Kortrijk will receive € 100,000 from the Flemish government for cooperation with the Lithuanian city of Kaunas in the run-up to Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022. With this, Kortrijk once again shows that it wants to gain this title itself for 2030.

Kortrijk and Kaunas got to know each other through the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN). Both cities are members of UCCN in the field of design. In 2021 Kaunas will enter the last straight line to European Capital of Culture 2022. A title that also aspires to Kortrijk for 2030. Both Kortrijk and Kaunas therefore actively write a story of creativity and design. The ideal base from which to set up an intense collaboration. In 2021 and 2022, Flemish and Lithuanian actors will join forces to strengthen each other culturally and socio-economically.
In 2021 Kortrijk will already be rolling out two of its projects in Kaunas, and in 2022 a trade mission will go to Kaunas.
5X5® innovation trac in Kaunas 
2020 proves once again that creativity is the key to staying ahead as a company in this uncertain world. Designregio Kortrijk and Voka West-Flanders stimulate creative thinking with the 5X5® innovation trajectory. Thanks to 5X5®, more than 40 companies have collaborated with design teams and developed new products and services over the past 10 years.
In 2021, Designregio Kortrijk will roll out the 5X5® method in Kaunas, so that SMEs can remain competitive there too, thanks to well-designed and meaningful products and services. The results of the project in Kaunas and of the Flemish companies can be seen in an exhibition within the framework of Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022.
K-TOTEM in Kaunas 
The K-TOTEM is a 3.5-metre high sculpture at Kortrijk station that shows the graphic talent of the region. Together, 15 companies, design agencies and educational institutions created the K-TOTEM to make Kortrijk even better as a creative city. Every 3 months the K-TOTEM gets a new cover designed by a regional graphic designer or illustrator.
Designregio Kortrijk will export a new K-TOTEM to Kaunas in 2021. There, in 2022, the K-TOTEM will give visibility in the public space to their local designers and the programme of the European Capital of Culture.
The Flemish creative entrepreneurial network in Kaunas 
Every year, Designregio Kortrijk organises an inspiration mission for its stakeholders to fellow cities, including from the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. In the past they travelled to Copenhagen, Graz, Nantes, Saint-Etienne, Tallinn, Turin and Zurich.
In 2022 they will travel to Kaunas to inspire Flemish entrepreneurs, designers, architects, public planners, policy makers and educational specialists with good examples of innovative entrepreneurship, public space, education, architecture and design, as well as networking with the economic fabric of Kaunas.
Ruth Vandenberghe, Mayor of Kortrijk: „Kortrijk has a tradition of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. As a result, our region has been part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network since 2017. This cooperation with Kaunas enables us to share our knowledge internationally and strengthen our reputation as a design city abroad. But conversely, we, our designers and cultural sector also learn a lot from this project”.
Axel Ronse, alderman for culture Kortrijk: „This will be a unique collaboration from which we will learn a lot as part of our journey to Cultural Capital 2030.”
Vivaldas Matijošaitis, Mayor of Kaunas: “We are glad that the Foreign Affairs of Government of Flanders provide an opportunity to develop joint projects between the cities of Kaunas and Kortrijk. I believe that this community will not only enrich the program of Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022 but will also be a start of a long-term cooperation between Lithuanian and Flemish companies and designers. All this would further strengthen the links between the two UNESCO Cities of Design.”
The Flemish Government is supporting the above actions with € 100,000 from the Department of Chancellery and Foreign Affairs of Minister-President Jan Jambon. In this way, Designregio Kortrijk and Stad Kortrijk lay the foundation for further successful cooperation and exchange of good practices between both cities and regions. This cooperation creates a leverage effect for the Flemish stakeholders from various domains. It also offers them a great deal of visibility, as the results will be seen in 2022 in the context of Kaunas European Capital of Culture.
Contact details
Stijn Debaillie
Design region Kortrijk
[email protected]
056 51 91 83