Church of Our Lady

Kortrijk, Belgium

Construction work on the Church of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk) began in 1199 on the initiative of Count Baldwin IX. The church was located on the estate of Kortrijk that was fortified and completely walled in, with the exception of an area on the Leie. Of this early Gothic church only the west facade, the nave and the transept remain. The towers were constructed at the end of the 13th century. After the Battle of Westrozebeke in 1382 the church was largely destroyed and rebuilt. At a later stage the interior was decorated in Baroque style.

Following the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302, which took place on the nearby Groeninge field, the Flemish hung five hundred golden spurs from French knights who had been slain in the choir in thanks to Our Lady of Groeninge. In 1382, Breton mercenaries took them together with other valuables following the Battle of Westrozebeke. The spurs were later replaced by copies that still hang in the church. The Church of Our Lady conceals a number of art treasures such as the 'Erection of the cross' by Anthony Van Dyck.

In 1370, Count Lodewijk van Male constructed the Counts' chapel as a mausoleum for himself. In the chapel you can admire the stunning wall paintings of the counts of Flanders and the statue of the Holy Catharina (a famous masterpiece). The stained glass windows accentuate the church's noble character: the counts of Flanders, knights in armour during the Battle of the Golden Spurs etc.

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Founded: 1199
Category: Religious sites in Belgium

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Cath Thompson (12 months ago)
This was an excellent experience. The films they have made about the battle are really effective, especially the one inside the chapel. The interactive information about the Oxford Kist for example is all very informative. I particularly enjoyed the thorough consideration of the battle, including the significance to the founding of Belgium as a country. A must see for anyone visiting this area!
Davide Stefanelli (15 months ago)
One of the most exciting church-museum I’ve ever been to! You can watch an historical movie of a crazy quality! Definitely to visit
Indhi Neish (2 years ago)
This church was such a surprise! Inside you can learn about the history of the 1302 battle between the French and Flanders via an awesome visual and audio display (available in multiple languages). After viewing the film which plays every half hour, you can learn more via interactive panels. The whole thing was free and was one of the best things I’ve done in Belgium so far. Takes about an hour if you want to do everything thoroughly. Some sections were a little bit repetitive about the battle, but still interesting. I hope in the future they create more content about other parts of the city’s history, as they have executed this so well. Really couldn’t believe the quality of the displays for something that is free, wonderful to see.
Steven Lambrecht (2 years ago)
Didn't meet the lady but stil a solid church.
Robin Irwin (3 years ago)
This is one of the oldest building in Kortrijk. It was built in the 12th century. What was interesting for me was the restored chapel with the many paintings of the portraits of the counts of Flanders. It is worth following a guided tour on those chapel and the church as the history and the many unanswered questions about the portraits are highlighted.
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