Kortrijk UNESCO Design Region
13 cities and towns
A network of possibilities
Growth through creativity and design​


Kortrijk has 76.000 inhabitants, South-West Flanders almost 300.000: small compared to world cities, but big in creative capital.

Thanks to its long tradition of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, the Kortrijk region has belonged to the Unesco Creative Cities Network (UCCN) since autumn 2017.
This is a global network of 246 cities that have one thing in common: they use creativity as a lever for the sustainable development of their city and region.

Our ambition is to involve the entire Kortrijk region in this inspiring, creative story and to encourage everyone to be part of this creative network.

Bringing talent together and creating a positive impact that makes itself felt in the region, but also strengthens the image of the Kortrijk region as a pioneer (internally and nationally). That is what we want to go for. With design thinking and creativity as the process par excellence.


  • Do you want to respond in one way or another to UCCN's international network?
  • Would you like to become an ambassador of our innovative design region?
  • Would you like to show everyone that you too are proud of this creative Kortrijk region?
  • Or do you have ideas or suggestions of your own to make design and creativity even better?

We love to hear it and are looking forward to getting to know you better!

  • Would you like to link your own strong products, services and projects to this worldwide creative network? And if you want more information about the UNESCO logo, click HERE.
  • If you want more information about the UCCN network itself, be sure to read on. Or get inspired by the video above!


Thanks to the UNESCO recognition as Creative City of Design, the Kortrijk region now stands alongside 39 other design cities such as Beijing, Buenos Aires and Berlin.
Especially nice company, that's the least you can say about it.

Company also from which the Kortrijk region can learn a lot. Because that is precisely the intention of the UNESCO network: to share good practices and offer international opportunities to creative people.

Perhaps the greatest added value lies in the network's (re)networking.


Design and the creative manufacturing industry have set a lot of things in motion in Kortrijk and surroundings. The region is strong in bringing together people and organisations that can do a lot for each other.


It began in the Middle Ages with the flax industry which gained name and fame throughout the world. Despite the setbacks, or perhaps just because of them, the textile industry in the Leie region survived. It managed to transform itself into a creative manufacturing industry in a wide variety of sectors, from new materials to communication technology.

The 'making' is literally and figuratively in the region's DNA.​


The companies and organisations of the Kortrijk region are not afraid to experiment, to innovate and to work together to achieve this. They are flexible, resilient and are known for their problem-solving, creative thinking: design thinking as we say.

Creating maximum added value and facilitating innovation is what we strive for.

The textile traders of the Middle Ages have been exchanged for leading companies in the creative manufacturing industry, experts in implementing design & design thinking: machine builders (Van de Wiele), specialized textile manufacturers (Verilin), imaging technology (Barco) or steel wire applications (Bekaert).


For every 7 inhabitants Kortrijk has 1 student in higher education. The two universities of applied sciences, Howest and VIVES, and the campuses of the top Belgian universities, Ghent and Leuven, are at the forefront of the most advanced developments and create the 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 were part of this 'makeover' of Kortrijk.


Every 2 years the Biennale Interieur takes place in Kortrijk, internationally known for showing the latest design trends and avant-garde furniture. In between, the city boasts a lively cultural scene during its City Festival, and flirts with the boundaries between art, design, industry and the city.


We continue to invest in creativity to transform the city and region.

Designregio Kortrijk was founded in 2005 to drive this movement forward. This platform bundles and strengthens initiatives around creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The organisation follows the Quadruple Helix model and is always looking for possible links between companies, public organisations and students to creative people and designers. This results in new growth and prosperity.


  1. Design and the creative manufacturing industry are already an important added value for the Kortrijk region today.
  2. Because of its location on the border, Kortrijk region already has a long tradition of doing business internationally.
  3. Membership of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) now makes it possible to propagate this reputation internationally.
  4. From now on, South-West Flanders will have the opportunity to exchange good practices and successful methodologies with cities in the UCCN network.
  5. This international exchange of knowledge with design cities worldwide helps ensure that regional companies, traders, organisations, administrators, schools, researchers, citizens and creative people of all kinds can respond even faster, more efficiently and more sustainably to their own challenges and opportunities.
Reasons enough to leave the modesty of South-West Flanders for a moment and show the creativity that is there in the Kortrijk region to the whole world!


For inspiration, questions, suggestions and information, please visit veerle@designregio-kortrijk.be.

Don't hesitate, talk to us, let us make contact. Let's valorize the power of the network.