This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Dutch Wikipedia. (July 2014)
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In the old days, the river De Leie used to be very important for Wevelgem. The people used the river to soak flax, before they processed it in one of the many flax factories in Wevelgem. That is also the reason De Leie got the nickname The Golden River, referring to the color of the flax. Because you could earn lots of money with flax, many people came to Wevelgem and stayed there for many generations. Nowadays, the cultivation of flax is not so important, but there are still some factories where they process flax.
During the First World War, the Germans constructed an airport. The airport still exists and is now used for private purposes. Also remaining is the German Military cemetery, which is also partly situated in Menen. There are 47,864 soldiers buried there, who all died during WW1. This makes the cemetery the biggest German cemetery in Belgium. Across the cemetery, there used to be a (fake) airport, with wooden planes to mislead the enemy; there are still remains of the airport consisting of a big bunker and a small bunker near the railroad. The bridge that connects Lauwe to Wevelgem was destroyed during the Second World War and was rebuilt later.