Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai Eurometropole is the first and the biggest transnational organization in Europe. It is situated in the center of the triangle London-Paris-Brussels, which makes it a dynamic place, covered by highs roads, trains and TGV’s, and airports. 2 million people are living in this binational area, anchored in three different cultures. The project has economical, political, and cultural part. It is acting for employment, region economy improvement, border living formalities, but also for sport competitions, and cultural events.
But how do the inhabitants of this eurometropole and particularly from Kortrijk actually live it? Do they feel to belong to a community ?
Cultural sharing between Lille and Kortrijk
The cultural part of the project is still emerging and is not that known by the inhabitants.
I’ve been on the street, to meet inhabitants and collect their impressions.
In fact, some do know the existence of this organization, but had no idea that it had also a cultural purpose. “I’m working in finance, and the eurometropole organization helps for sure in my work. But when I’m visiting, I don’t see any signs a cultural sharing” said Patrick, a 46 year old man working in KBC. Stefanie, a student from Waregem, also sees Eurometropole as an institutional organization. “I learned about it someday, but I never heard it out of school context”.
On the other side, the connection between Kortrijk and Lille is existing. Indeed, schools trips are organized from a city to another. “I’ve been in Lille with school, two years ago. It was great, now I’m going there sometimes to spend time” says Mélissa, student in Kortijk, “But I never heard about any organization, and the connection between the two cities is not that obvious. I hope it will change!” she added.
In the Ibis Hotel situated in the Kortrijk city center, we certainly feel that the two cities are related. “People who come here are mostly from Lille, or north of France. But there’s also belgians, coming for further who come here in aim at visiting Lille”. This is an illustration of an economical part of the agreement, but is there any promotion, or help to improve the connection between Kortrijk and Lille ? “No, not really. Not at all in fact. There’s no cooperation, and we are in competition instead of creating a strong and powerful tourism network. That’s something that need to be improve” the welcoming agent of the hotel said with formality.
Then the connection between Lille and Kortrijk is set up, at a political level, concerning employment, border concerns such as living in a country and work in another, and economical one, but mostly at a government level for the moment.
Concerning the cultural sharing between Kortrijk and Lille, it is existing but has no formal frame. In fact, you don’t find easily activities that would be proposed in aim to connect the two cities, it is people that are visiting each other city, by themselves, on their own initiatives. “I go there to do shopping mostly, but I don’t even know what there’s to visit” Stefanie blamed. Marie, a 40 years old french woman said “I love to come in Kortrijk with my children. It is peaceful, you can go shopping, but also enjoy the very green side of the town.”
A relationship improving day by day
Finally, there’s a cultural connection between Kortrijk and Lille people. But this is not the Eurometropole institution that set it up, people are naturally and mutually attracted and enjoy each ther cultures. Eurometropole may in the future help to make this link stronger.
The eurometropole has projects in many fields, and improves everyday its implication in inhabitants life, you can go for further information at http://www.eurometropolis.eu/ .