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Torhout is a city in the Belgian province of West Flanders, located on the North Sea coast. It belongs to the region of West Flanders and is part of Bruges metropolitan area. Torhout has about 33,000 inhabitants (2004). The total area is 45 km² which gives a population density of 778 inhabitants per km². Torhout was founded by Baldwin IV, Count of Flanders in order to have better control over his coastal cities like Veurne and Cassel as well as his harbour town Sluis that he had received from emperor Henry IV after having sided with him against Philip van Artevelde during an uprising against him at Ghent in 1382-1383.