Roeselare is a Belgian city located in West Flanders, and is perhaps most famous in the wider world for being the location of the Rodenbach brewery, which is renowned for producing traditional Flemish red ales. Although lacking some of the well preserved historical appeal of other Belgium cities, Roeslare does have much to recommend it, not least the fact that you won’t have to fight your way through massed ranks of tourists to take a look at a selection of sights and buildings, both historical and modern, which are well worth going to see.
The history of Roeselare dates back to prehistoric times, based on the discovery of flint tools, whilst the remains of Gallo-Roman wells and 9th century buildings help to trace its development over the centuries. It was first mentioned in writing in the year 822 and was granted the vitally important right to build fortifications and hold its own public markets as early as 957. Over the years, the city rose to prominence on the basis of the fabric industry, and was later held under Spanish rule for many decades. The period of Spanish rule didn’t begin to come to an end until the 17th and 18th centuries, and it was during this time that notable buildings such as the city hall and the Rodenbach brewery were constructed. During the 20th century Roeselare, like much of Belgium, was adversely effected by the impact of the First and Second World War and bombing during World War Two, in particular, is thought to have destroyed up to two thirds of the city. Modern Roeselare has risen from this sometimes difficult backdrop to become the regional commercial and media centre that it is today.