City Hall, Kortrijk

3.7
Government Building · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
The City Hall of Kortrijk is situated on the main square of the Belgian city of Kortrijk/Courtray. The facade of the late-Gothic, early Renaissance city hall is adorned with the statues of the Counts of Flanders.
As early as the 14th century, Kortrijk possessed a town hall, which was, however, completely gutted down by the French army after the victory at Westrozebeke in 1382. In 1420, a larger town hall was built in High Gothic style. The pointed arches in the hall on the ground-flour and upstairs are the only remnants of that building.
The present city hall was erected about 1520 in a style composed of Gothic and Renaissance elements. It was considerably larger than its predecessor. The front was gilded and polychromed (as the front of the Brussels town hall still is).
In 1526, statues of the principal Counts of Flanders were put into niches, which so far had housed prophets' statues. In 1616 the town hall was once more enlarged, with a part of the front in the extant style.
From the end of the 17th and throughout the 18th centuries, the front underwent a series of alterations and mutilations. They did not hesitate to set up a pillory against it.
In 1807, during the French occupation, the statues and their canopies were removed and the front was flattened out according to the spirit of the age. Around 1850 the front was renovated, but not too successfully. Even while in progress, the artistic value of the restoration was questioned. In 1854, the festive hall was fitted up on the occasion of a visit by king Leopold II and the Queen. In 1934, the historic Council Chamber was likewise taken in hand.
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  • I attended a meeting where the attendants were invited to a reception in the City Hall. What a beautiful building indeed!  more »
  • Even though the Kaiser's army used it as their headquarters for this section of the Western Front and the Nazi occupying army had full use of it the Council Chamber in its full medieval splendour is.....  more »
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  • The historical part is for those who are interested in history, art or architecture quite well worth a detour. Information brochures about the rich past are available in several languages. Just as more historic buildings are not so accessible to less mobile people.
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