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The town is situated in the Ypres Salient, and was destroyed during World War I. The rebuilt city center exhibits typical damage caused by shelling and bombing. Poperinge is famous for its lace-making industry (see below). History [ edit ] In medieval times, Poperinge belonged to the County of Flanders. In 1384 it had become a free city after its lord Jan van Nevels died without an heir. It remained independent until 1578 when it became part of the Spanish Netherlands following the death of Mary I, Countess of Flanders. The French made attempts at occupying it between 1677–1680 during both wars but were unsuccessful as they were defeated by Dutch forces each time; however their garrisons occupied nearby Nieuwpoort on one occasion which was then besieged by a joint Anglo-Dutch force from England and Holland under Prince William III who forced them to surrender in 1697.