The city of Harelbeke, an introduction
A new country, a new town, a new language, new customs.
Here's a project that helps newcomers to adapt to living in our region:
There are introductory courses that give all necessary information about living and working in Belgium, education, transport, healthcare... and a language course in Dutch.
Here you can find a brief description of most services delivered by the city administration of Harelbeke :
City information service of Harelbeke
Focuses on local residents – tourist office is for visitors
Links people with community and government services and resources.
Where to ask for information? How does the city transport operate? How about emergency Services? Important Telephone Numbers? The City Information Centre is the central information service of the City of Harelbeke and offers information of any kind. The staff members answer questions about competencies and services of the City Council and other local authorities, about federal facilities and everyday life, as well as enquiries about sites of interest.
* in providing the best possible accurate and comprehensive information
* in easy communication, equal access to information and services
* that personal attention is essential and technology is a supportive resource
* that our work must sustain, strengthen and build our community
* in collaboration and co-operation to achieve our mission
What can we do for you?
* we collect, maintain, provide access to and disseminate information on community and government services available to residents in the City of Harelbeke.
* we receive and handle complaints and suggestions
* provide insight into official documents, decisions of the city council ..
* our service produces 'Info Harelbeke' - a magazine delivered to every home in Harelbeke, every month, to keep residents informed with news and features about what is happening in our city. Some teletext-information is also made available on WTV-TV. And every edition is published on our website so that people all around the world can keep up to date with news from our city.
* we deliver city maps, brochures, folders on nearly every possible subject
* we give information concerning province, Flandres, Belgium, Europe; legislation of the Flemish parliament, city regulations, elections…
* information on where to go, on companies, institutions, and education in Harelbeke
* we work with other city services in a collaborative and supportive network which respects autonomy and facilitates cooperation.
Do you have a complaint or a suggestion?
Whether it's an abandoned vehicle, a defective street light, a hole in the pavement, noise, trash, a fence issue or any other neighborhood-related concern or violation, let the city know about it. Here you can submit your grievances and report the violation or problem, even through an online form. You will need to provide information on the address, the nature of the complaint, and how to contact you. We then notify the proper division to investigate the report. We'll get back to you and let you know how the situation was handled.
Don't Stand In Line
Our website www.harelbeke.be is your one-stop shop for online city services and links that offer e-government services. Everything from entertainment and information to business and critical services is also available on our website. Harelbeke was awarded the 5th place in the 2007 review of the top city websites in the country. To still improve our site and service we aim at providing our citizens with options to interact with the City 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In an era where technology is the norm instead of the exception, providing these services online makes sense.
Our newscentre is responsible for ensuring that print, broadcast and web-based media are kept up to date with all news from our city council, and is the first point of contact for all journalists. Our staff write and issue press releases to the media, and also handle enquiries from journalists.
Ambtenaarke (meaning “Civil Servant”) is the city's internal magazine for employees. It is published 4 times a year on our “intranet” (internal network service) and contains news and features about staff who work for the local authority.
Communication Service, Marktstraat 29, B-8530 Harelbeke tel. 056 733 310 - fax 056 733 339 – firstname.lastname@example.org
The city of Harelbeke is situated in the south of West Flanders, one of the five provinces of Flanders, the Dutch-speaking community within the Belgian federal state.
Harelbeke is located at 5 kilometres from Kortrijk, 40 km from Gent, 20 km from Roeselare, 30 km from Lille, and some 60 km from the Belgian coast.
The N43 Kortrijk-Gent takes you right to the city centre. From the city centre there's easy access to the villages Bavikhove, Hulste, and Stasegem, or the provincial recreational centre "De Gavers".
The city of Harelbeke is easily accessible by all means of transport.
The E17 motorway (Antwerpen-Lille-Paris) offers a direct connection to Europe’s most important north-south axe. The motorway network is completed by the A17 (Tournai-Brugge) and A19 (Kortrijk-Ieper) motorways and the R8 ring road around Kortrijk.
Moreover, Harelbeke is situated along the important railway Antwerpen-Gent-Kortrijk-Lille. At the railway station of Harelbeke every hour a train can bring you to or from Gent or Kortrijk. Or you can take a bus to almost every part of the city.
In recent years, waterway has become more significant, both from an ecological and economic point of view. In Harelbeke a sluice on the river Leie allows ships (1.350 tonnage) to connect to the important seaports by way of the rivers Leie and Schelde. In the North there's the canal to Roeselare, in the South the canal between the Schelde and Leie.
At some 10 km from Harelbeke the regional airport Kortrijk-Wevelgem offers all possibilities for civil aviation: taxi flights, business flights, charter flights and instruction.
