Kortrijk, an introduction to my home town

Kortrijk Travel Blog

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The central square of Kortrijk
Kortrijk is my town, I was born here, grew up here and even though I've spend much of the past 6 years living in other places to go to the university, this is still the town that feels like home to me. The city is much less touristy than nearby Bruges or Ghent, but if you've already seen those then you can definitely spend a nice day in Kortrijk. It is a town of around 75,000 people in the city itself and around 150,000 in the urban area, in English texts it is sometimes refered to by its French name "Courtrai."

The city is actually one of the oldest in Belgium, its name is Latin in origin and was founded as "Cortoriacum" which means "settlement near a bend in the river" but the age of the town is not very apparent in the city centre since it was badly damaged during both world wars. Nevertheless, some of the medieval city center remains, including some churches, the begijnhof (beguinage) which is unesco world heritage, and the broel towers over the river which are the symbol of the city.

The opening of the borders within the Schengen zone in the 90's had a positive impact on the quality of life of the people of Kortrijk, living 50 km from the Dutch border and a mere 9 km from the French border I remember it being a real hassle to constantly having to pass border checks. The state border is also a linguistic one, with the Dutch speaking town of Kortrijk lying only 20 km away from the northern French city of Lille, which I will definitely talk of later. This has as an effect that for example in shops nobody will look surprised if you start speaking English or French instead of Dutch.

In the following blogposts I will have a closer look at some interesting things to visit in Kortrijk, before exploring the places further away, hope you enjoy it!

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The central square of Kortrijk
The central square of Kortrijk
photo by: lamadude