Rotterdam is the second largest city of the Netherlands with a diverse population of 650,000, though the metropolitan area that also includes The Hague increases that number to 2.7 million making the urban agglomeration the tenth-largest in the European Union.
As Europe's largest seaport Rotterdam is a major logistics and financial centre, a connecting point between the North Sea and the rivers Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt that give access to Europe's industrial heartland.
A settlement in the area is first recorded in 950 AD and city rights were granted to Rotterdam in 1340, just before the Rotterdamse Schie shipping canal was built to set the foundations for the rise of the city.
Rotterdam has hosted numerous major international volleyball events, including European Championships, Olympic qualifiers, Beach Volleyball World Championships.
Kortrijk is the largest city of Belgium's West Flanders province, with a population of about 80,000. It is part of the transborder agglometration which also includes Tournai in Belgium and Lille in France.
The city, situated on the river Leie, has its origins in Roman times, when it was known as Cortoriacum and grew as a trading centre in textiles to become one of the richest in Flanders.
Kortrijk is known for its medieval architecture, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The historic town centre is Belgium's largest pedestrianised and traffic-free area.