well as several colleges and hospitals.


Like so many cities in Europe, Kortrijk was originally a Roman settlement, with the location being strategically significant because of its place at a meeting of the river and two important Roman roads. During the 12th and 13th centuries it grew in stature and importance thanks to a growing linen trade, but the closeness of the French border meant that any periods of peace tended to be short lived, and the city of Kortrijk became embroiled in a series of conflicts which included the famous Battle of the Golden Spurs, which led to Kortrijk being nicknamed the City of the Golden Spurs. In the battle in question a French army of trained knights on horseback and soldiers were defeated by a Belgian force comprising peasant fighters armed with whatever weapons came to hand. The golden spurs referred to were taken from the vanquished French knights as souvenirs of victory.


Main features

Broel towers

The Broel Towers are a classified monument and a landmark in the Belgian city of Kortrijk. The towers are known as one of the most important symbols of the city. 

Although they look identical, the towers were not built at the same time. The Southern tower, also known as the Speyetoren, was built in 1385 to control the traffic on the river Lys. This tower was part of the fortified fence of the first medieval castle of the Counts of Flanders. The Speyentoren was also part of the 12th century rampart, destroyed by Louis XIV in the 17th century.
The Northern tower, known as the Ingelborchtoren was built in 1415 and was used as an armory.

Nowadays, the towers are, together with the Artillerytower (in Dutch: Artillerietoren), the last remaining parts of the medieval city wall around the city. Most of the fortifications in Kortrijk were ordered to be destroyed by Vauban in 1683, a period in which the French and the Spanish armies repeatedly fought over control of the region. The remaining parts were destroyed in the 18th century and during the world wars. A statue of John of Nepomuk can be found in the middle of the bridge spanning between the two towers. This statue of the patron saint of the drowned has, ironically, fallen into the river Lys on several occasions due to warfare in the city. The bridge between the two towers was destroyed in both world wars.

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