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In the late Middle Ages, Turnhout was a well-known center for the weaving of bedding articles and of the linen trade.
At the start of the 19th century, these trades were replaced by industries based on the use of paper.
This designation is entirely unofficial, since the Kempen area is far larger than the Turnhout district and does not form an administrative unit.
The further history of Turnhout consists of a series of ups and downs.
Many times, the city and surroundings were the playground of armies, resulting in two major battles named after Turnhout: one in 1597 and one in 1789 are referred to as Battle of Turnhout.
Soudal, whose headquarters is located in Turnhout, is one of the leading companies in sealants. It used postal code 122 with bars (before 1864), and 367 with points before 1874.
Architectural sights worth visiting are the 12th century castle of the Dukes of Brabant, the gothic church of St.