The city of Harelbeke numbers some 27.000 inhabitants, spread over the city centre and the villages Bavikhove, Hulste and Stasegem, who are of some 50 nationalities.
There's a well developed cultural infrastructure with florishing art schools, the cultural centre, the municipal library, the museums... sports and youth centre.
Economic development in our region has grown through an elaborate network of industrial estates. Some 120 ha of industrial estates have been equipped in Harelbeke.
The city of Harelbeke has a fine industrial-archaeological history. Tourist-recreational developments are situated mainly in the field of local and regional recreation and daytourism on the one hand, and business tourism on the other.
The quality of the landscape, especially in the rural area, is ideal for various kinds of "soft" recreation. These possibilities are even reinforced by a network of footways, cycle routes and riding tracks.
The recreational centre 'De Gavers' constitutes certainly an attractive element for the region. There you can practise some outdoor facilities: sailing and surfing, fishing, walking, nature's observation..
Harelbeke like the rest of Flanders has a rich and varied history, characterized by the continual presence of various cultures and peoples.
From prehistorical until Roman times there was an important settlement in Harelbeke, near the fresh water supply of the area 'De Gavers'.
In the 5th century the Romans made way for the Frankish, who converted to Christianism.
Near 1100, city of the counts of Flandres, capital of the district 'Roede van Harelbeke', Harelbeke already had a monastery in the church of Saint-Saviour, water mills, weaving industry, and a weekly market.
The city has not been spared in the frequent troubles in the course of history. So many times burnt down, nearly depopulated, the city has always been rebuilt. This tenacity, this struggle to survive is to this day embedded in the spirit of the people of Harelbeke.
© 2002, Westtoer. Tekst van het infopaneel van het onthaalpunt langs de Leie in Harelbeke, gefinancierd door de Europese Unie, Toerisme Vlaanderen, de Provincie West-Vlaanderen en de Stad Harelbeke in het kader van het Interreg II-programma ter ondersteuning van de grensoverschrijdende samenwerking tussen West-Vlaanderen en Noord-Frankrijk. Het initiatief werd gecoördineerd door Westtoer a.p.b.
In the Stone Age, about 11000 years ago, there was a camp of nomadic hunters and food gatherers on the sandy ridge between the Leie river (Lys) and De Gavers. About 1800 BC a settlement of farmers was established. Between AD 70 and AD 275 an important Roman vicus or town was located in the vicinity of what is presently called the Collegewijk. Excavations in the area revealed revealed vestiges of habitation as well as a temple’s sacrificial pit complete with statuettes of females and animals.
The name Harelbeke is derived from the Germanic word 'haru' and its diminutive 'harula' meaning sandy ridge. According to a well-known saga the foresters of Harelbeke, important warlords and margraves, laid the foundations for the County of Flanders. Charlemagne is thought to have given the region as fief to the forester Liederik, who was the great-grandfather of Baldwin I, the first Count of Flanders.
On the present site of the church of Saint Salvator three previous churches were built. The first house of prayer was destroyed by the Vikings at the end of the 9th century. The second church was built in the 10th century, when Count Arnulf the Great, son of Baldwin II had his residence at Harelbeke. About 990 the settlement and the church were burnt down by the people of Kortrijk. The Roman cruciform church dating from the 11th and the 12th century, to which Count Baldwin V attached a chapter house in 1040, was dismantled in 1769 save for the transept, the crossing tower and the crypt. After that the neo-classicistic church known today was erected.
The provincial park De Gavers covers 420 acres (170 ha) and features a large nature and recreation area with an arboretum, a playground, sunbathing areas, hikers’ cabins, observation huts, a cafeteria, walking, biking and bridle paths and a running track. A substantial part of the 15-acre pond (62 ha) is reserved for non-motorized water sports such as sailing, surfing, diving, swimming and casting. Another area is managed as a nature reserve. Here bluethroats, great crested grebes and water rails brood. The emperor dragonfly flies along the banks and ragged-robin and Southern marsh orchids flower in the meadows nearby.
Harelbeke hoasts an interesting museum.
The Peter Benoit municipal museum (Het Stedelijk Museum Peter Benoit) and his house of birth illustrate the life and work of this composer, music educationist and director. Peter Benoit was born in Harelbeke in 1834. He studied at the Brussels Academy of Music and was granted the Grand Prix de Rome in 1857. He worked as director at the theatre Des Bouffes-Parisiens in Paris for one year. In 1867 he was nominated head of the Antwerp Academy of Music which became the Flemish Royal Academy of Music in 1898. Peter Benoit promoted the use of the mother tongue and emphasized the importance of folk songs. Some of his famous works are the cantata De Leie (The Lys), the Rubens cantata and the oratorio De Oorlog (The War).