Day of the Flemish Community in Belgium is a historical event celebrated on July 11 to mark the anniversary of the Battle of the Golden Spurs. Not entirely a public holiday, the day is commemorated with a grand festival at the Grand Palace and the Place de la Monnaie in Brussels. There’s live music, guided tours, and events for children to celebrate the overwhelming victory of the Flemish back in 1302.
History of Day of the Flemish Community
The holiday dates back to 1302 when Flemish citizens of the city Bruges rebelled against the French king, Phillip IV, and attacked the French governors of Flanders. Consequently, the enraged king sent an army consisting of 2,500 knights and squires, along with the support of 5,000 infantry, to punish the Flemish citizens.
In an open field outside the Flemish city of Kortrijk (Courtrai), the army of the king and 9,000 Flemish militia (an army of non-professional civilian soldiers), consisting mainly of infantry, clashed on July 11 in a seemingly one-sided battle. Anybody would think that the massive army of soldiers of the French king would have easily defeated the town militia.
But not quite. It was a decisive victory for the Flemish community in which the commander of the French army, Robert II of Artois, was caught and killed on the battlefield. Moreover, the town militia slaughtered at least a thousand French cavaliers and collected thousands of golden spurs from their fallen foes that gave the battle its name.
Day of the Flemish Community, therefore, recalls the enormous victory against the French on July 11 every year by shutting down governmental offices, celebrating at the Grand Festival, and organizing cultural events.
Day of the Flemish Community timeline
On May 18, many cities in Flanders attack and massacre Frenchmen in the city of Bruges after enduring several years of unrest.
French King Philip IV organizes troops to go to war against the town militia of several Flemish cities, resulting in an unexpected victory by the Flemish.
The Battle of the Golden Spurs becomes an important cultural reference for the Flemish Movement.
July 11 is chosen as the Day of the Flemish Community in Belgium.
Day of the Flemish Community FAQs
What is Flanders?
Another name for the Flemish Region of Belgium, Flanders comprises a few cities including Brussels.
What is the Battle of the Golden Spurs?
The Battle of the Golden Spurs was a battle between the French king and the town militia of cities in Flanders in which the latter won and collected golden spurs from their fallen foes.
When did the battle happen?
The Battle of the Golden Spurs took place on July 11, 1302.
How To Celebrate Day of the Flemish Community
Listen to Flemish songs on the radio
There’s a dedicated program on Radio 2 in Belgium, featuring 100 of the most beautiful Flemish songs from the City Hall of Brussels. Do not forget to tune in!
Celebrate with Belgian food!
Use this day as an opportunity to get familiar with Belgium cuisine, especially the globally-known gastronomy of Brussels. Try your hand at making 'stoofvlees' or 'sole meunière' on this day at home!
Partake in the festival
Read up on this day, plan your trip, and visit Brussels to participate in the Grand Festival with its guided tours and bike rides. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
5 Facts About Flanders That You Didn’t Know
Flemish artists have continued to make history, such as the famous artwork “Fallen Astronaut” by Antwerp artist Paul Van Hoeydonck.
Flanders has the longest tram line
With 42 miles of track, the Coastal Tram is the longest tram line in the world.
It has 93 Michelin-star restaurants
Flanders is a tiny region but has the highest density of world-class eateries in the world.
Beer is inherent to the DNA of Flanders
Belgium brews more than 1,600 original beers!
They are the masters of chocolate
Dating as far back as 1635, Brussels is the home of chocolate.
Why We Love Day of the Flemish Community
It celebrates the victory of the town militia
The cities in Flanders revolted against French rule because they were unhappy with two years of the French military occupation. The battle marks the unexpectedly powerful victory of the soldiers who were untrained and simple civilians.
Bruges is the Venice of the North
It is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe with a charming medieval ambiance, home to New Concert Hall, and listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Brussels is also a part of Flanders’ cities
We all love the cuisine of Brussels and so does Belgium. It’s the economic, political, and cultural capital of Belgium and the headquarters of various global enterprises.
Day of the Flemish Community dates