Veurne (Furnes) is a municipality in the Belgian province of West Flanders. The municipality comprises the town of Veurne proper and the settlements of Avekapelle, Booitshoeke, Bulskamp, De Moeren, Eggewaartskapelle, Houtem, Steenkerke, Vinkem, Wulveringem, and Zoutenaaie.
The beautiful gothic church of Saint Walburga and the tower of the church of Saint Nicolas, date from that period. Saint Walburga housed a chapter of canons. Saint Nicholas and Saint Denis (gone 18th century) were the two other parish churches and possessions of the Norbertine abbey of Saint Nicholas.
In 1644 the Capucines organised a procession. Since 1646, this procession was organised by the "Sodales", a religious confraternity, that organised a crossway during Advent time, under the leadership of the Norbertine monk Jacob Clou. The hooded "Sodales" took a cross for penitence. This procession was expanded at the end of the 17th century with scenes from the Bible, and is the only one of his kind, remaining up to now in Flanders.
The second half of the 17th century was marked by the miseries brought to the region by Louis XIV’s wars. Vauban built heavy fortifications around the city, the outlines of which are still noticeable from the air today. Joseph II of Austria put them down and closed some of the religious institutions, putting a temporary end to the penitents’ procession, until Leopold II allowed it again in 1790. Those few cloisters that were still operating were closed at the French Revolution.
During World War I, Veurne was located within the Yser pocket of Belgian resistance against the German troops. During the Battle of the Yser, the Veurne city hall became the headquarters for the Belgian troops under King Albert I and a military hospital was set up in the city. In 1920, French President Poincaré came to Veurne to award the city the Croix de guerre with palm.
Veurne suffered some damage during World War II, mainly from allied bombing but also from the strategic flooding that engulfed the whole area. Today, the city is a regional centre, which gives commercial, medical, and educational services to the surrounding communities while enjoying increasing tourist attention.
The annual Boeteprocessie (procession of the penitents) takes place every year on the last Sunday of July. This unique event includes cross-carrying, hooded penitents and other groups of participants who recreate the Passion of Jesus.
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Veurne borders the following villages and municipalities:
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