Celebration of the Golden Spurs – July 11, 2023

Celebration of the Golden Spurs is observed on July 11 every year. The day marks the victory of the Flemish over the French in the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302. The holiday is also referred to as the Day of the Flemish Community. Celebration of the Golden Spurs is also an annual commemoration of the Flemish community in modern-day Belgium. The decision to celebrate the day came on July 6, 1973, when the three cultural and linguistic communities of Belgium passed a law entailing the flag, the anthem, and the day of the Dutch Cultural Community. Celebration of the Golden Spurs has been observed in Flanders since.

History of Celebration of the Golden Spurs

The Battle of the Golden Spurs was a confrontation between French and Flemish forces during the Franco-Flemish War. The war began in 1297 after King Philip IV of France tried to tighten French control over the County of Flanders, even though the latter was de facto independent from France. In 1297, the French invaded the town of Courtrai, or Kortrijk, which lies on the bank of the Lys river in modern-day Belgium, along with most of Flanders.

After the Flemish grew tired of French control and revolted in several cities across Flanders, the two armies met outside Courtrai on July 11. The French cavalry consisted of about 2,500 knights and squires, whilst its supporting infantry was 5,500 strong. On the other hand, Flemish forces were made up of 9,000 infantrymen. The French cavalry found themselves unable to defeat the well-trained pike-formation of the Flemish. What followed was a haphazard and panicked retreat of the French nobility. The Flemish claimed over 500 spurs from French horsemen, which ultimately gave the battle its name.

Charles the IV later avenged the Flemish defeat of the French in 1382 by sacking the town. The town was captured by the French in 1793, occupied by the Germans during the Great War, and bore severe damage during the Second World War. Belgium became a sovereign state following its separation from the Netherlands in 1830, and now encompasses all of Flanders, along with its two other regions of Wallonia and Brussels. Three cultural and linguistic communities of Belgium were established in 1970 to represent these three regions.

Celebration of the Golden Spurs timeline

1297
French Invasion of Flanders

The French invade the county of Flanders.

July 11, 1302
The Battle of the Golden Spurs

The Flemish defeat the French in a battle in Courtrai.

1830
The Birth of Belgium

Belgium declares its sovereignty.

July 11, 1973
First Celebration of the Golden Spurs

Celebration of the Golden Spurs is observed for the first time in Flanders.

Celebration of the Golden Spurs FAQs

Do they speak Flemish in Belgium?

Yes, they do. Flemish is a variant of Dutch that is spoken in Belgium.

Why is Belgium called Flanders?

Flanders is one of the three major regions that make up Belgium. The others are Wallonia and Brussels.

What do they speak in Belgium?

The three official languages of Belgium are Dutch, German, and French.

How to Observe Celebration of the Golden Spurs

  1. Read the history of the battle

    The Battle of the Golden Spurs has a fascinating history. Grab this opportunity to read up on the events that led up to the battle.

  2. Visit Courtrai

    Consider visiting Courtrai. It’s a beautiful riverside town.

  3. Give Flemish food a try

    If you’re so inclined, Flemish food is quite a delight. Find some near you and give it a try!

5 Interesting Facts About Belgium

  1. The invention of plastic

    Plastic is a Belgian invention!

  2. Highest divorce rate

    Belgium has the highest divorce rate in Europe.

  3. Highest density of castles

    Belgium has the most castles per kilometer in the world.

  4. The origin of spas

    The word ‘spa’ is derived from a town called Spa in Belgium.

  5. The invention of cricket

    It was actually the Belgians that invented cricket, not the British!

Why Celebration of the Golden Spurs is Important

  1. It publicizes Flemish history

    The holiday brings some attention to a part of Flemish history that many may not know about. Learn about its history today!

  2. It’s a part of Flemish identity

    The day is an important part of celebrating the Flemish identity. It celebrates their victory over France, a world power even in the Middle Ages.

  3. It’s a snippet into Belgian culture

    Belgium as a whole has a unique culture and history that’s often overlooked in favor of more famous European countries. Celebration of the Golden Spurs reminds us that there’s more to the little nation sandwiched between France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Celebration of the Golden Spurs dates

YearDateDay
2023July 11Tuesday
2024July 11Thursday
2025July 11Friday
2026July 11Saturday
2027July 11Sunday

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