Due to its border location, Kortrijk has a long-standing tradition of international business. As far back as the Middle Ages the textiles industry yielded one of Flanders’ most important export products, ‘Courtrai flax’. Thanks to flax processing the city gained a reputation of craftsmanship, high quality design and entrepreneurship. However, due to wars, economic crises etcetera, the textiles industry had to reinvent itself. This necessary transformation made the Kortrijk region into what it is today: highly creative and resilient; traits to be found in all aspects of contemporary Kortrijk:
The textile traders of the Middle Ages have been exchanged for leading companies in the creative manufacturing industry, expert at implementing design & design thinking: machine builders (Van de Wiele), specialized textile manufacturers (Verilin), imaging technology (Barco) or steel wire applications (Bekaert).
For every 5 citizens, Kortrijk has 1 student in higher education. The 2 Universities of Applied Sciences, Howest and VIVES, and the campuses of the top 2 Belgian Universities, Ghent and Louvain, are at the forefront of cutting-edge developments, creating the very entrepreneurs and innovators of tomorrow.
The City and region continuously invest in large scale and daring urban development projects. International designers and architects such as Bernardo Secchi & Paola Vigano, Bob Van Reeth and Jacques Wirtz have been part of this ‘makeover’ of Kortrijk.
Arts & design
The international renowned Biennale Interieur has been replaced by the B2B event Design Nation, showcasing the latest design trends and avant-garde furniture, and the open to all WONDER Creativity Festival. WONDER takes a look at the future with innovative ideas from designers, artists, entrepreneurs, students, citizens… in collaboration with creative, cultural and entrepreneurial organizations and educational institutions. During the year the City can boast on a vibrant culture scene, flirting with the boundaries between arts, design, industry and the city.
So, creativity is in the regions DNA. The companies and organizations of Kortrijk are not afraid of experimenting and innovating and working together to achieve this. They are flexible and are known for their problem-solving, creative thinking. Design-thinking as we say, creating added value and facilitating innovation.
We continue to invest in creativity to transform the city and region. An important actor in this is the quadruple helix organization Designregio Kortrijk, which was founded in 2005. This organization links companies, public organizations and students with creatives and designers. The resulting results bring new growth and prosperity.
We want to give ourselves in this network. In the past years we have developed various co-creation programs between companies and designers, between government and designers, each time with very concrete results. We want to share that with you. So, speak to us, let us connect. Let us valorize the power of the network.